The fact that I use a smartphone every single day made me forget how truly foreign these things are. Recently, I bought a phone for both my grandma and my mom. While my mom has not been particularly interested in learning how to use one, my grandma has shown a lot of engagement. My grandma, although she doesn’t know how to type, has been navigating with whatever skills she does have and has devoured information. The main reason I wanted to buy them smartphones is to close the digital divide between us. Since this type of technology has only been around for about a decade and a half, it’s no surprise that they haven’t really had a chance to become acquainted with it. To try and encourage my grandma to use hers, I’ve been locating family members on WeChat and getting her connected with them. For decades, all she could do is talk to them on the phone vocally. Now, there’s video chat, feeds of their posts, and a plethora of new ways to stay connected and engaged with each. Right now she’s really enjoying the fact that you can send photos. That reminds me, I need to send her a photo I took of her.
In the new season of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai?, Kaguya buys a new smartphone after her old flip phone broke (by the way, if you haven’t watched the show, I strongly encourage you to do so!). The episode starkly shows the avenues in communication and sharing that are unlocked by owning a smartphone. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what things were like before having them.