Grace is buying her three-year-old son a tablet, just a basic device. The clerk advises buying a more complicated machine. Her son is a digital native, right? Grace herself uses an older tablet that Stephen bought for her fifty years before, with a cracked case. But it’s one her arthritic hands can cope with.
The clerk proves to be right. Grace’s son is quickly bored with the tablet.
This little tale revolves around the idea generations who were born into digital devices, and those who watched digital devices develop are two different types of people. The expanse between them cannot quite be crossed. It is an added dimension to the eternal generational divide.
In the pre-computer/word processing era, it was customary in engineering to use block print lettering on specification drawings or anything handwritten, for example. This was done for ease of reading. How many of the digital natives know this, much less are capable of block lettering? There would be no need.
However, digital devices, by their nature, can add a gulf between humans. And we’ll always need to be with each other. That, I think, is the statement this sad little piece makes.
According to her blurb, author Koji A. Dae is a queer American living in Bulgaria with she/her pronouns and anxious depression. She has flash pieces published in several anthologies, Short Edition, and Bards & Sages Quarterly. Her first poetry collection, Scars that Never Bled, an exploration of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through poetry, will be released in August. When not writing, Koji is mothering, dancing, or riding her bicycle. You can find out more about her at kojidae.ink.
“Screen Time” can be read here.
Title:” Screen Time”
Author: Koji A. Dae
First published: Daily Science Fiction, August 30, 2020