I had a real revelation on how you can shape your kids in tech potentially for life the other day, when my oldest son couldn’t get Firefox to work. I told him to try Internet Explorer, only to get asked, “What’s that?”
What’s Internet Explorer? What’s Internet Explorer! The words of my eight year old should send shudders down Microsoft’s spine. The default browser on Windows PCs, and my kid has no idea what it is? A sign of the future?
Perhaps. OK, we’re not a typical family. Firefox, last I saw stats, still had only a 10 percent share. But still, it’s funny how it can make gains.
In our house, I put Firefox on the family computer about two years ago and kept telling my wife to use it, especially when Internet Explorer had some problem as it would tend to do. Eventually, she switched over to using it permanently. That meant the kids started using it as well.
Still, I never realized how ingrained it had become until I was asked that question about two weeks ago. Both my sons are avid Club Penguin users now. They wanted to get going at the same time, so I fired up one of the many other computers littered around the house. Firefox wasn’t installed properly on one of them, so I’d gotten Club Penguin going using Internet Explorer until I could reinstall Firefox.
They never realized which browser I used. That’s why the second time, my oldest son came to me when Firefox failed to work. He found the icon, knew that Firefox = The Web, and that was it. He had no idea there was anything like Internet Explorer that you could use to also get on the web.
Interestingly, he does use a computer at school to go online. I’ll have to find out what browser they’re using there, since he clearly didn’t know IE.
Well, that’s just our family, right? Not so fast. I have a friend nearby who I got using Firefox. It’s one of those things that happens to anyone. You’re out for a nice dinner, just talking and enjoying not doing any work, when suddenly you’re asked why his band equipment rental site isn’t ranking in Google. Ulterior motive, eh, Nick? So next thing you know, you’re on the computer diagnosing the sandbox issue. And I ain’t gonna do that with IE. I installed Firefox, then went away. A few months later, I came back to find he was still using it.
So there you are, Firefox means reaching the web. The kids, of course, also think you find things on the web by going to Google.