In our family, the responsibility for introducing new technology rests squarely on our son Tapas’s shoulders. Of course, this means I have to endure periodic lectures on how most of the devices we use are outdated, but I take that as being par for the course.

That’s not so say he’s one to go blindly for the latest-latest. He’s informed about the pros and cons of the confusing plethora of choices out there and recommends products based on our requirement. And I submit meekly as he is the one I turn to for troubleshooting.

He’s the one who saves the day by retrieving files that mysteriously vanish on me. And he’s the one who set up Chromecast so we could enjoy YouTube shows that until then we squinted at on our laptops before giving up in frustration.

Last year, I read about a show that had received rave reviews. Except that it was available on Amazon Prime. And Amazon, as any young adult in your home will inform you, “doesn’t play nice with Google”. Tapas got us a Fire Stick so we could watch the show, and a whole slew of others. Movies, shorts, documentaries, videos posted on YouTube, television serials – in a multitude of languages – viewers are spoilt for choice. And viewership is changing. With people turning to newer ways of accessing content, television channels duke it out for eyeballs.

Change is evident not only in this, but also in parental controls. Back in the day, we used blankets. We’d sit down for a family movie night armed with blankets that our sons knew to disappear under when an “objectionable scene” came up. That covered blood and gore and also those cringe-inducing so-called romantic scenes from Hindi movies. They still tease us about waiting to be told they could come up for air on occasions that  – engrossed as we were in the movie – we forgot to tell them the scene was over. Now parents have fancy child-proof ways of controlling what their kids watch. And the tables have turned on us as well with “parental control” and “viewer discretion advised” having taken on new meaning.

Now our sons recommend shows and movies based on our tolerance levels (zero) for gratuitous sex and violence. “Nah, that’s not something you would like,” they say firmly, steering us away from a show everyone is raving about, while Hasan Minhaj interviewing Shashi Tharoor gets a thumbs up.

Eid mubarak! Happy Father’s Day!



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