"Hey," I said, "my generation invented staring at a screen."

I balk when I hear complaints cellphones are damning younger generations to a life spent staring at the ground. Technology is a blessing and a curse, but in the grand scheme it's a good thing.

When I sought knowledge as a kid, I had to walk back to our "computer room," past the computer to a set of encyclopedias.

Now, all of the information is at the touch of a button, and a modern parent should teach his of her child how to responsibly and safely navigate all of that power.

Then I found out my 6-year-old can text faster than me.

"Well, kids shouldn't even have cellphones," I said. "It will destroy your brain and, maybe, the world!"

My daughter, who is highly sensitive to her father's sarcasm, laughed.

"It's pretty simple," she said. "I'll show you."

At least once a week I say, "I knew this day would come." Kids grow fast.

I launched into a diatribe of how, as a child of the 1980s, I was born into the start of the technology age. It was in my blood.

"Hey," I said, "my generation invented staring at a screen."

Her big, blue eyes looked up at me as if to say, "I get it, Dad, you're old."

"Yeah, yeah," she said. "Here's how I do it."

When my wife was at the store, and we were texting back and forth, I let my daughter respond. I dictated, she typed. Then we looked at each other.

"Are you going to type?" I asked. She confirmed she already had typed and sent the message. She was using predictive text, where you start typing the word and the phone predicts what you are going to write. This is something I often ignore as predictive text in the past was terrible. It's much better now, as my 6-year-old pointed out.

"It's pretty easy," she said.

As soon as she fully understands the power of the cellphone and internet, she’ll realize I’m not all knowing; I’ve been pulling answers from the back of the book the whole time.

Technology drives the modern world, and I think it's important for children to understand how to use it. So, from time-to-time, my wife and I let our daughters use phones to watch videos, take pictures or play games. My 4-year-old likes to send a random collection of emojis to family members. And we reference the phone a lot. After reading a story about the Arctic fox, we watched a video of it jumping high in the air and landing face first in the snow as it hunted animals underground; hilarious and educational.

Cellphones are more dangerous in the hands of parents. The parents, that is, who instead of teaching their children the proper way to act in public, stick a screen in their face. It's lazy parenting. I once saw toddler watching cartoons while his mom pushed him in a stroller on a walk around the neighborhood.

When my wife and I are in situations where our kids are going to be bored and uncomfortable for an extended amount of time, we give them a notebook and pen.

A long time ago, I told my oldest daughter, "the phone has a lot of information, but it doesn't know what's in your imagination." Then I handed her a notebook and told her to go crazy.

She drew a picture of a cat as a hot dog.

Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or david.manley@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @DaveManley