Free wireless internet, aka Wi-Fi, is the miracle tool for every mom and dad that has to wait around for their kid, at soccer practice, at their music lesson, another school activity, etc., when there’s no time to go home, the location is out-of-the-way, and we parents have 45 minutes or so to kill. Free wireless internet is available at many places.
Every SAHP (Stay-at-home-parent) knows the joy of running their kids around all over town. As if that were not bad enough, the real pain is how often we parents have to wait around, at wherever we’ve had to take our kids this time, for our kid to finish a lesson, a game, a school activity, or any of the myriad things modern parents seem to have to do for their children. It always seems there’s not enough time to go back home and/or do errands so we end up waiting around, internally resentful, until our kid is finished.
There is a solution once you are tech-savvy enough to take advantage of it. Wi-Fi*. Free wireless internet allows the parent to take a laptop with them on their kid-shuttles, go to a nearby place that has it, and maybe do something useful with that intermediary time that we parents find ultimately so wasteful!
BUT, here’s the rub. Some places have it; some don’t. The dream of free Internet everywhere is still a dream, but we are America and we are a capitalistic country so therefore our smartest and often most successful companies are leading the way.
Starbucks, Barne’s ‘N’ Noble, and McDonald’s have been my saviors. They get it; they’re offering Wi-Fi for free, and they’re all over the place so I tend to chart their locations in relation to where I have to take and wait for my kids.
The reality is that alone time with my laptop is usually wonderfully productive. This is yet another reason YOU parents need to get Tech savvy and comfortable with what the Internet has to offer, if you aren’t already. Regardless, the things you can accomplish during this often wasted downtime are amazing.
For me, it covers the gamut from simply catching up on my e-mail, to finishing up something I’m writing, to Tweeting something that just occurred to me, to making a To-Do list, and so much more. Now, my time that I used to resent and waste, often just wandering around or reading a trashy novel, is put to good use.
Sometimes, when Wi-Fi is not available at a favorite local store, coffee-shop, or restaurant, I’ll mention it to the owner. Often, it turns out they’ll give me their password and other times, they clearly take it under advisement as another good thing to offer their customers. Someday, it will be ubiquitous, but for now you need to know where.
If anyone has heard of an App* for this — finding a local wi-fi spot – please let us know?
*Boomer Tech Talk Guide to Technical Words Used in this Article:
Wi-Fi – A popular term for a form of wireless data communication. Wi-Fi can provide access to the internet as well as any wi-fi enabled device such as modems, printers and hard drives.
App – Applications usually written for mobile devices such as smart phones such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and tablet devices such as the iPad.