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Catching Up With The 'Net

CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell reports for This Morning how one teen-ager and his mother are trying to narrow the technology divide between generations.



Seventeen-year-old Estevan Varelas, a member of the Class of 2000, dreams of being a computer engineer someday. "Hopefully invent[ing] games that make multimillion dollars," he specifies. This summer he's a camp counselor at the local Boys & Girls Club in Chandler, Ariz.

"I think I'm in a position to teach these kids," he says, pointing out that he knows more than what his mom would.

His mother, Susie Rubi, works on computers all day long at the local Toyota dealership, but is a stranger in cyberspace.

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Says Rubi, "I call this thing a thing," and Varelas corrects her, "Mom, it's a mouse. OK?"

One time Estevan says she asked him to tell her how to load a CD in her computer. Rubi recalls how difficult it was for her to comprehend.

"He shows me, this is how you do it, and [I'm] not grasping in here," Rubi says, pointing to her head. "He is going way too fast for me because he knows already where to go into, and where to click in and out of, and I don't!"


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"Here is my 17-year-old son who knows more about technology than I do, and I'm 35," she adds.

Along with lengthy instructions, Varelas includes a word of praise for his mother and some encouragement. After all she is on her way to catching up in her technology knowledge.

Volunteer Internet lecturer Brian Schwarz thinks people like Rubi need to be parents in cyberspace, too.

A CBS News poll released this week found that, among parents, the most favored way of protecting kids online is to personally supervise them at the computer.

"There really is no substitute for having a very good one-on-one relationship with your child. Sit down and surf the Web with them," Schwartz says.

And the poll shows half of the parents think federal regulation of Internet content is a good idea.

Schwartz's advice is to have a PC, just "don't let it go in the bedroom because you have no idea what they are doing back there," he adds.

And while Rubi is trying to catch up with her son, Varelas is already instructing the next generation of comuter-literate kids.

"In terms [of] how bad it is between me and my mom, it could possibly be even worse between these kids and their parents when they [reach] their teens," Varelas notes.

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