Period Trackers. Not for Grammarians

But for the Gals

Period Trackers. And I'm Not Talking about Grammar Apps

Here’s a cute, true-life story, compliments of a dear friend of mine. The subject is period trackers. And spoiler alert: this is not a new computer app for grammarians, but for gals.

The period trackers I’m referring to are computer apps that track menstruation cycles, and while admittedly most “women of a certain age” didn’t need this, my friend’s story illustrates how the subject of the “birds and the bees” has become even more complicated … and comical … nowadays.

My friend, a wise and loving mother, had already talked with her daughter about the aforementioned birds and the bees. So, a few months ago, when the daughter got her period for the first time, there was very little drama. She simply informed her mother, and from her point of view, that was that.

But for my friend, this, of course, was a BIG DEAL. Her precious baby was now a woman. She wanted to talk. She wanted to nurture. She certainly wanted something. Struggling to think of some words of wisdom she hadn’t previously covered in “the talk,” my friend suggested that her baby girl/now teen woman should start tracking her monthly cycle.

“I know, Mom, there’s an app for that,” her daughter replied in a withering, impatient, I’m-not-an-idiot-tone. “You know, you should use it too.”

And with that, the bonding conversation ended. My friend slumped out of her daughter’s bedroom, doing that walk of shame known to mothers everywhere, the one when your beloved teen makes you feel like a moron.

All Period Trackers are Not Created Equal

Weeks passed. Life went on.

My friend was on her 13-year-old daughter’s phone. This was sanctioned. She has permission to use the phone. My friend saw the period tracker app and opened it. The first screen that appeared provided detailed, graphic information about how to perform oral sex on your male partner! The next screen enabled the user to track sexual activity and partner(s)!

It seems that not all period trackers are equal. Some are rated for mature audiences; others are more appropriate for younger viewers/users—just like movies! Who knew? Well, not my girlfriend.

The “Talk” Times Two

My friend freaked out and quickly deleted the app. When she calmed down, she found a more PG-rated period tracker and downloaded it onto her daughter’s phone. And yes, she had a second “talk” with her about smartphone content.

Now you don’t know my friend’s daughter. You might be of a suspicious mind and be “curious,” even suspicious about why the young girl had selected that particular and highly salacious app, but trust me, put your mind at ease. This girl is the most naïve of teens around. Her name isn’t Heidi or Snow White, but it could be. Rest assured. She didn’t download that app based on a “need to know” (or an “already been there, done that” attitude).

When my friend told me the story, she talked about the new app, noting it was suitable for ages 4 and up. Now it was my turn to freak out. “What?” I shrieked, “four-year-olds are menstruating?

“No,” my friend explained. “It’s just that when moms let their little kids play with their phones, they don’t have to worry about them opening inappropriate content.”

Me and My Apps

As Maurice Chevalier, the tuxedo-clad, boater-hatted French entertainer, sang decades ago, “I’m glad I’m not young anymore.” These are issues and apps I’m glad I don’t have to figure out.

And when it comes to the apps I use, the shoe is decidedly on the other foot. I’m not the one explaining appropriate usage. My kids are the ones teaching me what’s what and the ways of the wild worldwide web. For example, I say Yahoo mail. They roll their eyes and say, “Please, Gmail, already. I say, “MapQuest.” They hold their stomachs, but not their tongues and shriek, “Google Maps. For God’s sake, Google Maps.”

In reply, I admit I am tempted to suggest they get period trackers of the grammatical kind, but I don’t. I hold my tongue. I have to. I need them too much when my iPad freezes or the Internet goes down.

Ah, the Great Generational Digital Divide. Period. The End.

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