Watching my kids with technology over Spring Break has me thinking. What would they say if they had to travel back in time to the ’80s and ’90s when I was a kid? Would they even know what to do in a DVD store? What if they couldn’t recharge the walkman? Would dial-up internet make them cry?
Here are 7 Ways Technology Makes Me Feel Old:
Me: I can still hear that dial-up dial tone. Oh, the waiting. And waiting. Website were simple and games still came on CDs. If you really wanted to know something or figure out how to get somewhere, it was best to consult an encyclopedia, map, or phone book.
My Kids: The internet is just there, constantly at people’s fingertips, ready to answer any question, with games, videos, music, and information on demand. It’s so frustrating when you switch between tabs and the new page takes a couple seconds to load.
Me: I used to sit by the radio, my finger on the “record” button, just waiting for “Achey Breaky Heart” or “Friends in Low Places” to come on (I loved country as a teen). I could then listen to it again and again with that grainy recorded sound. I bought CDs like they were going out of style in college and even got tricked into those CD clubs. Oh, and the worn out tapes and scratched CDs could break my heart.
My Kids: Missed a song on the radio or have to get out of the car before it’s finished? No problem. Hit up Spotify, YouTube, or ITunes and it’s bound to be there. Music is free and easily accessible. You can take it with you or play it on just about any nearby device without worrying about scratching anything.
Me: When the batteries died on my walkman, portable CD player or boombox, I prayed mom had the right size. The only warning of a dying battery came when your favorite track gradually slowed down to a crawl. Sure, you could plug in your boombox, but forget portable devices.
My Kids: When the battery is dying on a cell phone, tablet, or MP3 player, you are prepared. The little battery slowly depletes on their screen, then warning messages appear. Battery is dying? Just charge it. In fact, you can even charge it with a portable battery charger.
Me: We had an Atari for awhile and my cousins played endless games of Super Mario Brothers at their houses. “Game” meant playing cards or cardboard boxes filled with game pieces in my world.
My Kids: Games seem to have an endless supply. They come free and paid, on a plethora of devices. You don’t even need to insert a game into a device most of the time. You just click through your options and switch seamlessly between games. Bored in the car, on a plane, or the waiting room? Grab a device and play a game or even read a book! (Yes, we still play board games).
Me: I remember when we had to turn the knob to change the channel. We sat through commercials patiently (or ran to the bathroom) until my parents bought a new-fangled TV with a remote control. I learned about flipping channels from my grandpa and quickly became adept at watching two shows simultaneously. We sat down as a family and ignored the phone to watch “The Cosby Show” and “Family Ties” as a family.
My Kids: Cable at Grandma’s house is so confusing. What are commercials for? What do you mean, I have to wait for my show to come on? In their Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime world, television is always on-demand. Comedies are 21 minutes long. Their biggest frustration is waiting on the next season to stream.
Me: We used to have these “Rent 10, Get 1 Free” cards from the local video store. My parents actually rented a VCR, too, before we got our own. I don’t know how many times we rented “The Man from Snowy River” from that place. My teenage and college days were filled with Friday evenings spent perusing the aisles of the video store, trying to agree on a DVD. Then Netflix mailed out subscription discs and it was revolutionary!
My Kids: “What is rewinding?” Tape is something that holds things together. Just press “Y” to search for the movie you want. “Let’s reserve it at the Redbox.”
Me: I’m always amazed when a toddler points to a picture of a rotary phone and knows what it is. Remember when people used to accidentally interrupt your conversation by picking up another line? Then there was that endless, twisting cord and answering machines.
My Kids: I think my kids forget that phones are for making calls half of the time. They don’t remember a time when mom and dad didn’t have a device at their fingertips to call anytime they wanted, get directions, look at that annoying Facebook, or play mindless games.
How does technology compare between your childhood and your kids? How do you think things will change for our grandchildren?