Kids today have such an advantage when it comes to technology. They have so much information and cool stuff quite literally in the palm of their hand. You can’t throw a loaf of bread in a restaurant without hitting a child with a phone or tablet in front of their face (my thoughts on kids being glued to devices nonstop in public settings is another post for another time).
Courtney and I have had this conversation many times, though; what technology and other ways of life that are/were so normal to us will be foreign to our daughters and their peers? For example, my daughters will most likely never watch, hold, or know of VHS tapes. When I was young, we didn’t have Blu-rays or DVDs. We had trusty old VHS tapes. Sometimes they even came in those fancy cases that kinda resembled books. Remember those? Side note: When I was a child growing up in Wales, we had four channels. That’s it (we also couldn’t DVR things and skip commercials). And let me tell you, it was a big day when they introduced channel five. We felt spoiled.
It’s also wild that even iPods and other MP3 players will be somewhat outdated technology for my children (not like anyone ever owned a Zune, anyways!). Now it’s all about streaming everything online. With things like Apple Music and Spotify, you can stream pretty much any musician or album right on your phone. Netflix and Hulu do the same for TV and movies. We blew through cassettes, CDs, and iPods so fast and now it’s all online. Remember holding your tape recorder up to the radio to record your favorite songs? Remember burning CDs? The next generation will have no idea what it means to burn a CD. Another ancient relic that my kids will never know: the Walkman. They used to be so cool and come in different colors and styles, and they weren’t cheap. Now they sell them for less than $20 at Rite Aid. Even copying your CDs into your iTunes library then syncing them to your Shuffle or Nano or whichever iPod you had is becoming a thing of the past.
When we say to our kids “Roll up your window” while in the car, they’ll likely look at us as if we have two heads. They won’t know what hand cranked windows are. I know, I know, I’m young myself, so a lot of the technology I enjoy and benefit from today was not available for those before me. I’m not overlooking that at all. I’m just saying, I’m about to turn 30 and I’m observing what technology is now old and obsolete. I didn’t have to walk 18 miles in the snow, up hill both ways to school every day. I did have to copy notes off the overhead projector though while the teacher smudged the pen on the slide and tried to clean it with a spit-soaked finger. I spent most of my Internet time listening to the obnoxious sound of the modem connecting (which took an eternity). You all know the sound I’m talking about. If I was online and somebody had to use the phone, it became like an old fashioned standoff. It was a game of wits. AOL, ICQ, MSN Messenger, AIM, all these things are gone forever. Remember Napster, Limewire, Kazaa, etc.? After them we were introduced to torrents.
There’s so many other examples I could give that are escaping me right now, but you get the point. Technology today is wild. We have cars with their own Wifi for crying out loud! Cars that can park and even drive themselves. My children and their peers are at such an advantage. They have so much information and opportunity at their fingertips. I just hope they use it in the right way.
Let me know what technology you thought was cutting edge that’s now old news.