Generation Gap – The new world

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I was reminiscing and reflecting about my childhood with a friend and it dawned on me, there are so many things my children won’t know. The world has already changed so much that some of the things about my childhood will seem completely alien to them. Like when my parents used to play Vinyl records.

How did this happen? When did I become so old that some things I remember are almost extinct? Will my children see our generation as dinosaurs, so out of touch with things they have grown up on? I would like to point out here, I am only in my 30’s, not exactly ready to collect a pension, yet, the gap in our generations seems huge.

Here are just a few of the things my children may never know…

  • Tapes. Especially mix tapes. How will they declare their love when they are teenagers without presenting their Romeo (or Juliet) with a mix tape with all the songs that remind them of their chosen one?
  • Winding car windows down with the handle. You know the one, that took real muscle power to open even a crack. They will just touch a button. In fact, so much of the world for them will be at the touch of a button. I had to physically pull out the choke on my first car. They won’t even know what a choke is! They will think it’s a wrestling move (is wrestling still big? probably also an out of date reference)
  • Bars of soap, everything comes in squeezy bottles. Even hand soap has a pump! They may not know a simple bar of soap.
  • Video players. Everything is on demand; TVs record, there are ‘on demand’ set boxes and dedicated catch up internet sites.
  • Landlines that connected to the wall and phones with a cord. There was no hiding away to talk to friends after school, you could only go as far as the phone cord would allow. And on the subject of phones, remember when you could only call friends after a certain time in the evening when call tariffs changed. And no Smartphones, in fact if someone had told us 20 years ago that one day our phones would be able to tell the time, connect to the rest of the world and record videos we would have imaged something from Back to the Future!
  • No Google. I know this is going to make me sound like I am really old; I honestly remember looking through books to find the answers to my homework. We didn’t google. I’m not even sure there was google when I was at school, certainly not at primary school. When we did get the internet it was dial up and used the phone line so you couldn’t make a call at the same time.
  • Just having 4 channels on TV and thinking this was enough choice. If you missed a programme and had forgot to set the video recorder, that was it, you missed the programme and better hope the Radio Times had written a good enough description about what happened in the show.

I am sure generations before have felt similarly to me but I can’t help but feel that this is one of the most dramatic leaps between just one generation. The invention of the internet has given way to an instant gratification society. We don’t have to wait for anything. We don’t wait for answers, for contact with others, for information, for shopping, for anything we want.

We can find anything whenever we think of it. I, like many I know, am addicted to this new technology. Yet, I find myself in an odd position. One side of me feels like I need everything right on tap, especially my Smart phone, while the other is appalled by the lack of face-to-face connection. I am plagued by guilt for how much time I spend on this type of technology and therefore, not looking at my children in favour of checking Facebook updates. I try and give them the childhood I want them to have, yet they will inevitably have this childhood I may not be able to relate to. I just hope I can keep up and learn with them.

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