“When I was young…” —bring on the eye rolls. Young adults seem to think that my generation grew up in the Stone Age. We hunted dinosaurs and rubbed sticks together to start a fire. Fred and Wilma Flintstone lived next door. To be fair, I guess black and white T.V. with only 3 channels available is primitive. We did have electricity, running water, hot water and toilets that flushed. In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, when I was a girl playing outside I sometimes used the outhouse that was still standing and in pretty good shape. It was easier than making the trek back to the house if we were playing aways away. (The expression “aways away” seems to be a Midwest expression, because I never hear it in Colorado. It means not close or some distance from your current location.)
I grew up using a phone that was hung on the wall, and this single phone was used by everyone in the family (13 children +Parental Units). If we wanted privacy on the home phone we stretched the cord out the front door onto our front porch. This was nice in summer, but winter not so much. Going from dial phones to push button phones was a big deal. I never imagined that texting would be a way to communicate and thumbs would be used to type. Taking pictures on our phones? What? This tiny phone or tablet can take great photos? With cell phones, news is passed in seconds. Birds twitter and tweet, but birds are not what we are talking about these days. Can someone get Trump off of Twitter? Please. Unfortunately, in literally seconds, misinformation is spread and bullying and harassment can happen. Everyone knows in an instant and rumors and lies can be shared exponentially. Fact checks are done after the damage is done. Some victims of bullying have been driven to suicide. On the flip side, cell phones have saved many lives. We can call for help, or get critical information. When time is a matter of life and death, cell phones can make the difference.
We have smart phones and smart T.Vs. Have we gotten smarter? I doubt it! Don’t even get me started on Facebook: leap forward or nemesis? I use a smart phone to call, text, get email and the internet. I am not as fast and adept as my son, but I have learned. I use my iPad to write and Facebook to publish my writing. Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole of checking on my “friends” lives. Human beings have a drive to communicate and be part of a “tribe” but the people on our various screens are not touchable. It is often pointed out by people from my generation that kids don’t know how to talk with each other anymore, but I suspect teenagers have never known how to talk with each other. The emotion of love is felt the same and learning to express ourselves will always be a challenge. Cell phones, computers and Facebook are tools we use. Are we being used?
I suspect my going forward is easier for me than going back would be for young people. How would they ever adapt to no cell phones and having to get and physically go to the TV to change channels? Gotta go. I have to get the animal skins washed at the river, stoke the fire and see what Nog is doing. Why is he so excited about this round thing?