This Little Miggy Stayed Home: Things my children will never know

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Things my children will never know

I remember when I was a little girl and my grandma told me that they didn't have television when she was little, meaning it hadn't been invented yet. What? What do you mean? My 5 year old brain could hardly comprehend such a thing . . . life without TV??? Well now that I'm a little older and the world has continued to get even more crazy, there are things I'm sorta sad that my children will never know. For example, my children will never know a world without the internet. Luckily I was in college when the internet came to be, otherwise I think I would be like a lot of kids today whose main interactions with each other seem to happen through email and instant messaging. It's funny to see kids "playing" together when they are in the same room, but on different computers and not actually talking or interacting with each other. Not to mention all the scary internet predators out there and the constant lure of objectionable material . . . as much as I love the internet, I'm glad I grew up without it.

Secondly, cell phones. There once was a time I had over 25+ phone numbers memorized and able to dial on demand. It didn't seem to matter how many phone numbers I already knew, I always had room to remember one more. Now I think I have 4 phone numbers memorized (and 2 of those are my parents and grandparents who haven't changed their numbers in 20 years). B and I made each other memorize our numbers in case of an emergency (emergency = being without our cell phone). Our kids will never know what it's like to remember random sequences of numbers for all their friends. I know, not so bad, but still. Additionally, there is the whole idea that we are always reachable, anytime day or night. I know that's a good thing in many ways and that cell phones are great for when you're lost or can't find the person you were supposed to meet up with at such and such time, but when I was growing up, we just had to plan better. Also, if I missed someones call I was usually not home. Now if I miss someones call, they always have to wonder "Was she screening my phone call? I wonder why she didn't pick up?" I don't know, it's just another thing that we lived without when I was a kid, but somehow seems impossible to live without now.

What else? Is there something about our current way of life that makes you sad when thinking about our children?


  1. Honey, I think it's sad that our kids will never hear the sound that dial-up modems made when you first connected, way back in the day. Like, "shhhhhhhhsssshhhhhhhhhhrrrrrrr(Beep)(boop) (bop)ssshhhhhhh". That sound is pretty fun to make and it also makes for some awesome jokes. I'll even go as far as to admit that in high school we had a "handshake" where we would stick our fingers in each other's belly buttons and make those dial-up modem noises. I know, I know...nerds. All in good fun.

  2. Along the same lines as a few things you mentioned, I fear a world with less and less human interaction. If you think about it, along with internet communication and cel phones we have self-check outs at grocery stores, online banking and postal services, clothes and housewares shopping online, and pretty much whatever else you want online I guess.

    I really think that you could live from your home, never leave it and never talk face to face with anyone if you chose to.

    My husband wants to write a novel one day and I told him it would be fascinating to write one about a future world where no one ever interacted with another human, it was all through technology.

    Maybe too sci-fi.

    On another note, but still in harmony, is the fact that kids just aren't as creative as they used to be because everything is thinking for them. I saw this manifested in so many ways when I taught.

    "FREE WRITE DAY" I would write on the board. 3/4 of the students: Uhhh.........???????? You mean I have to make something up? How do I do that?

    Video games, TV, iPods, cel phones, computers, gameboys

    What the heck? Get outside and jump some rope, play kick the can with the neighbors, set up a Jello Jigglers stand and sell to passerbys, dig to China in your backyard, stage a magic show, write a neighborhood newspaper, create a mudpie kitchen, sew barbie clothes. (all successfully executed childhood adventures)

    Interactions with others create opportunites to derive creativity from. Without those experiences one has little to draw from.

    Kids nowadays...sheesh!

  3. PS - I totally hear you on the phone numbers thing. I know more numbers from my childhood than I do of my present circle of friends...nuts.

    Technology makes us smarter faster and we don't have to work as hard to gain knowledge.

    It also makes us lazy.

    Good and bad.

  4. Future generations will only know instant gratification photography, as in they'll immediately be able to tell what kind of picture they took with their digital screens. No more surprises going through your developed pack of photos.

  5. Tiff--yes I agree. It's funny how even when WE were kids our parents were talking about those things with the introduction of video games, but now we're even less connected. Almost every company you call is a voice recording and self check outs at grocery stores. . . whose great idea was it to take people out of the business transaction, that somehow we'd be more satisfied if we just didn't have to deal with a live person?

    Jean--at first glance I thought your post said "instant gratification pornography" and I was like . . .uh, is there any other kind?

  6. Brack--yes the modem sound will be perhaps the most missed of them all.

  7. I think it's a little messed up that the kids of today won't remember the days before DVD players in the car. My nieces and nephews never go anywhere without their Disney favorites to keep them entertained. I'm with Tiffany on this one--all this constant external stimulation can't help but stifle creativity. Back in my day we had to make up songs, wave to strangers, make the honking sign to truckers and tease each other to stay amused on car trips. Sheesh...