I've been thinking a lot lately about childhood (for one reason or another), and one of the things I cannot help but notice is the amazing influence technology has had on my children.
I remember thinking of all the amazing advances my grandmothers had witnessed in their lives: the invention of cars, telephones, television, commercial air travel and the invention of the computer. Wow, I used to think, how mind-blowing that all these things I take for granted didn't exist when my grandmothers were girls.
Now I pause a moment and think of the contrasts in technology between a single generation's girlhoods.
Cable. Our first converter was connected to the TV through a cord, and it was this big, brown box with buttons you pressed to get the different channels. And you had to get a special sticker from the cable company so you'd know "what cable" channel seven was on. We called it "the clicker" because that's what it did, and "remote" wasn't a concept that applied to channel changing at that time.
Mobile Phones. My first real job after university was working as a Training Instructor at Cantel (now Rogers Wireless). That was back in the days of the "brick phone", when cellular was a brand-new technology reserved for the very rich.
The Internet. I was a bit of an early adopter here. I was online as early as 1993 in the university computer lab, and I bought my first modem in 1994. Back then, all we did was go to usenets. There were very few graphical websites, and in fact I remember kind of hating sites that were graphics-heavy – so slow to load that I'd type in the url, wait for the dial, hiss and beep of the modem and then go make a cup of tea and a snack while the page loaded!
My kids? Well, they'll tell stories about our first sattelite dish and PVR, and laugh about the days when your mobile phone didn't have a 6 megapixel camera and internet-browsing capability. They already use google as a verb, and soon they'll forget a whole class of letters (vowels) as they txt thr bffs.
And only a few of us old cronies, sitting in our automatic massaging ultramatic rockers at the retirement home, will chuckle at the old joke:
I tell ya! They don't tell 'em like that anymore!