Thursday, 10 January 2013

Kids these days

One of the most terrifying things about being in your late twenties is that every so often, you catch sight of a date of birth which ends in something like "2010".

If you're anything like me, you'll like to think that people just stopped being born after about 1995; a time in which everyone was caught up in deciding which Take That member to scratch a heart around with the pointed end of a compass on their pencil case, not merely Tweeting their adoration of Harry Styles.

You'll like to imagine that everyone alive now should, and indeed does, remember a time when knowledge came from libraries, not from a mythical "search engine", or - sod it - a time before the internet itself.

The fact that all our worldly information is so readily available now - to the point where our capacity for memorising things is shrinking - is indicative of a more pressing concern: that there are children in the world at this very moment who have never booted up a CDROM of Encarta Encyclopedia, and magically produced the exact same "research" as everyone else handing in their homework that day.

The same goes for mobile phones. It's not the instant, hyper-connectivity of noughties children that worries me; more that kids these days will never have to search through the Yellow Pages for a house  number and mumble a greeting to their crush's mother,

 "Hello, Mrs Smith. Is Daniel there please?"

...before making stilted, quiet, awkward conversation while balancing carefully on the stairs; an operation that was always hindered by the meter long ringlets of stretchy phone cord which never quite reached anywhere out of parental earshot.

Worst still, by taking their first "I fancy you" steps via text message or Facebook, kids these days will never have to endure the tell-tale click of a phone being replaced on its hook, followed by the hot-faced embarrassment of their older sister yelling "Oooh! Who's MARK? Have you got a BOYFRIEND?" from her listening post in the kitchen.

BT phone boxes must seem like relics of another time to kids these days; make-do street toilets, public drug taking cubicles, an extreme last resort if you forget your mobile - not a place your best mate used to call you from when her parents regularly barred outgoing calls from their house.

And let us not start on TV on-demand services, which negate ever having an all-out sibling war over who recorded over the only VHS copy of Ghost with an episode of Byker Grove, or whose cassette recorder ate the ribbon on the latest Now...! double compilation.

Oh, kids these days. Those poor people born in 2013, whose idea of nostalgia will be a screen resolution without HD.

They're missing out.


Blonde said...

See also: that squeaky crackly noise of dial-up, and not being able to use the internet when your parents were on the phone. SIGH.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Oh god. DIAL UP. Single MP3s taking days to download. And parents being able to see exactly how long you were online for, because it was all itemised on the phone bill.

Dominic said...

Even nostalgia isn't as good as it used to be

em said...

This could not have come at a more relevant time - yesterday lunch, after a chat about the benefits of growing up PRE-digital cameras, an intern asked us a few questions
a) how did you do essays before the internet.
b) how did you meet your friends before mobile phones.
c) what was dial up internet (the regional WI office i called yesterday clearly had dial up still - bless them)
I'm only 31 and explaining 'how life used to be' made me feel so old!

MissN said...

Not forgetting recording the top 10 or top 20 from the radio every Sunday. Making sure to pause it right when the song ended and un-pause it to start recording again as soon as Dr Fox stopped speaking.

For years whenever I heard East 17's Stay Now, I would expect to hear radio chatter at the end of it.

Blonde said...

Em - urgh, the pain of writing essays longhand and making glaring error that meant you had to put a line through an otherwise perfect sheet of A4...

Lissy said...

This post. These comments. Oh. I am SO old.

fwengebola said...

Speaking of 1995, that's when this year's crop of students entering University were born.

Mind you, in 5 years time there'll be a bunch of students entering higher education who weren't even born in the last millennium.

London-Lass said...

I like to think that it's not us getting too old too fast that leads us into having these nostalgic wallowings when we're still so young but, rather, that we are progressing at such an alarming rate (and not always in the areas that we should be - but that's a whole other ballbag) `the good old days' can sometimes only be five years ago.

Jon said...

Encarta 95! I had that. It's true... in my first year of university nobody had a mobile phone and friends wrote me letters. Letters! Three years later, everyone had mobile phones and email addresses. We should have known it was a slippery slope. Still, at least I went to university in the pre-Facebook age.

Ellie said...

I don't believe any adult who says he/she was born after 1985. Impossible.

I was one of the few at uni who had a computer. I used to type other students' papers for them. $2 a page. How would I have made that extra spending money in today's age?


Blog Template by - RSS icons by ComingUpForAir