This is the world our kids live in.
They know tech inside and outside. They are more versatile with emojis than we ever will be. They can make screens disappear and reappear on their various devices faster than you can say ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’.
Everyone has a phone on their person. Many no longer even have house phones. Long-distance calling plans aren’t even necessary with VOIP, Skype, Messenger, and Facetime. We can call around the globe as though it were a local call by subscribing to a simple phone plan.
They don’t know who Mary Poppins is. Nor are they familiar with a typewriter, rotary dial phone, or meeting visiting people at the gate at the airport.
Our kids use verbs like ‘unfriend’, ‘google’, ‘tweet’ and ‘IM’; these words did not exist when we were their age. They speak emoji and Internet slang fluently. They believe the weight of a ‘like’ by the right person is of utmost importance. They understand that a picture is only as good as the one who edits it.
They are living in a world where terrorist bombings and school shooting are almost common place. Instead of being shocked speeachless or dumbfounded when an attack occurs, they ask ‘where?’ And ‘how many this time?’ They know to ask if anyone took credit or if they got the attacker.
Ready-to-eat convenience foods make up a large portion of their regular diet, to include rotisserie chickens, baby carrots and precut fruit as well as fruit sauce pouches, UHT milk, and single serve hummus.
Video game graphics are top notch, maybe even better than many full-budget big screen movies. CGI is a thing; what is real and what is not is completely and seamlessly blended together.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the social staples that pen pal letters and a drop-in-for-coffee were. One’s online persona is as important as their in-person one might be…. If they gave the in-person one a chance. Social skills are honed online and not in-person so face-to-face conversation skills can be harder to master.
Darth Vader is no longer the ultimate bad guy. Every comic hero has their own movie, and quality RomComs are few and far between. The bigger the budget, the bigger the CG impact, the bigger the Box Office gain.
In our younger days:
Graphic novels were comic books, and not something you found in libraries.
‘Kids music’ was not a section in the music store. And music stores were physical structures, and not just a site online.
The Internet did not exist.
When we wanted to learn about a topic, we went to the appropriate book in the encyclopedia series.
Maps were found in atlases. And when we drove somewhere, we had to figure out the route ourselves, and not just ask Siri or Google Maps to find the best route for us.
Weekends and summer holidays were free range days. We ran out of the house right after breakfast and not coming home until the beginning hours of dusk, or later (weekends and holidays from school). We spent almost every waking hour out of the house going out to go to a friends’ house, or off on our way to the corner store for snacks.
What’s the point of all of this? I guess the point is perspective. I had a conversation just the other day with an 8 year-old, trying to get her to see that her way isn’t necessarily the right way. Her way may feel right to her, just like mine does to me. I am mature enough to know that there are a lot of nuances in ‘reality’ from different points of view. Life is like that: no one way is right. So. Remember the grey areas and try to help your kids see that their world, too, will change. By the time they are adults, and talking about ‘the good old days’ things will again have shifted. Who knows, maybe parachute pants will again rear their (ugly and uncomfortable) heads.