Lately I have found myself becoming more educated on the appeals of online and social media. At the age of 24, there really was little time that the world wide web was not a presence in my life.
We took classes beginning in 6th grade to improve our typing and even created our own webpages that same year. None of this of course compares to the iPad phenomenon that is now replacing books in schools or the fact that kids are more familiar with technology in many cases than even I am — my nephew recently taught me how to play 'Cut the Rope'...he's four.
And I am all for technological advances (as my recent articles have shown) however a song came on the radio today that reminded me of just how nice simpler times were and I was brought back to the childhood days for those 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
The song was "A Different World" by Bucky Convington and just to give you a feel of how my childhood felt, here are the lyrics:
We were born to mothers who smoked and drank
Our cribs were covered in lead based paint
No child proof lids no seat belts in cars
Rode bikes with no helmets and still here we are, still here we are
We got daddy’s belt when we misbehaved
Had three TV channels you got up to change
No video games and no satellite
All we had were friends and they were outside, playin’ outside
It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world
School always started the same every day
The pledge of allegiance then someone would pray
Not every kid made the team when they tried
We got disappointed and that was all right, we turned out all right
No bottled water, we drank from a garden hose
And every Sunday, all the stores were closed
Now of course not all of that is relatable...I was a spoiled city kid who did have more than three tv channels and seat belts were always a must in the car. But at the heart of the chorus, it truly was a different world. I didn't have a cell phone for my mom to reach me on or Facebook to arrange a playdate. I played outside with the neighborhood kids and knew to come home when the house lights came on or when my mom's world famous whistle (so loud I can imagine people the next town over heard) echoed through the streets.
My brother and I biked everywhere, lemonade stand paid for our ice cream truck affliction and we were forced to eat our dinner or go to bed hungry.
Things just seemed as innocent as the world did in my eyes. Of course I probably long for those days now being an adult with responsibilities that I didn't have when I was younger, but it certainly makes you think.
Are all of these advancements harmful to our kids generation? No. But what I think is crucial in today's society is knowing when to "unplug." Each summer my parent's cancelled cable and internet to force us outside — never a problem for any of us kids — and limited the time we spent on the computer to 30 minutes a day when we were privileged to be online during the rest of the year.
"Unplugging" is not only rewarding for the kids, but you as parents too. Go back to the "old times" before internet and technology once in awhile and see how much you can really learn. It can be as refreshing as taking that summer drink fresh out of the garden hose.