There is no doubt about it: the world that I grew up in is gone. It was filled with kids having water fights in the streets, our house being the place where all the hoses seemed to converge. It was bikes and bells, and doing what we could to get the ball away from the dog. It was riding the Tonka toy fashioned to look like a Jeep down the driveway (mom rode that toy down the driveway too). And it was pen pals with snail mail and waiting for the postman to come.
Who remembers these? They used to be on every street corner. Now, you don't seem them at all. At least, that's the case in Christchurch, New Zealand.
You were at the mercy of whatever the TV networks decided to air. You didn’t like what was on, you either lumped it or read a book. Phone conversations were scratchy at best and, in some areas, party lines were still a thing. There were phone boxes on every street corner, and cash paid for everything.
The concept of cell phones didn’t exist in my youth. Car phones were for the rich only. The internet was this unheard-of thing, and modems required you to place the handset from the phone onto this chunky device with pulses and high-pitched noises going down the phone line.
Video calls and streaming your favorite show to a handheld device wirelessly was something seen only in science fiction. Genetic modification of human embryos was the source of freaky war storylines from Star Trek. Yet, here we are.
Science fiction has become science fact. (And yes, genetic modification of human embryos is now science fact.)
Yeah, the world I grew up in is definitely gone, but there will always be those who wish we could go back to the way things were. Their reasoning is often linked to some comment as to how out of touch with the rest of the world the next generation has become—how the next generation is so caught up in an internet world that they're missing the life in the local neighborhoods. In some aspects, I agree with them. But while I would love to cling to those go-outside aspects of the world that have vanished without me even noticing, there are other aspects of this new internet-based world that I have openly embraced and would never look back.
But these changes that I see in my world and in myself, was it really just technology that brought them on? Have we, as a society, really changed all that much?
Has our new level of technology brought about a level of disconnect between the generations that wasn't there before?