I have been thinking about a comment Mez made during her lecture this week about how we are the first generation to have grown up with the internet at our fingertips. She mentioned how able our generation are at collecting information quickly and easily, whereas when she was in University she had had to visit libraries across the country to take out books and conduct the same research. These days, everything has been digitalised, with the same information available on hundreds of sites and even to the point of being able to read books digitally, something I still can’t wrap my head around.
But the point of me repeating this is what it made me think. It made me think about the massive difference between just one generation, and think about all the things my parents have told me about when they were young. My mom has pulled out the telegrams she saved that went backwards and forwards between her and her best friend, telling each other big news like that Angela had passed her driving test. A telegram is their version of texting, really. She told me about how they didn’t have a house phone, and if they wanted to speak to someone they had to plan a day and time, and head down to the closest telephone box and wait for the call. Thinking about that blows my mind. Not being able to pick up my phone and call someone whenever I feel like makes me feel very unsafe, the way everyone does when they lose their mobile. Like that’s when you need it most. But it simply takes us back a generation when they had to plan the where and when the last time they saw each other as opposed to simply called and making plans in minutes.
The belief that we have grown up with this information at our fingertips, and into a digital world is one I’m not sure I agree with, because I think it’s the next generation. There is still a lot that baffles me about technology, however people I know around my age with young children baffle me even more. Two year old children can work an ipad faster that I can figure out how to turn it on. A young boy I know around this age is still learning to talk, yet he can switch on the computer and know exactly how to get onto his own games, or get onto youtube and start searching Thomas the tank before you even notice he’s left the room. You see girls younger than ten with mobile phones. Which within the aspect of safety I understand, however when an eight year old is using the same phone as me only faster, it makes me think it is the generation below me that are the real digy kids. And it doesn’t really need much explanation to go up two generations. Grandparents with mobiles? Grandparents on facebook? We all know it’s all jibberish to them. It is to our parents.
When I look at the vast difference between our three generations it makes me think of the broad generalisations that go along with them. Whiz-kids, for example. You don’t say whiz-middle aged ladies. I know when you go down a generation, they’ll know more than me about all this technology business even though they’re a lot younger than me. But go up a generation, and I know I’m going to sit with my mom or dad for an hour to help them figure out how to make a call on their new phone. It’s a huge leap, either way.
What I was thinking about, after all this is what is it going to be like for the next generation to come along? Will they see us as being as useless as we see our parents? Will they be huffing and puffing when we ask them to teach us to use the new mobile phones? It’s a scary thought. But what happens when we are the age of our parents? Or our parents parents? It’s strange to think we will have been the first generation to experience the internet completely, but we will be considered inadequate compared to all the new stuff that’ll be coming along. Aside from this fact, we will still be pretty tech-savvy. More tech-savvy than the older generations at the moment. It’s hard to picture 80 year olds updating their facebook, or discussing their last headshot on COD. But that’s what we’ll be. The same, just with a few wrinkles.
So I think this may be a starting point for my Digital Play series. Us, but old. Playing COD and creating events on facebook to meet for tea and cake. It’s an odd image to conger up, isn’t it?