I remember when the best bit of computer technology was a hangman game for DOS. I can also remember when we got Windows 95. The game Hover and the music video for Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” were the best things I had ever seen on a computer monitor. I can even remember my parents using HAM radio to talk to each other. Before the days of the big cell phone in a bag. Yep, those were the good old days.
I look back on these things often as I watch my children play. The iPod Touch makes it easy to have whatever I need to entertain the kids (usually music) at the tip of my fingers. Toys have evolved from actual wood to BPA free plastics. TV has changed so dramatically that you would be hard pressed to not find something on the tube that a child will watch.
It is hard to tell who “has it better” when it comes to such things. Does an age of readily available entertainment make things better? I know it makes things easier, but I have to wonder if it will be a downfall in the long run. Were the days of finding a large stick in the yard and turning it into whatever you wanted it to be the days that will soon be forgotten?
I remember being close to my son’s age. Mind you, I don’t remember much of it, but what I do remember is the major difference in how my life at that age compared to my son’s. Perhaps the availability of just about everything he could want will be an advantage in some ways. Better learning materials are available now and more fun activities that put learning into it are at our disposal. I also think that greater parental control of the content our children are exposed to may be a benefit.
But what of the days long gone? What about the times when creativity and mind power had to be the way of playtime? Are we causing our children to lose the ability to create? I have many a fond memory of playing with the neighbors. If we didn’t have specific toys (or any toys) it didn’t matter. Playtime was golden. It was fun. It was ours. We were heroes, soldiers, baseball players, football players, monsters, and kings.
Maybe there really isn’t a difference between the generations of play. Maybe there is. What do you think? How do you remember your childhood playtime? What differences (good or bad) do you see between those memories and the playtime your children have now?