I'm only 29 but I'm starting to feel my age with teenagers running around looking like it's the 80's again. Just a bit ago I saw a commercial for a local school district that said that all the students get iPads. That blew my mind. I remember being in elementary school and the library got the first computer with a CD drive and it had the ability to let all the kids watch the space shuttle take off. To us, this was the peak of technology. You open up Encarta and could watch the space shuttle take off. That was it. Classes had to book time for each class to go to the library and use it. It was that big of a deal.
Now, all kids get iPads in class like it's no big deal, and the kids look at other things like they're garbage. Kids don't appreciate the things that got us where we are today. Seriously, my little cousin talked mad trash on Mario Kart 64. I told him he was adopted, so it worked out. Let's all take a moment to look at everything we have today that kids take for granted because they're little monsters.
You didn't think I'd start this spectacular list without starting off with the most obvious point did you? Picture 1,000 years ago and you were just a peasant in some kingdom. There was no porn for you. You had to be the leader of the kingdom to see some crazy sex stuff like in Game of Thrones. Flash-forward to now where you can see crazy sex stuff by accidently clicking a banner ad on a website.
When you were a kid, porn was so limited that you had to rely on one of your friends stealing their Dad's Playboys, or watching scrambled porn on wooden televisions. "Is that a boob? I don't know? Wait, it cleared up for 3 seconds! It's a boob!" Now kids can just take out their phone, tablet or laptop and instantly watch any porn that is possible. Seriously, if something odd arouses somebody on the planet, there is a porn and a sequel to that porn for you.
11. Downloading Music
The Internet is really fast (not here in America, but that is a whole other corrupt story), but it wasn't so when some ten to fifteen years ago. We had dial-up modems. That meant if you wanted to download a song, you would do so at night before you went to sleep and by the time you woke up the next morning, it might be finished. And finding sources to download music wasn't easy either.
Napster came along and made it easier, but before that was FTP's and mIRC. You had to learn a whole internet language just to get a list of what another user had. You think there was a moment back then when you saw someone with a movie and you could just download it like it was no big deal? No. But if they did have a movie, and you clicked to download, the timer would say 5.7 years. That's how it was back at the beginning of the internet. Now, kids are just staring at their phones getting mad because it takes their phone more than 10 seconds to download an entire discography at 9 a.m.
10. Video Games
Video games were also limited when we were kids. Before that, we had to rely on parents taking us to a pizza place that was also an arcade. It was like Chuck E. Cheese, but way better. Just hooking up an NES took like 2 hours to figure out how to hook it up because it was such a foreign thing to hook something like that up to a television.
Now, kids get to play games that are so lifelike that sometimes you can't tell if it's real or animated. You can play a game on Xbox Live and a child is talking so much trash to a gamer that you'll want to turn into a Grandpa and say, "In my day we didn't talk so much trash because we respected other gamers." Which is a total lie. Nintendo 64 didn't have internet multiplayer. No, you had 4 people in a room yelling, "Stop watching my screen you cheater!"
As mentioned earlier, many of us had a wooden television. It served as an entertainment device, and a table that held decorations and family photos. This was in the past 10 years!
Now, flat-screen TV's are everywhere, and they're pretty cheap. Like $200 dollars delivered cheap. That is mind blowing. Cheap enough to where after you buy one you didn't get Cognitive Dissonance (Buyer's remorse after spending money). Kids have no idea what it's like having a gigantic boulder of a TV in their living room instead of a picture that hangs on the wall and plays reruns of The Simpsons.
8. Television Channels
When my Dad was little, his Father would come home from work late at night, turn on the TV and watch The Tonight Show. The next day at my Grandpa's work, he would ask, or be asked, "Did you watch the monologue?" It was specific, but known to all because it was a question about The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. There were only a few channels, so that was the entertainment go-to back then.
Today, kids get thousands of channels to choose from. I want to write a scientific journal to prove that an episode of Law and Order on at some point in the day on every day of the calendar year. You know there is. That show and its spin-offs have like a billion episodes and probably bad its own channel somewhere. There are so many channels now that I must have a list handy to remember what channel has what on it. I've had a certain cable company for 5 years and still don't know any channel other than the one that plays the Detroit Tigers games.
7. Cell Phones
Kids today wouldn't know what to do if they didn't have their security blanket of a cell phone close by. It wasn't like that a few years ago. We didn't have them and had to pull our cars over in a parking lot, get out, grab change from a pocket and use a payphone by a 7/11. Not to forget the corded phones we had to use at home. Kids don't know that kind of pain of remembering others numbers in their memory, or getting choked out with a phone cord by their cousin. Also, do you recall my comments on dial-up modems? Yeah, if you picked up the corded phone when you were on the internet, it cuts off the internet. That was what we had to put up with.
You can't take a walk in a park without seeing a child with a phone that is better than yours. When I was 8 years old, I needed permission to cross the street in my neighborhood to hang out with a friend. Now kids are just wandering around on their cell phones like zombies because their parents are wandering around on theirs. Seriously, have you ever been in a bar and have the conversation come to a halt, and all of your friends stare at their cell phones? It's terrifying.
6. They're Alive
Whenever you read older tales from 100-200 years ago, you read about a couple that had 7 kids, but 6 of them died. Imagine that being the norm now. What? You can't? That's because medical technology has come so far that we can give birth, and the kid will live, the Mother will live and all is well. Back then, someone would give birth and then the kid would die of some disease by age 4 or something.
Kids are now born and are mouthing off to adults by the age of 5. They have no idea that they could have easily been dead if born 150 years ago. Well, or now because of the idiotic anti-vaccination movement. So I guess it really matters where you're born.
5. Running Water
If you're in a developed country, you can walk right into your kitchen and turn on your faucet and get clean water flowing. Kids will brush their teeth for a few minutes and just leave that faucet running like it's no big deal to flush down gallons of clean water. Hundreds of years ago, it was a crucial chore to find clean water so you could hydrate, cook, wash, do laundry and not die. Kids don't realize this because they're too busy not caring.
There are places on Earth where a Mother has to walk 15 miles to get water, and 15 miles back just to have water for a day or two. And what could happen during those walks? She could be murdered or have other terrible things happen to her that I don't want to detail. All of this to bring water home for her family. So, the next time you stand in the shower for 20 minutes, just know that you're a horrible person.
4. Streaming Services
Oh, you feel like just throwing on Netflix and watching a show you missed? Sounds easy, but if you missed a show when it was new, that was it. You don't get to see it until question mark. Combine that show with less channels and less syndication and you won't ever see it.
I'd watch Nickelodeon as a kid and wait and wait until a rerun of a show would come on, but it never did. I'd watch MTV for a music video to come on, and that soon vanished. Kids can now watch anything, for anytime, anywhere they want. To them, it's no big deal, but to those of us that had to read a magazine to see what is to know the pain of limited choices.
Want a pizza with everything on it? Go online and put in what you want and 20 minutes later it will come to your door. 100 years ago, you had to put a block of ice in your ice box and put food in it to keep it fresh. 200 years ago you had to leave your house and hunt for food if you wanted to make a sandwich, oh, and if you wanted bread, you had to make it. Imagine a kid today sitting on a couch being able to carry out all that. Can you? Not really. If there isn't an app for that, they won't want anything to do with it.
Take someone from 100 years ago and walk them into a modern grocery and they would probably break down and cry. Think about it: You can walk into a big grocery store and buy food for 2 weeks or more, store it all and feed your kids for a pretty good price. Fish? Canned an on the shelf. Foreign meat that you've never heard of? Cut up and with 5 or more variations of it in the meat section. Almond milk? Yeah, it's a thing, and it's over there with a discount. Kids just walk up to it and point like all of those cereal choices are no big deal, but they are impressive when you think of how long it took for all of this to become the norm.
Do you want to find out something about anything? Google it. At no point in the history of civilization is there a better way to find out about anything because of the internet. You can learn languages, meet friends, play games, learn about the background of Roman culture and watch 4 clowns have sex with each other in an ice cream truck. If you think it, the internet has it.
Libraries are still around, and they're fantastic. Books are everywhere, the smell of the place, and the task of looking around for a book that you want or need to use for whatever reason is wonderful. But the internet has basically eliminated the need for libraries, and kids really let you know about it. "Jeff, why are you reading a book, I have that on my tablet as well as 10,000 other books." Great, Jimmy, but I'd rather open an actual book and read it. The feeling of reading a book and closing it because you read the entire thing is wonderful. The feeling of finishing an e-book and closing the file doesn't have that feeling.
The internet is one of the most universal inventions that has given humanity a wonderful gift, but can you remember a time before it? It took so long to do many things kids don't even realize. You want to send a message to a friend? Get out some paper, write what you want them to know, fold it, put it in an envelope, write out the addresses, stamp it, put it in the mail box and then wait for a response for a week.
1. Modern Medicine
A kid gets sick, you take them to the doctors, they get meds and a few days later they're fine and back to school. No big deal. Oh, wait, rewind to a long time ago when a kid cuts his leg on a tree and he dies a week later from infection. It was dark times where if you were at war and you got shot in the leg, they were going to have to amputate your leg. They didn't put you out, they just gave you a shot of liquor and a belt to bite on before sawing your leg off. Imagine going to a hospital because you have a pain in your leg and they come back with a diagnosis of, "Okay, so we're going to have to take the leg. Nurse, get the Vodka." Screw that.
I'm not saying that Doctors are without faults. I faked sick and my Mom took me to our Doctor. He told me I have Bronchitis and I was like, "Oh, okay then." I was an evil child, but getting to tell my Mom that I was sick and totally lied with a Doctor's note to prove it was hilarious. Kids don't really know the power they have over adults, and that makes me fear them.