Teens and Technology

Let’s compare the teens from the 90s (like me) to the teens of today.

Internet for me was those screeching, annoying modem sounds to log on to AOL. Might take up to a minute to connect and for the webpages to load. Internet for them is the touch of an icon on their smartphone or a double-click on a computer desktop — and it loads in seconds.

A handheld device for me could play cartridges of Tetris, Super Mario Land, Metroid II, Kirby’s Pinball Land, and so on. I’d have to go to Electronics Boutique to get those. They can read books, listen to music, watch videos, take photos, connect to friends, check e-mail, shop for things, and surf the web with their device. They can download new games in a matter of seconds. No need to visit a store.

Music for me was putting a CD into my Sony Discman or boombox. I was a big fan of the Barenaked Ladies, Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind, Dave Matthews Band, Live, and Jamiroquai in the 90s. If I wanted to listen to a different band, I had to take the CD out and put in another. Music for them is putting thousands of digital songs onto their device, listening to a playlist, or streaming music. They even have devices capable of listening to them. Say “play Sam Smith” and their device goes right to the artist’s music.

If I took pictures with my camera, I (or my parents) had to take the roll of film to get developed (usually only took a day or two). Teens today can share their photos to Instagram or Snapchat instantaneously.

I had Time Life books. They have Wikipedia.

In 1997, only 36.6% of households had a computer and only 18% used the Internet. In 2011, those numbers jumped to 75.6% and 71.7%, respectively. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 95% of teens use the Internet, 78% have a cell phone (37% have a smartphone), 75% of them text, and 20% have never used a land-line.

If only they knew what life was like before technology…

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