Family Friday: Do kids really have it easier?

It seems that each generation thinks that they had it harder than the younger generations. All of the “I had to walk five miles to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways” type of things. I don’t think that the current generation has it very easy, though. If that makes me an odd duck, I’m okay with that. 🙂

I have a daughter in middle school. In my opinion, middle school is the hardest of the three levels. All of those hormones, people stuck on the fence between childhood and teen-age, differing maturity levels, etc? No, thanks. I made it through, and you couldn’t pay me to go back! My daughter and I have had several conversations about being in middle school and how tough it is. During one of our recent conversations, I mentioned to her that I wasn’t sure if her generation had it easier or harder than mine did. She wanted to know how it was easier and harder for her.

I actually put technology in both categories. I think technology has made it much harder for her generation, because there are so many more issues to deal with! Between cell phones, computers, tablets, the internet in general, etc., there are probably a dozen different ways to communicate now. Aside from bullying/cyber-bullying, this is a dozen opportunities for people to misunderstand what you meant. In my generation (and I’m not that much older than she is!), we were limited to vocal communication, or passing notes in school. Not that I ever did that. Ahem. 😉 Now, people can email, Facebook, Twitter, whatever. Something goes wrong, a message doesn’t get sent or received correctly, and somebody has their feelings hurt. Vocal communication mostly eliminates that problem. In vocal communication, people usually only got insulted if you actually insulted them.

In other ways, technology has made their lives much, much easier than ours were. Can I tell you how much I would have loved to have access to the internet when I was at the age of writing school papers? When my daughter asked me for an example of how technology was easier for her generation than mine, I used recording television shows. This is (roughly) how the conversation went:

Me: We couldn’t record TV shows the way you can.

Daughter: What do you mean?

M: If we wanted to record a show, we could only record one. We had to set up the VCR to record it, make sure there was a blank tape, and set it up. And, if we got home while the show was recording, we had to wait for it to finish recording. We couldn’t go back and watch the first part while the last part was finishing recording. We couldn’t watch anything else while it was recording, either.

D: Just one show? (Sounding a little disgusted.)

M: Yeah, just one. If we wanted to watch TV as a family, we had to leave at least one person in the living room to watch the commercials. They would yell “It’s on!” and the rest of us had to come running.

D: Why didn’t you just pause it if you had to leave the room?

M: There was no pausing live TV. Didn’t happen.

D: (Horrified silence. Finally found her voice.) You couldn’t pause? At all?

M: Nope.

D: You had it much harder than I do.

I might not agree with her, but I’m glad she thinks of it that way. If she thinks that her father and I survived some kind of horrible childhood because we couldn’t pause live TV, fine. Maybe her sympathy will get us through a couple of the teenage years. 😉

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