I’m not quite sure when it happened exactly, but I have become one of those “back in my day” dads. I constantly tell my daughter how great she has it went it comes to entertainment. Between Netflix, the Internet, specialty channels, PVRs, and the list goes on. There’s no way my kid can ever feel bored.
I remember how amazing it was when I first used a VCR – my sister had a Betamax with a copy of The Empire Strikes Back which I would watch whenever I had the opportunity. I was fascinated by the fact that I could pause it, and I imagined that if I was watching a regular TV show, I could pause that too. Obviously, I didn’t realize that something had to be on a video tape for me to be able to do that. I was six years old, what did I know? However, my kids can do that now, through the magic of a PVR. Supper time! Okay, let’s just pause that episode of Wild Kratts and we’ll continue after we eat. Oh, we won’t have time? Just press the record button and it’ll be saved so we can watch it on another night. This is basically like running water to my kids – it’s always been there.
My daughter loves music, and every once in a while she’ll ask something like, “Hey dad! I want to watch Taylor Swift playing a few songs on acoustic guitar. Can you find that?” And I’ll say, “Let’s type it into this computer with a screen bigger than my childhood family TV.” Hello Taylor Swift! When I was her age, the family computer used a cassette tape, something my child has only a vague idea of. Now? The family computer is a 27-inch iMac with a 5K screen that has access to pretty much all the information one would ever need.
It may sound like I’m jealous that I didn’t have this stuff, but I’m not. I’m happy that I get to share this with my children. This is such a great time to be alive – we have access to so much and it’s important we take full advantage of this. Along with all the fun we can have, I’m trying to show my daughter (and son, eventually) that computers and technology offer more than just a way to watch every episode of My Little Pony 1.
This idea of how far we’ve progressed is one that I’ll probably be revisiting often over time. On the flipside, the resistance to change and how people worry about technology is something I also want to cover – these two ideas are interconnected. This is inevitable; technology moves forward, and every generation has so much more than the previous one. With that comes those that will feel left behind and threatened, and the negativity will come as well. It’s something that frustrates me, and I definitely have lots to say about it. For now though, let’s just enjoy the fact that we can go back and watch every episode of Friends whenever the hell we want to.
- Seriously though, My Little Pony is fantastic and way better than the show that was on when I was a kid. ↩