“How old do you think I am?” I asked Jack incredulously. I know he’s a kid in the 21st Century, but geez! Is my face cream not working? Am I not covering up the grey enough? Just because you have access to multiple devices at one time and I only had Atari growing up, doesn’t mean I walked to school in the snow. Up hill. Both ways.

Televisions and Telephones

We did have televisions and telephones when I was a kid. And not just tin soup cans attached to a string either. I do make my children aware of these facts in this age of modern technology. When we go to my brother’s house over the holidays, I show my kids the black rotary dial phone my dad had in his study that my brother now has.

I say “Kids, come here, I want to show you something. This is called a telephone. You have to pick up this handle, wait for a dial tone, then dial each number individually. Then, wait again until the circle returns to it’s correct number placement.”

And this is the response I get…

“Maaaaa-uuuummmmm, (eye roll, eye roll) we know that’s a phone.”

I quickly reply “But did you know it has a cord and you could only go as far as the cord allowed? Did you also know there was such a thing as a ‘busy signal’? That meant the person you were trying to call was on the other line talking to someone else.”

Then I really stick it to them by saying this: “We had to WAIT to talk with a person.” Can you picture my kid’s disdain?

I get the same response when I pull out my old typewriter. I start in again…”Kids, this is called a typewriter. I had to use this apparatus to type my term papers in college. When I made a mistake, I had to roll the paper up, use a product called ‘white out’ to cover up my mistake, then very carefully roll the paper back to the exact spot where I had left off typing.”

“Do you have any idea how difficult that was?” I ask them. However at this point only the 10-year old remains standing there barely listening to me as the older three have heard this schpeel many times before. They’ve left to go put in their ear buds and watch YouTube on their tiny portable mobile device (aka phone.)

So Jack, to answer your question…

Yes, I had TV when I was a kid. If we wanted to change the channel we would actually have to get up with our own two legs, go to the TV and turn the knob. Can you imagine having no remote? We didn’t even have cable!

And I had to sneak to watch Saturday Night Live. I swear at the worst possible moment, when there was a raunchy part, my Dad would walk in and tell me to “turn off the boob tube!”. Busted… every time!

And now Jack, you have a TV everywhere you look. You can barely go out in public with out seeing a TV. Even at the gas pump. And that phone in your pocket is a mini TV that you carry with you everywhere.

Fortnite Obsession

I want to limit your screen time… curb your Fortnite obsession. I tell you to “Turn off the Boob Tube!” too and I mean it.  I don’t want you to get notified instantly. I want you to have to be met with a busy signal. I want you to have play Pong where there are only 4 non life-like things on the screen to monitor. I want you to wish you were outside playing at Terabithia rather than playing Battlefield 1.

Yes Jack, I had TV as a kid, but nothing like you have it now.


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