Speaking from a very youthful Baby Boomer’s perspective, I can’t help but feel like Rip Van Winkle. If you don’t know who he is, just Google him, like everything else you do. It truly seems like I woke up after 20-plus years and the entire world had changed, mainly Technology. Well, it has.
Things ain’t what they used to be. Above all growing up. And I’m just talking about the formidable years. Here are just a few to ponder.
Oh, the 90s. What teens got away with.
They probably thought they were so clever back in the day. Technology had not yet clipped their rebellious wings and removed all the freedoms that come with being a teen.
It’s Ten O’Clock. Do you know where your kids are?
Unless their children were in eyesight, parents certainly had no idea where their kids were, or what they were up to. Until the late 90s, seems like only doctors and dealers had cell phones and beepers. GPS was just for spaceships. Hence being unreachable and untrackable provided countless advantages for what those up-to-no-good teens could and couldn’t do. “Should” was just an option.
More often than not, what kids said was vastly different from what they actually did. Keeping the story straight was their ultimate concern.
What they said: “Yeah, Mom. We’re going bowling.”
What they did: Picked up a 12-pack. Cruised Forest Lane. Successfully trolled for boys.
What they said: “Don’t worry, I promise to drive the speed limit.”
What they did: Proved the Lexus could go well over 110 miles per hour.
What they said: ‘We’ll be fine! We’re just gonna stay home, watch videos, and do some “Dance, Dance Revolution.”
What they did: You don’t even want to know.
Those days are long gone.
Yep. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off would have been cut waaay short with today’s technology. Big Brother has literally entered the picture. Because now, it’s so easy to get busted, just check out these apps that make behaving badly harder than it ever was.
They call it the “jack-of-all-spying-trades”. It monitors who kids call, what they text, their GPS location and too much more! Mind you, this app isn’t just for tracking kids, if you know what I mean. And I think that you do.
The average American teen spends up to seven hours a day in contact with others on electronic devices, and a recent survey by online security firm AVG found that by the time they are 16, one in three has regretted something they did online.
Not only does this app let you know how fast your child is driving, you can also track the speed of any car he or she is riding in.
News flash. Technology is not their BFF.
So they think they can outsmart their smartphone? Think again. There’s a new sheriff in town.
The Phone Sheriff
Meet the Johnny Law of setting time limits on your teen’s device. As a result, this app will shut down and lock the phone when you tell it to. But that’s not all folks.
Yes, you can technically shut their digital door to temptation. It’s like an online bouncer for shopping, gambling, dating, liquor, and chat sites. Even content that involves adult, sex, weapons and violence.
Call me sheltered. I went to a girl’s school. Meeting boys other than the dweebs from our brother boy’s school posed a significant challenge. What did I do? I got a very cool job and met gobs of hotties. I actually pimped prom dates for all my gal pals. Certainly, there were other methods of seeking a steady (a creepy term my parents used) in the 90s such as: school, after-school, football games, keg parties (yeah, parents out of town), arcades, church orgs, cruising the lane, and of course, “the mall”.
If one did find adolescent love in the 90s, courting and dumping were much more respectable. No naughty pics. Probably because you actually had to get “film” developed. The dude at CVS would so get fired for printing your ‘privates’. Back then, mixed tapes were a true act of love and breaking up wasn’t cruel. In fact, it was bad form to break up on the phone, and totally unacceptable on an answering machine.
Nowadays, young love, even adult courtship, has deteriorated to kids in a candy store. Due to so many choices! Social-Media has reduced budding romance to SnapChat, Facebook, and Instagram to texting, and all too often, sexting. Then, if boy actually meets girl, no one’s been ghosted and it becomes a thing, seems like only then does the “tagging” begin. It’s deemed, official.
New terms, same pecking order. High school social structures are essentially the same. As a result of the technology revolution, nerds rule like never before. These days, the captain of the robotics team carries as much cachet as the Quarterback. (Man, I miss Steve Jobs.) Combine the two, and you’ve got today’s ultimate B.M.O.C.
Schoolwork. How it’s done
20 years ago, futurists thought students would soon carry one inexpensive device loaded with digital textbooks, and assignments that would always be updated and current. Truth is, for most schools the numbers just don’t work as the concept has yet to prove sustainable.
Some schools have made the digital leap.
No more lugging back-breaking textbooks, spirals and leaky pens. No double-spaced typed essays. For the well-funded schools, it is all digital. As a result, semi-slackers such as myself, are being held to a much higher level of accountability.
“Dog ate my homework?” doesn’t fly in the high-tech classroom. Certainly not, “Lightning struck my iPad.” It’s all in the dang “cloud.” Personally, I would be so screwed, as would many of my fellow B and C students.
The soon to be lost Art of Plagiarism.
448 pages of The Ascent of Man and countless other dreadful reading assignments was my burden to bear in high school. And like millions of naive students on into the 90s, I thought I was the first to discover Cliff Notes® and the fine art of plagiarism. That black and yellow booklet had it all. Synopses, essays, book reports. Already written! Unfortunately, that trick ended quickly as my English teacher was way on to that trick.
Today, the digital age gives us unlimited resources to bail students (actually everyone) out of lazy situations. Spendy ones, free ones, dark ones. CAVEAT CHEATERS! As a result, high schools and especially colleges are all over it. They’re using all kinds of apps that can rat you and your plagiarized essays out in seconds. Furthermore, technology is only getting smarter. Word to the wise, don’t do it.
Helicopter parents rejoice.
The digital campus is a hovering parent’s dream. Those online dashboards give moms and dads access to all of their child’s assignments, test scores, teacher’s remarks and more – IN REAL TIME! As a result, a Mom knows her son’s test score sooner than he does. And you can bet skipping class is out of the question.
Furthermore, the list of the ways things have changed growing up goes on and on and will continue to do so exponentially. Bottom line, kids are maturing way too fast in a world that’s foreign to me in so many ways. Who knows how today’s youth will turn out? We can only hope, just as our parents did. Sleep tight tonight Rip Van Winkles everywhere. I know I won’t.