Wednesday, 10 July 2013

How Did We Survive?

You know, there is such a thing as being too connected. As more and more parents are giving their kids (young kids) phones, I am seeing this more and more. How did all of us survive without cell phones, seatbelts, carseats bike helmets, iPads, iPods, DVR, etc?

Yesterday, I had the crew over at my house. (The crew being Lily and her five girl friends who run as a pack around our block.) Two of these girls had some form of electronic device. One was a cell phone. They were in Lily’s room playing. I happened to look in, and the two with the electronic devices were lying on Lily’s bed playing on their toys.

WTF? These kids are under nine. Lily is not quite nine. She does not need a cell phone. Her iPad/iPod usage is limited and strictly forbidden when friends are over for this very reason. Well, and that I want them to actually interact with each other. I mean, what’s the point of having a play date if you aren’t going to play?

A lot of parents have all kinds of reasons why their kids need cell phones and these other gadgets. Lily has a hand-me-down iPad with limited use. We’ve passcode protected it and haven’t given her the passcode. If I let her, she would play mindless games on that thing all day long. I could hang her on the wall, and, as long as she was holding it, she’d be perfectly happy there. In short, she turns into a zombie. While that may thrill some people, I do not want a zombie child.

Now, I can’t imagine not having DVR, my iPhone, computer, and the like, despite not growing up with them, but I can imagine no seatbelts or bike helmets. I wear both, but if it wasn’t legislated, I don’t know if I would. It’s hard to say. I might. I might not. I mean, I survived 16 years without a seatbelt. I survived riding in the back of a pickup truck sitting on the wheel well as Dad drove 60 miles an hour down the road. Dad would yell at us to sit on the bed of the truck, but we’d inch our way back onto those wheel wells. Smart? No. Safe? No. And, yet, somehow, no one that I knew of died. Not that people didn’t and haven’t, but I don’t know any personally.

70s banana seat bike

And bike helmets for kids (and adults—you won’t find me riding my bike without one.) Does anyone remember those banana seat bikes? I can remember giving friends “hikes.” They’d sit in the handlebars on behind me on the seat (or both) as I pedaled furiously to keep us moving. Or I sat on the handlebars. I remember even running into a fence or two. No helmet. Did we even have helmets back then?

And carseats... Are kids safer? Probably, but I remember being crammed in the back of the car, or rolling around the back of the station wagon as Mom drove 70 mph down the country roads. There was one road, Herndon, all of us would climb into the back when she went down it because it had these big rolling hills. Whenever we go over one and back down the other side, we lift up into the air. (grin) We also loved lying in the back of the car and popping up to "scare" people. I don't know if we ever did, but it sure was a lot of fun. We could stuff four kids into the backseat of a coupe and put two up front. I'm just waiting for them to legislate that anyone under 100 pounds needs to be in a carseat.

Just you wait, they will someday legislate, with illustrations, how we must wipe our butts. Don't believe me? Give it time. You know, wiping your butt can be dangerous. There're laws on the books, after all, what position you can have sex. Don't believe me? Look it up. Not that any of us pay any attention to those laws. (grin) Missionary position gets a little old after a while, although it does have its merits. (grin)

Still, somehow, we survived.

And, yet, if you are to believe the newscasters, we couldn’t possibly survive without all of these laws protecting us and the gadgets to keep us connected, despite the fact that generations did for centuries.

How did we survive? We just did, and we could again... if given half the chance.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great rant. My granddaughter has a cell phone and when she visits she sits around playing games on it. She's almost ten.
We crammed four in the back seat when I was a kid too. I always got car sick on those rolling country roads.

Anthology Authors said...

Thanks, Susan. I know. It's maddening, isn't it.

We have to be taken care of because we don't know what's best for us.

My dad used to drive like it was the Indy 500 in the mountains. I had to go to sleep or barf.

HeWhoMustObey said...

Forgive me for an old man's perspective, but when I was a lad, helmets and car seats were unknown. Somehow, despite lots of bike riding, car travel, etc., I don't know of a single friend who suffered.
Then I note that it seems every kid in middle school and above has a "smart" phone or such, and I wonder what texts and emails capture their rapt attention. I wonder if our ability to "communicate" hasn't far surpassed the need, so that trivialities are the standard. I don't know, since I don't know what messages are flying about, but my guess is that it's nothing big.

Cassandra said...

I remember lying above the back seat in my dad's nova right under the back windshield. At night, I would stare at the stars until we arrived home. I never had a thought about flying forward in an accident and I never had to.

My sons, 13 and 9, are doing quite well without personal gadgets. Time limits are a must to avoid the zombie effect. If they need to call us while they're out, they know they can borrow the cell of the adult we left them with. No worries.

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Cassandra said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm even older than the banana-seat bikes and we "trailed" folks on our handlebars a lot. Rode in the street, drank out of the hose, and all manner of things that the powers that be would be mortified about, it would seem. Shoot, I'm with "HeWhoMustObey" -- don't have a cellphone that I use on a regular basis. Do do Facebook and email, but no smart phone for me. Too much info available to people that have no business knowing my business, imo.

Jaime Samms said...

I grew up in a household where there were three to seven children at any given time who all needed to get to the same place as the parent at the same time. In a Sedan. Do that math. Nine people in a sedan. And yet, we all arrived alive. Go! I won't even talk about the things we got up to in the creek behind our house that my mother used to be absolutely paranoid about whenever *my* kids were visiting. But did she ever worry about her own? Not that I remember! How the hell do you think half of us learned to swim???

Anthology Authors said...

I don't remember helmets or carseats either, HeWhoMustBeObeyed. I remember helmets for motorcycles, but not bicycles. I have a few friends who died in car accidents, but seatbelts wouldn't have saved them.

As for the electronic gadgets, I have a lot, but it's part of my job being an eBook publisher and all. I must admit I do enjoy my gadgets, but it's also very nice to get away from them like I did last week.

I can honestly say that a lot of what is said in text isn't that important.

Anthology Authors said...


That sounds lovely. I remember sitting in the back of my parents' convertible with my three siblings (in a space way too small for the four of us with the top down, speeding away at 70+ mph. We never worried about it.

Yes, the zombie effect is ever so lovely. o.O

Anthology Authors said...

Oh, I drank out of the hose, too, Christi. I also drank out of the creek. HAHAHA Imagine the conniption fits parents would have nowadays about that. (grin)

Anthology Authors said...

Oh, Jaime, if creeks could talk... (grin) I didn't learn to swim there, but I had a lot of fun in the creek behind my parents' house. Matter of fact, that recent Facebook pic of me floating a creek was the creek I grew up playing in.

My mom thinks I'm overprotective. I imagine I am. I'm on the fence about seatbelts and carseats. My parents didn't believe in life jackets unless we were waterskiing. They said life jackets aren't nearly as good of babysitters than a parent. I happen to agree with them.