Generation gap may be widened when dealing with technology

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, July 20, 2019


Contributing columnist

Recently, it has come to my attention that I am old. I don’t know how this has happened. I don’t feel old. In fact, I feel like a wiser version of my 21-year-old self still.

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If you spend any time at all around a teenager, it will become quite apparent that the generation gap is alive and well. I find this to be true because I don’t understand the thinking, much less the actions of many of the young people today. The teenagers today have never lived in a world that didn’t have the internet where they couldn’t just Google anything at any time. There doesn’t seem to be an ability to appreciate waiting on something. When I was that age, if I wanted information on a subject, then I went to the library. I looked up the books I wanted, and I had to research through several books to find out what I wanted to know. Today, a quick Google search will lay the world at their feet. If I wanted to look up someone’s phone number, I would drag out the phone book and thumb my way through until I found the person I was looking for. Today, the young person can enter my name in their phone and know everything about me — including who is related to me, and probably what I had for supper last night. I have always been slow to change. In fact, I held onto my flip phone so long that when I pulled it out people would stare and point at me as if I had pulled out the old giant cell phone from the 80s that was as big as a loaf of bread. I grew up with a rotary phone that was on the party line. You couldn’t just use the phone whenever you felt like it. You had to share the line with at least two of your neighbors. Now, everyone you know is programed into your phone and with a push of a button, you can call anyone at any time, anywhere around the world. Problem is that I don’t ever need to call anyone at any time around the world. I pull out my new smart phone and it wants to do everything except make a phone call.

Kids today can binge watch entire seasons of shows in a single night and have access to virtually any program at any time of the day, or night. At that age, I was content with three channels and had to get up every time I turned the channel to adjust the antenna in order to bring in a clear picture. One of the main differences between the generations is what passes for good entertainment. Gone are the days of good music. To be honest, I cannot listen to anything that was made past 1995. What passes for talent these days is very different from the songwriting genius of artists from the 1970s and 80s. I rarely can go to the movies because there is nothing worth my time to see. I have never been a fan of superheroes, or science fiction, so that takes care of 99 percent of the modern movie selection. It is not unusual for me to turn on the TV, scroll through 250 channels, and find absolutely nothing to watch. I have to laugh to myself when I think about what my teenager self would have done with that many channels. It seems the generation gap is alive and well. Now, excuse me I have to go binge watch The Andy Griffith Show.

Jack Godbey is a resident of Danville and is a published author and historian.