I REMEMBER WHAT was on the floor of my childhood living room and the highest tech item was a record player. I watch our kids walk and crawl among 21st century gadgets and wonder.
I wonder what it will be like for them to discover the knack of turning over a cassette to play the other side. What it will be like to place a needle in the groove of an album. How they will react when they see needles and dials in their first ride aboard a single engine aircraft. How they will describe the sounds of a modem, a rotary dial phone through its earpiece or a traditional automobile engine's throaty roar through a Holley Four-Barrel carburetor. All those sounds filled my days before I left college.
The sights and sounds on our sitting room floor are from a different era and a different generation. Our 21st century kids learned to comfortably hold our communications devices just like they see their parents and grandparents doing it. They know how to power up our devices and how to unlock some of the screens. Our senior user (5yo) can navigate to the phones' contacts, scroll to images of grandparents, parents and cousins and then call to chat. Mia has done this already when exchanging Christmas greetings and when expressing gratitude for presents. We just watch, knowing the kids are learning by watching.
This is the real world for them, one they navigation by touch and gesture. Sometimes I wonder if they would be amused by the real world of their childhood parents. Other days I wonder if they are so far ahead of us and I hope they let us catch up.
Bernie Goldbach teaches creative multimedia in an Honours Degree Programme for the Limerick Institute of Technology.