@johnjohnston You and @canion both mention not being able to recognize your childhood experiences in those of today’s children. I’ve found topics like this fascinating, and I wonder if there aren’t occasionally points of disruption in history where things that had perhaps previously been moving/evolving slowly along a continuum suffer an abrupt break.
My great-grandparents grew up in the horse-and-buggy age and lived into the space age (as their 50th anniversary cake features), but sometime in that period, two adjacent generations’ childhoods no longer resembled each other in large ways—I think it’s between my grandparents’ (all of whom spent time as children on the family farm) and my parents’ (whose childhoods were small town/suburban, and postwar). The automobile was always part of my parents’ lives, ubiquitous even, but it was technology that would have appeared in my grandparents’ lives as they grew up.
Similarly, there are significant continuities between my parents’ and my childhoods; though you do start to see the creep of communication-ish technology like (more) TV, more (telephone), and video games into mine, the big things, outdoor play, freedom (being called home for dinner by voice from across the neighborhood!), and the like are the same. But now, it seems, my generation’s children are always supervised (except when they’re given the iPad to give parents a break), mostly inside, and have computer technology for toys…(I have no children, and I don’t teach them, so this is just from my limited observation of friends and family…may not be a good sample). Personal computers—and even tiny, portable, intensely personal computers—and ubiquitous communication have always been a part of their lives; it feels like there’s been another significant break again.
I’m not sure if this makes any sense or not, but the fact that both of you mentioned this disconnect (and also the loss of the large role of the outside/natural world) got me thinking….