I hope to have established in my previous blog, that by the end of the 1980’s many British families had at least one T.V set, possibly a VCR and a stereo placed in various areas throughout the house. Independent living areas were gaining importance in British homes, enabling children and parents alike to have their own private space. Each bedroom could become a private multi-media haven, establishing a somewhat parent free zone for teens. I recollect my own room cramped up with a single bed, stereo and black and white T.V, a digital alarm clock and dozens of tapes containing the top 40 hits! (And walls full of Mr Bowie).
The dynamics of family life were changing. The teen was gaining momentum as an independent individual, utilizing popular culture and media to achieve and create their own personality. They no longer required the centrality of the living room for the purpose of using media, for they had their own and ultimately parents were beginning to question whether they were indeed still living at home!
The 20th century witnessed the origins of technological control within the family. The days of Father controlling the T.V and radio were firmly buried in the past and the dynamics were shifting towards technology as a social control. Although parents could understand the use of technology, when fused with popular culture it began to create a widening generational gap, which often resulted in a division of communication between the age-groups.
Naturally, this would lead to disruptions and arguments, but was this dependent on the parents and their sense of inadequacy? Maybe, the parents felt that they were in fact, losing control over their offspring? I guess it was a culmination of different factors. Yet I also feel that the divide was a liberating factor for the child, whilst proving a loss to the parent. As a parent myself, I can understand the loss approach, we want to interact with our little darlings and make sure they are safe, well and happy. Being ignored or replaced with any type of media is a hurtful feeling and somewhat diminishes our role in their lives and I guess for parents in the late 20th century, it held absolutely no difference.
The 21st Century.
The late 1990s proved a turning point for the culmination of technology and society, with the introduction of the mobile phone. We no longer had to rummage for a 10p piece to keep in touch whilst we were on the move. Huge numbers of adults purchased a basic mobile so they could check in with both family and work and although initially expensive, they formed the basis of mobile technology as we know and love it today. It was however, (just like the introduction of the T.V) classed as a “fad”, an expensive luxury and not a necessity for every day life. Yet the growth of the device throughout the late 20th century and into that of the 21st, proved critics (and older generations) completely wrong .
The internet and World Wide Web, although used in business and the commercial world daily, only began to infiltrate into the family home in the early 2000’s. The last ten years, for example, has witnessed a huge rise in the use of mobile data and personal internet use, which has risen a staggering 57% from 2006-2014 in British households. If parents thought they were competing for their kids attention in the 80s against the humble stereo, how do we as parents, feel in the 21st century against such a vast number of media platforms?
Throw social media into the mix and there you have it…. the great divide. A new social system, in which you either adjust and adapt, or be left behind.
In theory, are our children, through the use of social media and advanced technology, advancing way beyond our understanding? ….
Yes they are !
Is it the demise of family time as we once knew it? ….
Yes it is!
Can family life be re-constructed in a new and innovative way, so we may once again interact and participate with our children?
Yes! Yes it can!!
In my next blog I shall discuss the devils that be known as the internet and World Wide Web and the positives that accompany them with regard to childhood and family life. Do not be too afraid, for your interaction and re-construction has already begun. You are reading a blog through a computerized device which is running on the internet accessed through the World Wide Web………you’re half way there already………
1 Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)https://www.flickr.com /mediodescocido/7502371860.
2.https://pixabay.com/en/star-wars-stormtroopers-toys-dolls-899694/. Thanks to: aldobarquin for the use of the image.CC0 Public Domain.Free for commercial use. No attribution required.
3. https://pixabay.com/en/phone-cell-cell-phone-cellphone- 690091/. Thanks to: unsplash for the use of the image. CC0 Public Domain. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.