That 80’s Life
A Different Time
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. I don’t remember us having a real term other than “Pre-Teen.”
I went to Roosevelt Middle School in San Francisco, CA and lived approximately 1 mile away from the school. After school, when I didn’t have gymnastics practice, my friends and I had a routine. We walked home as slowly as possible. We talked and we laughed.
We would walk through the upstairs section of Sears on Geary Blvd., buy freshly popped popcorn and a lemonade. If one person did not have money for popcorn, we always shared. We’d walk, snack and laugh as we rode the escalator to the first floor. Then we’d go our separate ways. Some would return to the neighborhood from where I recently moved, some would walk my way. On a good day we may have gone to each other’s houses, it all depended on certain factors: homework completion, restriction or not, or if it was a Friday, which pretty much assured additional play time.
During than hour long walk, we had a few key experiences.
- Social time
It was daily bliss.
Now as an adult, with my own Tween child I take notice of the change in times. There are days where everywhere I go, I see children on their cell phones. They’re walking together, faces down on cell phones. I see them outside restaurants or coffee shops in groups, faces down on cell phones. I’ve even seen groups of children, tweens and teens hanging out in a park, faces down on cell phones. Sometimes I really do feel like I’m walking through a “Zombie Apocalypse,” where children everywhere are walking aimlessly controlled by this little hand held device.
I often take my son and one of his buddies out. Sometimes he goes over one of his friend’s house. They have their screen time, but the other parent and I make sure that they have outdoor time. We’re both 80’s Folks.
Recently I took my son and his buddy to the beach. They laughed, they played, and they talked “trash” to each other. Mostly, they got fresh air, exercise, social interaction time away from devices, and plenty of laughter.
This article is not a judgment, we parents do what we can with what we have. We are raising children during a time of immense technological advances, where tech has become this “necessary evil,” according to a friend of mine. We want our children to grow with the world and not have to feel left out or “weird,” because their parents keep them away from technology. I do believe it is necessary to keep them abreast of current times, including the rapidly growing tech industry. I also strongly believe in the importance of balance.
The 80’s were not a perfect time, especially where I lived. I’m just doing my part to make sure that my son keeps up with what’s current, while offering a balanced lifestyle away from the screen.
Thank you for reading!