By Hannah Gambrell
Saturday mornings as a young child, I recall getting up as early as 7 o’clock to watch the featured cartoons shown on the regular 3,9, and 12 channels that everyone has. We did not have cable, so any chance I got at watching television shows I actually enjoyed, I was all about it.
Media in my life started at the early age of 7 years old in front of the TV every Saturday morning. I loved watching TV, renting movies at our local Blockbuster, playing the classic Disney Channel games online, and buying Webkins to take care of and raise on my virtual farm. Of course, I grew out of those things, but I had my first cell phone by middle school and my first smart phone by 8th grade, which basically gave me access to all media.
I have quite young parents, but the way they grew up with media was much different from the way I did. My mom did not even have her own personal cell phone until she was in the 11th grade, nor did my dad. As they were growing up, most of their memories came from things like radio and VHS. Neither of my parents grew up with the luxuries of cable, having a laptop, or having phone access, other than the landline in their home or a payphone.
I recently spoke with my grandfather, mom, and aunt about not having cell phones. It was so wild to me to think about them not waking up every morning and checking their phones for missed calls, text, or just goofing around on Facebook or Instagram.
I was concerned about the way they were so media neglected, but to them, it never seemed to be an issue or cause any problems in their everyday life. If they wanted to know about something going on in the world, they simply waited to get home and watch the evening news or turned on the radio in their car to see what had happened during the day as they were at work. Media was definitely not as prominent then as it is now, or when I was younger.
Today, their lives are so deeply intertwined with media that almost every child I know between the ages of 3 and 15 all own at least some sort of device that gives them access to all forms of media. It is hard to even go into public now and not see a younger child with either a smart phone or a iPad to keep them entertained. This is much different from how past generations have grown up and learned to keep themselves entertained.
I remember bringing things like a book, coloring crayons, a Gameboy, and things like that. Now if you gave a kid who has grown up with so much access to media, a coloring book would not keep them occupied.
Almost everyone owns some sort of smart device now that gives them unlimited access to social media, internet, news, and more. Media will continue to change in the lives of the people for decades to come. Media is always evolving, giving people more access to entertainment and information. It will be interesting to see how my children interact with media someday.