I’m so jealous of you!”
That was me speaking, not my teen. We signed up for a music-subscription service and within minutes, she had all the latest hits on her iPhone playlist. I was in awe but also jealous of her easy access to music. As a teen growing up in the 1980s, I would have loved to have had the ability to listen to a song of my choosing within seconds. Even though technology can have its downfalls, I’m envious of all the ways my teen will have it better than I did growing up:
As you can see, it was a cumbersome, elaborate process, and by the time you were done making a mixtape, you were sick of most of the songs and ready to make another one.
My teen now: Within seconds, she downloads 20 songs onto a playlist on her phone which she can bring with her anywhere. If she becomes tired of a song, clicking delete will eliminate it instantly, or she can simply hit “next” to forward to the next song without waiting for the tape to move along or without trying to figure out how long to fast forward until the song is over.
My teen now: A quick Google search reveals more than 100 different links related to her research topic. She then types up her paper in a Google Doc using spellcheck — although, unlike her mother (more like her grandmother), she is an incredible speller and doesn’t even need it.
My teen now: She sends a quick text from her phone, “Please pick me up now,” without needing any quarters or searching for a pay phone, or using the “collect call” trick.
My teen now: Everyone in the house has their own phone line and can easily make unlimited phone calls (or Facetime) anywhere in the country without paying additional fees. She hardly ever makes “real” phone calls though — she mostly uses text messages or social media. I doubt she has ever heard a “busy signal” or understands how great it was when “call waiting” was introduced. (She probably doesn’t even know what that is either.)
My teen now: She snaps pictures of her friends, her sister, or the wall without costing anything, and gets to see it instantly.
• • •
The next time your teen says, “I’m bored,” you can wow her with your stories about how you created mixtapes, needed a pay phone to call home, or used a library card catalog. I recently did this with my niece who said, “I know, and you didn’t even have electricity!” which made me laugh, since she really thought that was true.
If nothing else, it will ensure you don’t hear the phrase, “I’m bored,” ever again.
Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. The married mother of three has been published in Parents Magazine, Upworthy, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings,” and Twins Magazine. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05