I was listening to the Rickey Smiling Morning Show on the radio going to work yesterday & they had Lil’ Boosie on the show giving an interview since his release from a 4 year bid in prison recently. One of the statements Lil’ Boosie said that caught my attention was how he was fascinated with how much technology had changed since his time of being locked up. He stated he was amazed with how people could Facetime each other on iPhones or conduct video chats via any other smart phones. He also stated how that before he got sent to prison the only social networks that were popular were Facebook & MySpace. Since his release back into freedom, he is now playing catch up on all the various social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, & Google+. Anyways, his statement got me to thinking about my childhood & teenage years in how virutally no internet existed for consumer use until about the early to mid 90s. Further, I have a 7 year old son; looking at my son’s life in a world immersed in digital media compared to mines when I was 7 years old…I don’t think my son would survive.
My World At The Age of 7
Back in the 80s when I was a lil git (Florida slang), I spent damn near every waking minute I could playing outside. From playing basketball & football in the streets, racing my bike all over the neighborhood, playing hide & go get it, swimming, man hunt, rock fights, nigga-knocking…you name it, I probably did it. The only time I voluntarily went inside my house was to eat a snack, drink water, or find a new toy/ball to bring back outside. Staying inside the house was complete torture. Sure I had my toys to entertain me, but nothing compared to be outside acting a complete ass with my friends. If you weren’t outside on the block cutting up with your buddies, you probably messed up and was put on punishment AND EVERYONE KNEW IT! My childhood nickname was GW. So when GW wasn’t at the park playing ball or whatever, it was already assumed my mom or dad got in my ass and grounded me. To add to the shame & embarrassment of not being allowed to play outside, some of my friends would purposely come by the house to ask if I can come out. When my mom would say no cause I’m grounded, some of them would go the window outside of my room and toss rocks at my window to get my attention so they could point & laugh. But it’s all good, cause when their asses were on lock down, I proudly returned the favor.
As a child of the 80s, I was a part of the first generation of kids to become introduced video games. I had an Atari, Nintendo, Gameboy, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Neo Geo, Nintendo 64….I had all that shit. But even though I had all of these gaming systems growing up, I never became addicted to them to the point where I would spend every waking minute of the day glued to a television monitor with a controlloer in my hands. One of the most popular games when I was about 10 or 11 was Street Fighter. If you weren’t playing Street Fighter as a kid back in those days, you weren’t shit. You were probably the kid that didn’t have any friends who spent all his time wandering through the woods alone or something. EVERYBODY WAS PLAYING STREET FIGHTER. But here’s the thing: even though we all were playing Street Fighter, none of us played the game religiously to the point where we were going to sacrifice a game of basketball on the court or football in the streets. Video games & electronics just were not THAT popular to where they trumped outdoor activities. If the sun was up and weather was nice, kids were outside getting it in plain & simple. Life was great!
My Son’s World At Age 7
Nintendo Wii, XBox, iPad, & MacBooks. I’m to blame, I know it. I bought all that stuff. Do I feel bad for buying it? No. I had similar stuff growing up, so he can too. But here’s the difference…kids USED to play outside. I don’t care what neighborhood I go to or live in, I hardly ever see kids just outside playing. I like to think that I live in fairly good neighborhood & yet I still do not see children outside to the frequency I used to play outside. Take my neighborhood now, when I get up to drive to work in the morning I see all of these kids standing around waiting for the school bus to pick them up, but on the weekends when I’m out & about, I never see any of these kids hanging out or just riding their bikes. Pretty much, all of these kids are more than likely attached to a video game console of some sort. Parents are not really kicking kids out of the house like they used to…and for some understandable reasons I do get…like child predators roaming around. With my son, if I’m not vigilant in monitoring his TV & video game habits, this lil dude will literally sit & play video games or watch Spongebob all day long. Crazy, there used to a kid his age that lived across the street. My son & this other kid would either come to my house or go to the other kid’s house and essentially play games. Smh.
Now, understand, I do attempt to take my kid to a local park to get his play on with other kids & I was actively having him play sports for a while (but thanks to the demands of my job…that kind of fell off). Basketball season is approaching I believe, so he will be playing that whether he wants to or not.
Anyways, this was just a quick blurb I decided to put together upon hearing Lil’ Boosie reflect to what life was like just 4 years ago. Just imagine, if things have become so radically different in just 4 years, imagine what may be in store in the next 4 years. We already have Google Glass which is a technology that basically puts a computer with wifi & cell phone capabilites in a set of eye glasses. Imagine when those things really catch on what life will be like for the kids of today & tomorrow growing up in this culture. Pretty soon, going outside is going to just be a thing of the past. No more having your ass home when the street lights come on. It’ll be “put the electronics down by the time dinner is ready”…yet I doubt that cause people will be at the dinner table getting their Facebook & Twitter on…mom, dad, kids included.
Random thought: getting your nasty time in probably already involves the use of electronics too…