Saturday, 24 June 2017

Today's Youth - Same as Yesterday's - Or Not?

I had a coffee catch up yesterday including a wide ranging and interesting conversation.

It was suggested to me the problem with the youth of today is “entertainment”.

The suggestion being there is so much entertainment, so easily accessible, our young people have lost the ability to concentrate. The content of films was also suggested as a problem.

My initial inclination was to agree; however, my tendency is to default to the alternative and this is what I did.

My argument is each generation endures expressions of concern from previous generations.

My Mother was a teenager in the late 30’s, the era when the radio valve became more efficient and cheaper meaning receiving voice and music transmissions in the home was viable for the first time. I have a vague recollection of being told the purchase of the first radio was prompted by a desire to follow the progress of the England to Melbourne Air Race in the mid 1930’s.

However, I am sure there were many other radio shows listened to and I can just imagine my Grandmother referencing the “rubbish” that is on the radio. The valve radio receiver provided far easier access to entertainment than ever before.

My Mother was also an obsessive reader at a time when libraries were booming and books were becoming more affordable. Again, easy access to entertainment and I am sure she would have been subjected to accusations of always having her head buried in a book.

Today, the “App Store” is the library of the past and we talk about our youth always looking at their phone.

One of my most prized possessions is a wind-up Gramophone and collection of shellac coated 78 RPM records. The Gramophone was built by my Grandfather and encased in a Cabinet he designed and built before painstakingly French Polishing it. I suspect his parents would have been concerned about having such trivial entertainment in the home.

My generation was the first Television generation and this new medium was meant to result in the destruction of our minds.

We also had the transistor radio meaning we could listen to our music of choice anytime anywhere. Of course, our music of choice was Rock and Roll, described by some as the Music of The Devil.

The youth of today may be constantly connected via social media. They may have access to music sharing and streaming via their phone and endless video and intranet channels.

Us members of an older generation may express our concern about their constant consumption of what we call mindless entertainment but I wonder if anything is really different to the past.

The concerns are the same, it is just the cause of the concern is different. For my parents, it was the Valve Radio and ease of access to books. For me, it was TV, Transistor Radios and Rock and Roll and for my children it is the smart phone.

Perhaps it is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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