Teens have liked gadgets since Flintstones
By Bill Kirby | Columnist
Friday, January 22, 2010

Young people need models, not critics.

-- Coach John Wooden

Gidget's got gadgets.

Yes, a new study suggests today's teenagers spend far too much time with technology: Cell phones and iPods and computers and music and videos and TV. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day -- more than 53 hours a week.

And I say, "So what?"

We would have, too, but we didn't have that stuff.

We had TV, of course, and I watched way too much of it. Today they think of it as "classic," but the truth is there were only four basic Bonanza plots, three variations of I Love Lucy , and two different Star Trek scenarios: Kirk in trouble; crew saves him. Crew in trouble; Kirk saves them.

We didn't have cell phones or even portable phones, but we had phones. Usually I favored the one mounted on the kitchen wall because it had the really long cord that you could stretch into the dining room for privacy.

We also had record players that played the same album side over and over.

You accomplished this technological marvel by leaving the arm up on the Hi-Fi so that the needle would eventually get to the end, raise itself up and return to the beginning of the album.

We did this for hours. Often while we talked on the phone and watched TV.

So, kids, if your folks complain about you spending too much time on Facebook or texting or talking on the phone, be polite and respectful and know that they did it, too.

In an old-fashioned sort of way.

Looking back, it reminds me of the Flintstones.

TODAY'S JOKE: Here's one from Charlie Williams.

A teacher gave her fifth-grade class an assignment: Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it.

The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories, including little James.

"Yes, my daddy told me this story about my Aunt Karen," he said. "Aunt Karen was a flight engineer in the Gulf War and her plane was hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory, and all she had was a bottle of whiskey, a machine gun and a machete. She drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn't break and then she landed right in the middle of a hundred enemy troops."

The teacher sat in stunned silence, unable to tell the child to stop, so he continued.

"Well, she killed 70 of them with the machine gun until she ran out of bullets. Then she killed 20 more with the machete until the blade broke. Then she killed the last 10 with her bare hands."

"Good heavens," said the horrified teacher, "what kind of moral did your father tell you from that horrible story?"

Little James smiled, and said, "Stay away from Aunt Karen when she's been drinking!"

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.

From the Friday, January 22, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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