...the voice of pensioners

The inter-generational mobile phone.

18 Mar 2020

Dear LPG,


I wonder if my fellow readers agree that there are so many more items that we now take for granted and which make life so much easier than in days gone by?   You have to admit that commodities like slow cookers and automatic washing machines leave us more time to do the things that we want to do, because many of the things that we used to have to do could not have been done by the machines around us. 


I was having this intergenerational chat one day not so long ago with my 23-year-old grandson.

I can’t remember quite how the conversation started but he could not imagine a world without all the gadgets that he so takes for granted.   My grandson commented that he did not understand why older people still took so much more time to do things and qualified his observation by telling me that it is because people like me still do so much the old fashioned way. 


We took travel as an example and he told me that he does not bother with public transport unless he has to.  I took a bit of a trip down memory lane when I thought about the amount of time it took my generation to travel anywhere, but it was accepted as normal.  Few people had cars when I was twenty and we would sit on buses and trains and accept that it was normal, because it was then.   People would sit and look out of the windows and we had much more time to make private personal assessments of our fellow travellers based on what they looked like. 


We did not have the opportunity to communicate or learn on the go and, those of us who did have a phone at home felt privileged, while the ‘bricks’ that passed for mobile phones back then were quite new, heavy, cumbersome and relatively expensive.  Not many people actually had one. 


Since the turn of this century a mobile phone has meant that you do not have to spend commuting time just sitting, and now it is quite normal to see people using the internet to learn, talk, send messages, do research, catch up with a film or television program that they missed and even shop while they travel, although I think I am doing well because I know how to make a call on mine. 


I remember being a youngster who spent that time looking through the windows of the vehicle I was traveling on and also evaluating the world and people around me.  I found the daily commute in the early 1970s was a time to think and rest one’s mind but, when you see all the mobile phone action around you on a bus or train today, I can understand why the people that use them have no time for face-to-face conversation or to give their minds a rest, and I have to say that sometimes being forced by circumstances to not be able to be doing something all the time is not a bad thing.  Perhaps being forced to have nothing to do provoked us to an added period of mental relaxation which, I think, was not such a bad thing.


I am interested to know if any LPG readers have any comments to add to my assessment…


HC, Charlton




HC found a few statistics surrounding the average time that the Nation spends using electronic gismos these days…

(►►►)   (►►►)     (►►►)