The above video from a 1984 episode of Sesame Street titled “What is a computer?” (Link) is an interesting predecessor to the more recent “Kids React to Old Computers“.

Given that the both videos are separated by not only a generation gap, but also the settings in which they were filmed (a classroom and a YouTube channel, respectively) it would be unfair to compare them directly. I would, however, bet good money that if you gave yesterday’s children an iPhone, an iPad, a Surface Tablet, etc. they would take the same amount of time and care to discuss the possibilities and help each other figure out how to use them.

I think we are, all of us, both digital natives and immigrants at the same time – no matter what generation we are – and this expectation we seem to be lumbering upon children that they instinctively “know how technology works” is inexcusable bullshit. Until we reach a point where kids are creating not only the technology, but also the code, privacy rules and EULAs that surround it, they will still need the same instruction and guidance that those of us on the other side of the generation spectrum do. With the underlying tools becoming more accessible to the both generations, we are nearing that point at an increasing pace,
I think the key takeaway between these two samples is this: technology wasn’t so ubiquitous and available in as many forms three decades ago as it is today, and so we had the time to take to understand what purpose it had in our lives. Now, in an age of multiple devices and continuous partial attention, we’re not taking the time to analyse its importance and triviality.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m as into my technology as the next person, but I do often think about this road we’re headed down.