Journal: News & Comment

Thursday, April 25, 2002
# 12:01:00 AM:

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Generation gapless

Doc Searls writes a great weblog (to be honest, I find many of the links I put in my blog while reading his). One of Doc's recent entries discusses a conversation he had with his five-year-old son about a tadpole.

When confronted with the strong possibility that the tadpole would die, the boy said to his dad, as a way to find a solution, "Look on Google."

My oldest daughter is four, and may very well make the same sort of suggestion within the year. She already knows what a Web site is, how to turn on a PC or Mac, how to run a browser, and how to insert and play a CD-ROM game. Not only did I not know how to do those things at age four -- those things didn't even exist to be known.

I've wondered too whether my kids' generation is the first to lust after the same toys -- because of the same commercials, sometimes -- as its parents (us) did. My mom and dad certainly had no Star Wars toys or Sesame Street activity books, so they felt no nostalgia when, seduced by advertising, I wanted those things. But my daughters are watching Toucan Sam and Sugar Bear in the cereal commercials just as I did, ogling the same plastic Hot Wheels track as my friends used to have, and even resurrecting my wife's and my old 1970s R2-D2 and Barbie dolls -- not as cool retro toys, but as versions of the things they recognize in stores today.

Nevertheless, I'm inevitably destined to be hopelessly uncool in some way once my girls are teenagers. That's as it must be.


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