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10 ways the world has changed since you've been in school

>> 3 June 2008

  1. Communication technology: THE change since my school days. I remember having a class where we were taught some very basic DOS language. Now everyone seems to have a pc at home, everyone gets information from and books everything via the internet, everyone communicates via email and cell phones, connections are wireless, blackberrys allow you to be reachable everywhere via GPRS. I'm glad I'm still of the generation that caught this technology bus. My parents have no clue anymore.

  2. Environment: We did not recycle. We wasted water in the summer washing cars, playing under the showering hose in the garden for hours. We had not heard of alternative energies, the Ozone layer, the melting icebergs. Now kids are much more environmentally minded than their parents.
  3. Camera's: Taking pictures was a well thought through procedure. People were put in place for ages until the setup was perfect and one had to wait until everyone smiled before the shot was taken. Goodbye spontaneity. Now taking pictures is FUN. Shooting away when my kids are running around not having to worry about development costs is wonderful. The same goes for filming.
  4. A child's freedom: We were constantly outside, running around in the streets, the woods. The world was a big adventure playground. No one worried about us getting dirty. No one worried about us getting picked up by strangers. We went places alone. Now kids are driven or accompanied everywhere and the media has turned the world into an unsafe place.
  5. Safety: We rode bikes with no helmets. We sat in the back of cars without seat belts or car seats. We swam in our rivers and drank the river's water (this could also fall under my number 2). We played on the streets as there were hardly any cars.

  6. Travel: It used to take hours to get to my grandparents (250 km away). There was no highway. It felt like a trip around the world for which things needed to be planned and prepared a long time in advance. Now one can get everywhere in no time. Driving, but also flying has become very common.
  7. Choice: There used to be one or two brands for each product. You went to the store to buy washing powder and you'd take the one they had. Now your head spins from the choice of boxes and the miracles they offer to perform on your laundry. The same goes for magazines, yoghurt, coffee, cereal... you name it. Europe still has less choices than the USA (thanks for that) - we still have places where, when ordering a coffee, nobody asks you whether you want it small, medium or large, you don't have to specify which syrup or milk you'd enjoy. Coffee is still just plain simple coffee.
  8. Geography and culture: We used to learn about far away countries and cultures without ever having set foot there. We did not know many foreigners, there were no other ethnic communities. People used to live in one place and stay there. Nowadays people move around much more freely and the world has become an interesting melting pot. You can now find international art displayed in small towns where the only claim to fame used to be the yearly fun fair.
  9. Television: When I was in school we had just one or two tv channels of very bad quality. We were allowed to watch a certain amount of time and a selection of programs. Satellite has brought television from every place in the world to every place in the world and at the same time increased the choice of channels. The picture quality might have highly improved, not so the quality of content. Video's with barely dressed, skinny girls wriggling their butts, reality shows competing for the wildest people saying and doing the wildest things on camera, war and violence brought live into your living room, television for babies... When I was in school the only monstrous thing I had seen was Sesame Street's Cookie Monster.

  10. Life: I was young, naive, restless, reckless and careless. I could party till dawn and sleep until noon. I could decide to travel, move, change my life on the spur of the moment. I only had myself to take care of. Now I am older, hopefully a bit wiser, much more peaceful, at ease with myself (mind and body), a wife to a very special man, a mother to two gorgeous boys and much, so much happier. I wouldn't want to go back to school, not for anything in the world :-)


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