Did tech just make growing up boring

Did tech just make growing up boring?

Remember when you were a kid and your mom handed over tuckshop money because she had woken up late or just really didn’t feel like packing your lunch? As a chubby child I clearly remember begging and borrowing my way to a few R1 coins so I could purchase Astros from the vending machines and hide them in my blazer pockets to be snacked on in class – because my mom’s way of helping me lose weight was to cut sugar from my lunches.

I may have also occasionally “lost” the field trip money she handed over that was meant to be supplied to the teacher. Hell, while we’re reminiscing I also clearly remember having to beg and sob to get my first cellphone. While all my friends bragged expensive Nokia 3310 devices I had to settle for a much cheaper Alcatel. I thought I was so fancy. It actually scares me how much times have changed since then.

Hi mom

Did tech just make growing up boring

Before my mother finally relented and handed over a cellphone I used to have a call card. I could use it for the pay phone at school to remind my mom that emergency netball practice had been called (more like chubby Sam desperately trying to be cool and just hang out after school with her friends). Also, if you went to a mall you could walk around with your friends while your mom (see: my mom) hovered a few paces behind remaining inconspicuous but sticking around to ensure you didn’t wonder off to the skate ramp upstairs.

Things have changed

Did tech just make growing up boring

To start with, sneaky Astros are a thing of the past. Did you know there is a now an app you can use to pay for school events such as trips or civvies days? Created in South Africa, The Karri Payment Solution App basically allows parents to click a button and send money to their child’s school. It also has options to have calendar reminders pop up and for you to track event payments. While the app is powered by a South African bank it can be used no matter who you bank with. RIP Astros.

I remember having this friend in Grade 9 who I thought was so damn cool because her mom fetched her late and she spent her afternoons walking around the neighbourhood of our school visiting cute boys whose parents weren’t home. I also remember how awful it was when she got mugged on her way back to school late one afternoon. There was absolute panic from her mom who phoned all her parents after she couldn’t find her daughter. Of course she wasn’t aware that she had left the school premises.

That’s a thing of the past too!

Did tech just make growing up boring

The Alcatel Movetime Track and Talk Watch arrived for me to test out a few weeks ago and, if I’m honest, I was kind of creeped out. It is a wearable for kids that basically allows parents to track their kids. Seriously, it has a GPS locator and can also notify parents when their kids enter or leave a pre-set “safe zone”. In the case of my friend from school, it makes and could have assisted in stopping a really awful turn of events but I’m also on the fence about tracking your child’s every move. Maybe because I’m not a parent? The watch operates with a Nano SIM and also has call and voice message capabilities. As a parent you’re able to load 10 contacts and then select 5 numbers that your child is allowed to call via the watch. Again, great for emergencies but not so great if your mom is a bit clingy. The watch costs R899 and if you need some help setting it up this might be a good place to start.

When I first got that cellphone I remember having to hide it in class if I wanted to text my friends. It was a special skill. First I’d drape my blazer over my knees and drop my phone on my lap. Then if one wished to text you’d do so under said blazer. Long have those days past – now you will literally have your wrist vibrating during class when your mom tries to ring you. I wonder how schools deal with that?

I’m not a parent so I’m probably the worst person to weigh in here but, has growing up had the fun sucked out of it by all this technology? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.






  • Reply Carla May 25, 2017 at 08:16

    I think the payment app is great because money disappears from blazers and anything that makes it possible for a scatterbrain like me not to have to drive up and down to school delivering money/lunch is a bonus. The tracker thing is for helicopter parents, I’m not one so wouldn’t use it. Doubt it would last long with kids anyway, kids will lose that baby in weeks. If they are too young to look after a phone then they shouldn’t have one, mine only got decent phones a little while ago, they are 16, before that they dropped/lost/ broke several el cheapo cell phones.

  • Reply Karen Muller May 25, 2017 at 11:17

    My first phone was an Alcatel One Touch Easy. The payment app is great because my kid forgets to bring home notices and I forget to pay them. The watch would be great as we work all day and my daughter is only 6 years old.

  • Reply Lynette Hundermark May 25, 2017 at 21:46

    To a point it has. Technology is great but I do believe that it’s slowly taking away the human element and emotional connection that one has with tangible things and we are parents need to have control of that with the young generations. Look the world has been slowly getting there unfortunately. I for one find that my kids will never know the real value of money as they are used to me paying for things on my credit card or using snapscan (because I find it easier to control that cash and seldom have time to go to an ATM) so that is what they are used to , and I’m to blame for that. I do try and encourage them to use cash though so like giving them tuck shop money and still doing the tooth fairy thing because I’ve found that physically counting money helped them with the money concepts at school. Even with all the apps out there, teaching or revising basic math principles were much better going back to old school ways of using counters (or in our case lego) of adding and removing things. I have specifically not allowed my kids to have phones yet (which is something coming from me as working on phones is part of my life) because I don’t want them to get into that mentality of texting at such a young age and also getting into that “what phone do you have” mindset which I see it out there – there is a time for that. They have asked me loads of times as apparently all of their friends have phones apart from them , to which I say , a phone serves the purpose of making phone calls in their lives and they never need to call anyone, if they do then they are always with an adult whom they can ask (they are 9 and 11 for crying out loud). Also My kids are not technology deprived at all , they love gaming and have access to pretty much everything game related and have been using iPads since it was launched (thanks to moms cool job) so a phone and using apps to do tasks they need to get the fundamentals right as human beings first is what I’m trying to encourage. As much as I love technology and it’s uses I am a firm believer and advocator that technology must be always seen as a supplement to ones life/tasks and not be a replacement. Yesterday my son had to do a presentation at school and he told me that he was the only one who did it using a traditional poster and pictures (he created a physical storyboard) whereas everyone else used PowerPoint! I told him son, you will have many years where you will be using PowerPoint (and will hate it) and we will get there, but enjoy this process of creating with your hands until you get tired of it. He still got 5/5 for the project too! 🙂

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