I don't remember how exactly I got on the line of thinking; it just kind of happened.
When I was 10 years old, we didn't have cable TV. Cassettes were the latest and greatest, CDs and even videotape weren't around in any capacity yet, and video games were limited to arcades - certainly not anything in the home. We had radio stations, broadcast TV, and movies in the theater (and 187 years later when they came to broadcast TV).
About the only thing I had that my dad didn't have when he was 10 was cassette tapes. He had broadcast TV, radio, and movies in the theater. While I could go to a video arcade and play Space Invaders, he could go to the soda fountain and play a pinball game - pretty much a wash when it comes to the generations.
Well, my son's 13. Three years ago he was 10. Three years ago, we had a Blu-Ray player, a big-screen TV, MP3 players, OnDemand for movies, etc. Oh, and high-speed internet with pretty much all of recorded human history available at the push of a few buttons. Home computers - unheard of when I was a 10 year old, are so commonplace as to be unworthy of note. TVs are dirt-cheap, and we have literally hundreds of channels to choose from.
We have tiny computers capable of doing our banking, shopping, and basic human interaction living inside the phones we carry around for instant communication. My iPhone can do more than could the communicators in Star Trek - the 1960s vision of humanity many hundreds of years in the future. All of this is so readily available to my son that he thinks nothing of it whatsoever - it's part of the background (that's not to say he's not grateful for the things he has, mind you, just that it has always been a part of his life).
My dad brought home a VCR in the mid 1980s, probably 1983 or 1984. At the time, that was the most dramatic change in family dynamic I had ever seen. We could go to the neighborhood video store (what my son might think of as a giant RedBox), pick out a movie that had only 6 months prior been in the theater, and watch it in the privacy of our own homes. This was earth-shaking.
Friday nights would see us getting a couple pizzas at the local pizza place and renting a movie as a family. From National Lampoon's Vacation to Goonies to Indiana Jones, we watched the latest and greatest from Hollywood in our living room, on our own comfy couch, while eating popcorn we made for pennies. And we thought this was the single greatest thing that humanity had ever devised.
It's just weird that in the thirty years between my father and I, the biggest advance was in how we listened to music, whereas pretty much everything changed in the thirty years between my son and I. Had my father at age 10 been transported to meet me at age 10, not a heck of a lot would have surprised him. Sure, we had more than one TV, and the largest screen was a whopping 19 inches, but the basic device would have been familiar. Ditto the record player. While dad might have puzzled at the cassette tape, the basic concept would be familiar from a reel-to-reel device.
It would certainly be different for 10 year old me being transported 30 years in the future. The iPod Classic, smaller than the FM radio I thought was pure electronic magic in the early 1980s, can hold hundreds of hours of music with exceptional quality. TVs are larger, clearer, and more affordable now. We don't even need recorded movies - we can order them up through our cable TV service to watch literally any time we want. Need to research something for a paper? No need to run to the library and rummage through the card catalog; nossir, we just Google it.
It does make me wonder what my grandson's world is going to look like...
That is all.