From penny press to Snapchat: Parents fret through the age

Published: 04th September 2018 01:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2018 02:14 PM  

'It almost seems like an addiction,' said Dennis, a retired homebuilder who lives in Bellevue, Washington. 'In the old days you had a computer and you had a TV and you had a phone but none of them were linked to the outside world but the phone. You didn't have this omnipresence of technology.' In this Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, photo, Kathy and Steve Dennis pull off the cover of their 1980's-era Apple II+ computer bought for their then young sons in Bellevue, Wash. | Associated Press
Today's grandparents may have fond memories of the 'good old days,' but history tells us that adults have worried about their kids' fascination with new-fangled entertainment and technology since the days of dime novels, radio, the first comic books and rock n' roll. In this July 29, 1983, file photo Ben Ho plays 'Dragon's Lair', a new video game at Captain Video arcade in West Los Angeles. | Associated Press
True, the anxieties these days seem particularly acute — as, of course, they always have. Smartphones have a highly customized, 24/7 presence in our lives that feeds parental fears of antisocial behavior and stranger danger. IN PIC: American model Martha Hunt uses a smartphone photograph herself at backstage before the Victoria's Secret fashion show inside the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China. (Photo | AP)
What hasn't changed, though, is a general parental dread of what kids are doing out of sight. In previous generations, this often meant kids wandering around on their own or sneaking out at night to drink. These days, it might mean hiding in their bedroom, chatting with strangers online. Less than a century ago, the radio sparked similar fears. In this Nov. 20, 1990, file photo teenagers at the Singing River Mall in Gautier, Miss., use the additional phones outside the movie theater. | Associated Press
Initially, the internet — touted as an 'information superhighway' that could connect kids to the world's knowledge — got a similar pass for helping with homework and research. Yet as the internet began linking people together, often in ways that connected previously isolated people, familiar concerns soon resurfaced. In this July 29, 1980, file photo, Greg Berman, 12, of Santa Barbara, Calif., sits at computer console at California Computer Camp near Santa Barbara. Today’s grandparents may have fond memories of the “good old days,” but history tells us that adults have worried about their kids’ fascination with new-fangled entertainment and technology since the days of dime novels, radio, the first comic books and rock n’ roll. | Associated Press
Sheila Azzara, a grandmother of 12 in Fallbrook, California, remembers learning about AOL chatrooms in the early 1990s and finding them 'kind of a hostile place.' Teens with more permissive parents who came of age in the '90s might remember these chatrooms as places a 17-year-old girl could pretend to be a 40-year-old man (and vice versa), and talk about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll (or more mundane topics such as current events). Kathy and Steve Dennis display several of their own cell phones and computer tablets along with their 1980's-era Apple II+ computer bought for their then young sons in Bellevue, Wash. | Associated Press
In this Oct. 5, 1980, file photo, Nancy Armstrong, a teacher at the Marshall elementary school in Harrisburg, Pa., assists her students in the use of computers to aid them in their studies. | Associated Press
In this Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, photo, Kathy and Steve Dennis pose with a photo they took of some of their grandchildren and their phones, in Bellevue, Wash. | Associated Press
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