10 Technologies Kids Already Don’t Know How to Use


Cassette Tapes

“I know something’s gone wrong here … “ © deyangeorgiev/iStockphoto
“I know something’s gone wrong here … “ © deyangeorgiev/iStockphoto

Many adults today grew up with cassette tapes (among other older audio media), and younger adults grew up consuming their music on CDs. But today's children and teens were born in the age of digital music, which took off not long after the invention of the MP3 in the mid-1990s and the Napster music sharing site's 1999 debut. Now most people consume music through iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon Digital Music store, or online streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. The CD sections of stores have shrunk considerably, and many kids have never even seen a cassette tape. Working with old cassette players is challenging for them: They have to figure out how to insert the tape on the right side to get to the song they want to hear, something you don't even have to think about with CDs or digital music, which allow you to jump right to the song you want to play. With tape, going from one song to another usually required fast forwarding or rewinding and often repeatedly stopping, hitting play and listening until you got to the right point on the tape. Heaven forbid the tape might jam and unspool and have to be wound back into the cassette.

Only having access to the songs on one tape in a cassette player at a given time is a far cry from the situation today, when hundreds or thousands of songs can be instantly accessed on a mobile device, with any other music available through the Internet.

Author's Note: 10 Technologies Kids Already Don't Know How to Use

There's nothing like researching kids' use of technology to realize how old you are. Some of the things on the list that I now use daily seem like they've been around forever, but when I think back, the iPhone really hasn't been with us for much of my life, and we haven't had high-speed WiFi and relatively inexpensive cellular data plans for very long. Those ushered in the age of the touchscreen tablet and constant connectivity, which disrupted and transformed just about all of our gadgets. Now just about everything has downloadable apps and we send all kinds of data to and through our phones, even health data from wearable devices. And I can't imagine life without video streaming. I love all this newfound computing capability, but it's fun to revisit some of the obsolete gadgets of my youth.

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