Before Cell Phones….Really?When the first usable cell phone was introduced, its main purpose was for communication between two people without the cumbersome attachment to a phone cord.
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Cell phone use today is at an all-time high. When the first usable cell phone was introduced, its main purpose was for communication between two people without the cumbersome attachment to a phone cord. These devices offered the freedom of carrying on a conversation without having to wait until a person was at home or in the office. The first cell phones were huge in size compared to what is currently used—weighing over a kilogram and measuring 23 cm long, 13 cm deep and almost 4 ½ cm wide.
Modern cell phones not only make it possible to talk to others any time or place, they are much smaller, and they give users access to a wealth of information through the use of the internet. In addition to actually talking on a cell phone, texting has become a primary mode of many conversations, and social media allows people to instantly see pictures and posts of their friend’s activities.
While it is probably hard for anyone to imagine life without cell phone access, there are a few things today’s youth may never have the “luxury” of experiencing. For those people who are well into adulthood, this list might bring back some fond memories.
1) Getting Lost. With today’s GPS devices, Google Maps, and the variety of other means available to help a person map out their trips, getting lost is virtually a thing of the past. Once upon a time getting lost could be exceptionally frustrating, especially when trying to get somewhere on time. But the wondrous part about getting lost was the opportunity to find all kinds of new things, new places, and strange adventures while trying to find one’s way.
2) Being Able to Disappear. Perhaps one doesn’t want to answer work emails when “off the clock” or maybe they just want some time to themselves. Modern technology has made it seem that everyone is always available. Before smartphones, there was no expectation to respond immediately to every single message one received. If someone wanted to reach another person, they could leave a message on the answering machine and not expect a call back until the person they called had the free time. Now, there’s no such thing as free time because everyone expects an immediate response—no matter the time or the day.
3) Having to Be on Time. Before everyone had cell phones, people had to actually be on time when they went places. If one wasn’t on time, they missed an appointment, a meeting, or an important personal encounter. There was no texting to say, “sry. running late. b there in 15.” There was a window of roughly 30 minutes, and if they didn’t show up, they were ditched.
4) Enjoying Concerts. People used to go to concerts to actually watch the performance with their eyes and not through their cellphones. No telling how much of the concert is missed because of texting friends to tell them about where they are—not to mention taking time to put the pictures of themselves on social media. Some even record the concert and only see the actual performers through the lens of their phones! Going to a concert or a movie and just enjoying it without having to report and record is something a lot of today’s young people might not understand.
5) Eating Meals in Peace. While sitting in a restaurant, look around at how many phones are actually seen lying on the tables. Roughly 90% of people eating dinner at a restaurant will use their cell phone for one thing or another during the course of the meal. There was a time when it was irritating for the phone to ring while dinner was going on. Now it seems a meal cannot be had without the phone on the table. People are no longer upset by the phone call or text interrupting the meal. In fact, they are expecting someone to contact them.
6) Using a “Real” Camera. Today’s phones are also today’s cameras. Rarely is a picture taken using a real camera—especially by the younger generation. Kids today might not ever know the joy of taking a picture with a camera and the anticipation of waiting for them to be developed.
7) The Excitement of the Answering Machine. There is something to say for the delayed gratification that existed before the smartphone era. People went about their day doing all the things they needed to do, and it wasn’t until they got home that they’d check their answering machine to see who’d called. The little flutter of anticipation was exciting when the red blinking light said there had been a caller. It was also crushing, though not surprising, when there was no blinking light. What…a day with no calls? Today’s youth may never experience that phenomenon!
We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at email@example.com.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge. You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email email@example.com.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal
By Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
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materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
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The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.