Sandra Dick: Technology too fast for our wallets

Have your say

TWO kids, two birthdays in the space of eight days. September is an expensive month in my house.

Now fully teched up with their tablets, laptops, Xboxes, mobile phones, Nintendo DS consoles and PS Vitas – not all recent gifts and most second hand, should you think I’m the latest Euro millionaire – they now have enough gadgets to keep them occupied until retirement.

Of course, in their eyes there’s always room for more.

Last week Apple introduced the new iPhone 6, bigger, better and more expensive than the rest, it’ll be the next ‘I need’ item on their wish list (they will, however, be disappointed on that front).

And it’s not that long since Xbox made parents weep when they released Xbox One which – in a callous act of sheer evil – refuses to play the hundreds of pounds worth of Xbox 360 games which litter the bedroom floor.

This relentless march of entertainment technology means my kids barely have time to fall in and out of love with their latest gadget before it’s on to the next.

Yet each seems to me to do pretty much what the last one did, only a bit clearer, a bit faster, a bit dearer.

This Spotify generation is a world away from my childhood, when music technology consisted of a Grundig cassette recorder wired to a transistor radio and hinged on how quickly I could move from candlewick bedspread to flick ‘record and play’ simultaneously.

They could never understand the thrill of chucking away your granny’s old Dansette mono record player and finally hearing your favourite vinyl in glorious stereophonic sound.

Or the delight when your parents finally secured a video machine from Radio Rentals and you could actually record Top of the Pops to watch over and over.

When their technology moves so fast, how could they relate to the life-changing arrival of the Sony Discman, instantly wiping out the dreary chore of transferring CDs to tape to play on your Walkman?

Or the ensuing disappointment when it became clear that moving while listening resulted in a sequence of skipped songs and, sometimes, pure silence.

A recent survey of British parents carried out by Disney recently revealed what middle-aged people most regret their children will never experience.

It included things such as waiting for a roll of film to be developed – a chore that perfectly combined thrilling anticipation with deep disappointment – and gathering around the television to watch Top of the Pops.

When I was young, technological progress really did feel like a giant leap into Tomorrow’s World.

Thirty years from now, I wonder if our kids’ most nostalgic memories will be of their parents telling them about the good old days?