I had a real eye-opener yesterday as to the way technology – much like fashion – can go full-circle, jump through a digital hoop and land straight back in our laps… Literally in this case.
Let me explain:
I was out on a day trip with my daughter’s choir, which is a group of children aged between 6 and 11. During lunch, one of them pulled out an Etch-a-Sketch – you remember, the classic 1970’s toy on which the manufacturers claimed you could draw the Mona Lisa, but in reality all any mere mortal could achieve was a set of uninspiring straight lines and perhaps a squiggly tree if you were exceptionally talented.
Nevertheless (and putting bitter Etch-a-Sketch memories aside), I was amazed to see the rest of the choir crowding around a girl who was playing with this very same toy. A toy unchanged for over 40 years. This little red box, with only two knobs to control it and possessing the ability to draw just basic pictures in black and silver was causing quite a stir.
But why was I amazed…?
Well, if you imagine she was holding an iPad: a piece of hardware that can play movies, FaceTime friends, do a weekly shop, store and play an entire music collection, plus search the web for pretty much the sum total of knowledge that the Human race has managed to compile… well if she were playing with that, most of the other kids wouldn’t have paid it the slightest bit of attention.
The Etch-a-Sketch, however, which by most standards cannot come even close to an iPad, seemed to fascinate the children who all wanted to have a go.
And so, as someone who was born in the 70’s, who owned one of these simple toys and is concerned about the next generation’s thirst for louder-faster-higher, I took great comfort in that.
Can anyone else think of simple old toys that are making a comeback in this super-fast digital age we live in?
Thanks for reading.