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Young kids with mobile phones. I think the closest analog for comparison is the pocket/wrist watch. Like most mechanized inventions, they were only affordable to society's wealthiest for a period of time (pocket watches go back to the late 1400s...
Stephen Mack #TeamMomo
...so, it took centuries before the average person could be expected to have one). FLASH-FORWARD: The mobile phone. It too began as a social status symbol because only business executives could usually justify the cost/benefit. Technically, a handful Motorola employees had the first cellular phones in 1946. So in decades rather than centuries, the economics plummeted so that a middle class family could afford some sort of mobile phone for, say, their 8 year old in the same way that child could have gotten a watch (oh, say a Casio Calculator watch at that) in 1980. -
The status symbol aspect had much less time to flatten in the case of the mobile phone, and maybe that's why it should be unexpected that many adults have an unsettled sense about kids touting their own phone around. -
One difference I see is that no one has to pay a monthly plan for a wristwatch and pay larger fees if you look at it more than the times the plan allows. -
I rode a Huffy bike and wasn't ashamed of it. -
Huffy, lol. :) -
Sarah, yeah, that practical issue is a major reason why teens and car culture developed so strongly (in Calif and other non-public transport equipped regions). -
Spidra, yeah, the recurring monthly costs is a real difference. It can be as little as ~$15/month. Looking at how the explosion of subscription services have changed consumer patterns is a topic unto itself. -
Looking back, some of the status symbol objects were Transformers, Swatches, shoes with fat laces, skateboard. With tech, they are used by adults and kids. For an adult, I would think back then it would be a nice suit or dress, which can't easily be passed down. My first pager was my brother's old one. I guess it depends. I was happy when my dad gave me his old pocket knife. I was fine driving the old beat up '79 Civic CVCC my brother was driving before. -
When I was a kid, having a Schwinn Sting Ray or Orange Krate or a Malibu Barbie Beach House/Van was a big deal for some (note the price differential on those). As far as tech, Coleco and Mattel electronic games were just starting to come in. I knew no one who had a computer for years and years. Didn't see my first PC until I was in HS in the '80s. Nintendo and Atari cartridge games were a big deal. We had an early console game and played Pong & Asteroids on the home tv. It was owned by the whole family. There is no way one single kid would have received such an expensive tech gift. -
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