Everyday Technologies Mothers would have loved 30 years ago

By: Michon Williams

January 16, 2014


By Michon Williams

Change can be such a gradual and stealthy thing.  In my lifetime Polaroid and prints have slowly morphed into digital cameras and ever-present smartphone cameras.  Now, too, the joy of photo taking is further enhanced by instant photo sharing through any desired means.  While the act of taking photos and the reasons behind the compulsion may not have drastically changed, the way and the how, and our ability to share has.  Every once in a while I realize how far we actually have come with everyday technologies.  Especially once in a while when I hear my mum tell me, “I wish we had this 30 years ago!”

Allrecipes.ca and Online Recipes for Family Dinners – I distinctly remember the avocado green recipe box where my mum used to store recipes inherited or shared by neighbours and friends.  The best cranberry sauce recipe was learned from extended family and written on an index card that got dog-eared and dotted with recipe ingredients over time.  Some recipes would be torn from a Canadian Living or Chatelaine magazine.  Now we can check out what’s left in our fridge and based on a quick key word search find any recipes that could make use of what we have to work with.  We can rely on recommendations aggregated from across North America and beyond, not just neighbourly advice.

Mobile Media For Long Car Rides – We used to tune into Sunday night comedy shows and mystery programs on the long drive home from grandma and grandpa’s cottage.  Sometimes my brother and I would be lulled into happy calmness or sing-a-long madness by Raffi or the Mini-Pops, much to the chagrin of my parents who had heard the same albums way too many times.  This is no comparison to the range of mobile media options available to parents today.  Portable players, smartphones, tablets, and eReaders can enable you to access any media on the road – audio or visual, and to choose smartly from a range of options to appease both boys and girls of any age, with rich educational options as well.

Twitter for Local Events and News – Access to information has monumentally shifted since my mum was a young mother.  She now religiously tracks feeds of interest, locally and globally.  This enables her to have more immediate traffic insights, information about local and community events and news, as well as topics from a broad swath of interests.

Online Banking for Budgeting and Bills – Online Banking makes it massively easier for families to manage their finances.  Tools like RBC’s ‘MyFinanceTracker’ enable you to set budget goals and alert you when you’re off track.  Mobile applications and rich online banking services are enabling evermore transactions to be completed without having to head into a branch during bankers hours, can be a huge time saver.

My generation (somewhere in the awkward middle ground between Gen X and Millennial) has seen some amazingly transformative everyday technologies over the past 30 years.  Since they have shifted so gradually around us, and since we’ve been so immersed in them, we may not always appreciate how different things are for young women today than they were for our mothers.

How much more of our daily life can be enhanced by the next generation of innovations?  What will my digital life look like in the next 30?  Technology has the power to have many positive impacts on women’s lives.  However, the degree to which current and future technology can enhance our day-to-day depends on our willingness to learn what’s out there, to experiment with how to make best use of it, and to share those insights with others.  What’s your best everyday technology?

About Michon Williams

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