Remember These? Home Rituals That No Longer Exist Because of Technology

published May 21, 2015
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(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

I’m not one to linger on the good ‘ol days of yore, wishing for simpler times and a past where change plays no part. But the advancement of smart phones and other devices inevitably alter our lives — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, and sometimes without us realizing it. What were once comfortable rituals that grounded and provided structure to our home life have gone by the wayside. Instead we get the information and entertainment we need, right when we need them. Beyond glancing at your phone every few minutes, what are your new habits in this brave new world?

Coupon Clipping on Sunday Morning: Instead of sitting down with the weekly flyers, now coupons arrive on your phone, or are easily retrieved while you are on the checkout line. I have many memories of my mom sifting through the newspaper, looking for deals and plotting purchases.

Checking Your Answering Machine: How many of you used to hit the button on your answering machine right when you walked through the door after coming home every night? You wondered: Will it be that person you’ve got a crush on, or is it just your parent again? Land lines are increasingly scarce these days, and digital voicemail makes it unnecessary to wade through all the old messages before you get to the new ones. Congratulations: that’s another 3 minutes of your life you just got back.

Saturday Morning Cartoons: My brother and I used to camp out in front of the TV on Saturday mornings, before our parents woke up, and it felt like an event. Instead of fighting (as we often did), it was truce time, and a shared happy experience. Now, when my niece and nephew visit, we call up some show on Netflix, and they can watch their favorite shows anytime of the day.

Yearly Family Photos: My family never did this, but I know many did. You schedule a day where the entire clan gets dressed in matching outfits and a studio photographer takes your collective photo. It’s a big to-do most likely everyone dreads, but there it is, every year. Nowadays, camera phones are so good — with fancy filters and editing software built in — that we’re more apt to snap pics ourselves these days than leave it to the professionals.

Checking the Weather: Does anyone remember when you had to watch the local news for a weather report? You’d suffer through sports coverage, and inane feature stories, just to find out if you should wear shorts or pants the next day.

Also, get off my lawn! You should be trudging through four feet of snow to school, like I did barefoot back in the day.