My first memory of seeing a mobile phone was my mums silver brick which had a lovely thick antenna stick out the top. It weighed the same as a small puppy and had actual real plastic buttons that you would press to do stuff.
I remember the options being ‘SMS’ message, call, or settings. That was it. After what felt like 50 years in our techno world, think it was actually more like 5; she invested in a lovely blue and silver flip phone. It had a camera. Fairly sure it was only able to capture vague shapes and fuzzy light beams, but having a camera built into your phone then, was like the equivalent of having a VR headset nowadays.
Around this time, I was about to embark on the war that is high school. My parents naturally feared for my wellbeing as I rarely ventured out of our nice little cottage in the middle of nowhere. They supplied me with the machine that is: the Nokia 1110. Snake got me through many a long bus journey to school and I would simply put my phone away in my pocket once I had had enough. My sister followed two years later with her newer pale pink sliiiiiide phone; she had a camera phone as her first phone which makes me feel a bit sick with nostalgia. I quickly was upgraded to a Nokia brick WITH a camera when this happened as the dinner table rage grew as I itched for the need to take 1 picture a month of something which looked remotely cool when I didn’t have my disposable film camera on me. This continued for many years, each year a new feature would be released; meaning you needed a new phone to be ‘normal’, or even stand a chance of being cool. We moved on to touch screen LG’s, qwerty keyboards and then finally society told us the iPhone was the only one for you.
I often wonder if the speed in which technology developed was so fast for us millennials, that we watched our childhoods flash past us barely giving us time to look up from whatever phone we were holding. Of course, we now see the rise in mental health decline caused by said phones splashed on the front page of every newspaper, but maybe it’s not the phones fault. Perhaps if we actually analyse the speed which we experienced tech develop, we would realise we are all suffering from ‘societal motion sickness’. We are the first generation to go from 1 square cube size computers, to being able to call someone on your watch or literally order food with your fingerprint from your bed. Our parents went from black and white tv to eventually colour, then the idea of the computer was mind blowing and many thought it would be the ‘end of the world’ or whatever.
We are pretty resilient to change if you think about it, this is probably why we have had so many societal changes alongside the tech. We were developing our neurotic state to be able to deal with vast quick change, so that by the time we started addressing ‘woke’ topics and protesting for basic human rights to be regulated across the world, we were already pretty hardcore. I was born in 1997 and I am 21 today, I wander how the generation ‘Z’er’s will deal with the new wave of actual bat crap crazy virtual world goggles and fridges that can tell you the weather outside. But I can safely say, millennials built a new era for human life by changing the capabilities of how fast a person can deal with societal change. This catapulted us into a world of discussion, a world of choice and world of connection. I often think of my mum and her silver antenna phone, and how I never thought something so simple could be the starting point, to change the laws which define our humanity today.