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A perception of poverty.

Posted by Big John on September 22, 2007

I recently read a report that stated that many children today consider it a sign of poverty for another child not to have a mobile phone.

Unlike most of today’s children many working class people of my generation will have seen or experienced real child poverty, so I suppose that we must consider it progress when the lack of a mobile phone is seen as a sign of ‘poverty’, and not the sight of young legs deformed by rickets: but I can’t help wondering from where do these children acquire such values ?

I suppose that it would come as quite a shock to these kids to know that when I was a child there were no cell phones and the nearest public telephone was on the counter of our local off-licence (liquor store) two streets from my home.

The telephone in question was one of those ‘stand’ types with a separate earpiece at the end of a cord. I can’t remember where the nearest red public phone box was in relation to my home, and in any case I wouldn’t have spent my few pennies of pocket money or wasted my time on making phone calls; unlike the kids I see everyday with their ‘Nokia’ pressed against their ear as they chatter on about such important matters as their latest video game or favourite ‘gangsta’ rapper.

At that time no one I knew had a telephone, and I can’t even remember using one until I started work in 1955 at the age of sixteen.

No cell phone, no ‘iPod’, no TV, no ‘X box’ ! … What would today’s youngsters have made of my childhood ? I suppose they would consider me to have been destitute; but at least I was safe from  …

…  being mugged on my way home from school.


4 Responses to “A perception of poverty.”

  1. ade said

    Ah, but they would have duffed you up for your marbles instead.

  2. gawilli said

    I think we had a pretty good childhood, and probably they would do all right with it…if they didn’t have what they have now. We had a phone, and so did the neighbors. We only had to dial 4 numbers instead of the 7 to 10 we dial now. And it was a party line. Very interesting.

  3. Terri said

    I’m wondering right along with you where the values for kids today are at.
    I recently heard a 10 year old got a cell phone. I mean come ON….that’s insane.
    We had a phone with a party line and of course nothing like the kids today have. But I still say…give me the old days. When life was much simpler.

  4. Red Baron said

    It wasn’t that long ago that not having a phone in the house was still pretty normal. I remember in the mid-80s still collecting 5p pieces and going to the phone box to make a call, first obviously having to wait for the person in front to finish their conversation which would take on average 15 mins.

    The reason children are endowed with such ideals is because materialism and comparison is so rife that even parents who do not approve, do not want to force their children to be the butt of ridicule on account of their (the parents) ideology and that is a very persuasive agument if you only think in the short-term.

    My children are unlucky, I am a dogmatic bastard and will not be bowed by latent consumerism. They will thereofre face mockery and ridicule at school and grow up to be well-rounded human beings with a sense of reality!

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