How Did We Raise Kids Before Smartphones?

My oldest baby will be 15 in a few short months.  He was born before the first iPhone was marketed.  He was born before Facebook was created. 

And I'm not sure how we survived his early years without a smartphone.  How times have changed!


We had to tell people by word of mouth that we were expecting -- no texts or Twitter posts.

We went to the bookstore for books on pregnancy and childbirth.  If we had a question, we opened up our copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting".

We packed CDs in our labour bag, instead of creating a playlist on iTunes.

We had no social media to share newborn pictures on.  We actually saved paper copies of the newspaper that had our first newborn picture in it.  I'm pretty sure there's no digital copy of it anywhere either.

We used pen and paper to track diapers and feedings, instead of a baby caring app.

I didn't have a phone to check email on or browse blog posts while nursing in the middle of the night.  I prayed, dozed or passed the time thinking.

We didn't have a flashlight app with a low setting that we could use to check on a sleeping baby in the dark.  Instead we had to stand in the dark room for a few minutes until our eyes adjusted to the dark.

We asked for home remedies for blocked milk ducts and colic in person, from our mothers, sisters and friends, instead of asking Facebook or Google what we should do.

When we went to the park, I had to bring a magazine if I wanted reading material.  Like, an actual print copy magazine.

If I wanted pictures of the baby playing outside in the kiddy pool, I had to remember to dig out the camera before heading outside.

When we took pictures of the baby, we had to wait at least 24 hours before we saw them -- if we were willing to pay for rush printing.

And then when we wanted to show off those pictures, we actually had to carry the prints around with us in an album or Brag Book, instead of storing them all on a phone.

We used to check the thermometer on the fence outside if we wanted to know how warmly to dress the baby.  If we wanted to know the forecast, we either turned on the TV or opened the newspaper.

When I went for a walk, I had to go into a store or ask someone with a watch to find out the time.  I also had to use a phone booth to call my home phone to check for messages when I was expecting a call.

When we wanted recipes for baby food, we headed to the library instead of Pinterest.

When we had a question about vaccinations or symptoms, we called the doctor, left a message, and then waited for her to call back, instead of checking WebMD.

Recalls on baby toys and equipment were publicized on the 6:00 news, instead of filtering down through Facebook posts and Tweets.

I loved the simplicity of raising a baby so many years ago, with changes in child-rearing happening at a much more manageable pace. 

But I also love the conveniences that instant access to the world wide web brings via my smartphone.How Did We Survive 2

What do you think -- is our increasing dependence on technology and the internet a good thing?


  1. The thermometer on the fence made me bust out laughing. I had completely forgotten those!

  2. Great post. I say that as I sit here working on social media marketing as I breastfeed-lol. Things were so much simpler, just ten short years ago. I can't imagine what's to come.

  3. And what did our mothers do before us? Actually had to phone friends and relatives for advice!

  4. I think it's a good and bad thing. Great that technology definitely makes life a bit easier, but it's also crazy how consumed we become with it. Ironically, even making us feel less connected.

  5. I don't have a smart phone. Although it sounds great, I just think of all of the people who have little cash but spend big bucks on their cell phones.

  6. time has changed drastically! life is so simple back then...:0

  7. I think technology has done a lot of great things. I still see it as a positive.

  8. Ahh, the good old days! My oldest is turning 16 this year so I feel you on all of these!

  9. I haven't switched over to a smartphone yet, but I have a laptop, Kindle and iPod Touch so I'm still overconnected to the Internet and such. All of the points you made are so true. The way we gain information, communicate and connect with others has certainly changed…and has really helped (and hindered) in areas of raising a child. I know a few people who would be so lost Pinterest?

  10. technology makes it so much easier these days. i have a 12 year old so tech wasn't as around when she was little as it is now with my 2 year old.

  11. Ha, this is SO true!

  12. I've thought of this too... its crazy how much technology influences our lives. Is it for better or worse? I think a combo. I always wonder what will it be like 20 years from NOW?!

  13. I love this. This is fantastic. How did they do it?

  14. Yeah, times have changed and it's all fast-paced these days.

  15. I had to laugh out loud! For me, its that we had to wait for the morning news to find out if we had a snow day. Now, a text comes through...

  16. I still have to do these things. Mine hates smartphones and ipads :*(
    But I'm lucky I have Google to ask late night questions :D

  17. Hey Meg,
    great work. actually brought back a lot of memories. btw, just a century ago, most people didn't have to wait for pics because well, not everybody had a camera :D i wonder what next gen brags about ;)
    nice work once again.


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