Internet and Television Evolutional Spaces

A few weeks okay, I spoke about my grandparents migrating from the Netherlands, fleeing after the war to settle in Australia and how they didn’t have a television for years. It took about 10 years for them to get a television while living in Australia. It was only when I was learning how to use a computer when they got a computer which was a big old box that made lots of sounds when it started up and took about 10 minutes just to get to the desktop page after logging in. They got a computer because my Grandpa wanted to play Mahjong (the computer game where you had to pair the tiles together) and Sudoku puzzles. They eventually trialed the dial up internet, but never wanted to unplug the phone, so that didn’t work out for them. At this time they could have had broadband be refused to pay so much. Ever since they have always had no internet – if they wanted to know something, they would ask myself or my sister to look it up. The only thing they miss out on is the fast information my family spreads, it’s always spread through Facebook, so they always find out from us when they are around for dinner instead of a direct phone call.

My grandma has just moved into an independent retirement home and she still doesn’t have internet, although she does have an iPhone 6. I was teaching her how to send photos the other day and realised that it wasn’t working because she didn’t have internet on her phone. Now I didn’t even think that was possible, but apparently it is. While this leads me to a hole in my research, I can reflect on my own memories of internet usage and growing up with the technology changes.

I first remember the dial up, the sounds, the time it took, and the yelling ‘get off the internet; I need to use the phone!’ It was all good memories when I was about 6 years old. I don’t remember when it all changed, but I remember when I would have friends over and there was always a cool computer game to play, Harry Potter, or Sims, or I even remember wanting to run away with one friend and booking aeroplane flights, the only thing stopping us was that fact we couldn’t pay for it without mum knowing because we needed a credit card. She would come over every weekend, and we would do that same thing, looking at flights and attempting to book to run away… I must have always been a traveler at heart.

The internet was constantly evolving, getting faster as I got older and I was getting more usage out of it more than ever; homework, network chats, and online games and then social media came along. It was always either the internet or TV back then, because I didn’t have a cable long enough, or the muscles strong enough to drag the computer to the TV. I checked the to see if my home was able to connect to it, and I’m not. I am super surprised considering the booming area that I am living in, you would think it would be a great profit if they put the NBN in my area.

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Now we don’t have to choose, we can have the internet with us while we are watching TV. Whether it’s through our mobiles, tablet devices or laptops there is always connection. Now days, you can even get the internet on your TV. Being able to live stream and even connect to YouTube to watch videos on a bigger screen, it’s all possible now. Now this just fascinates me – when we got a new TV, we decided to ditch the flat screen box television for a real flat screen TV, it had apps, programs and internet connection all in one through Bigpond. While we don’t use it for any of those purposes unless someone with a good technology background comes over and knows how to work them, we only use the TV for watching purposes. The lounge room is a place we gather at night. 6:30pm is FRIENDS until 7:30 and then from there it is the Big Bang Theory. Weekends is tradition to watch the football, but its slowing dying out as we all have busy lives to live now. When state of Origin was on, a few years back, it became a tradition to do homemade hamburgers or meat pies and veggies around the table before kickoff and then we would all congregate to the TV room where we would watch the football match for as long as we can until we fall asleep and waddle off to bed. Traditions die fast in my household, we don’t watch anything all together although we all have our favourite TV shows we like to watch and we sure are lucky we have 3 TV’s in the house – it keeps us civil.


TV history & traditions will never change

I remember waking up 6am every Saturday and Sunday morning, racing to wake up my sister if she wasn’t already awake and running to the TV to watch the latest Saturday Disney cartoons or Pokémon. That disappointment you would feel when you were just those 3 impatient minutes early for the show to start. The attempt to make your breakfast in time without spilling it or waking up mum or dad in the process was defiantly a challenge.

A reoccurring conversation around my dinner table lately has been mum and dad reflecting on the moment that man took their first steps on the moon in 1969.

When I am with my children around the dinner table, I think I will reflect back on the 2000 Olympics when Kathy Freeman took the torch all the way up to start the ceremony. I remember sitting in front of the TV saying to mum, ‘why is she standing on a big barbeque’. That will be the happy story, to reflect on; I still remember mum laughing and running off to tell dad what I said. I still remember and often reflect on the 9/11 situation also. I was up early, mum had the TV on, and volume and lights woke me up from down the hall. I went and crawled into bed with mum and dad came and kissed us goodbye as he went to work. I remember looking at the TV squinting from the bright light on September 11, 2001, and seeing a small spec in the air crash into the two towers in New York City and the buildings just crumbling to the ground with panic on the streets everywhere. This is also a time of reflection for me as I am in America at the moment. I went to visit the Ground Zero area where the tragedy took place and it completely moved me. They have turned the area into a beautiful place of reflection for all of the victims that were lost in the attack. The water falls into the ground that run all day, the names around the edges of each of the buildings outline of where the buildings once stood tall. People move slowly, they don’t talk, and if they do, it’s respectful whisper. Still having the image on the dark room, the feeling of the warm bed and mums cuddles in the morning, the noise of the TV’s news presenter explaining the tragedy and showing footage of the disaster still plays in my head 15 years on and will continue to be fresh in my mind until the day I die.

When I spoke to my grandma from my dad’s side of the family about her history with the television, it surprised me. I knew that they came from a lower socio-economic background fleeing the war which influenced her television history.

My Grandparents and family on the boat saying goodbye to The Netherlands and Hello to Australia.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s my grandparents got their first TV which was black and white. They lived in the middle of no-where,so it would not surprise me if they had poor connection. She explained that the lifestyle changed in the household as well when the TV was introduced. Things like watching the Sunday night football and having to have had dinner and washed up by 6pm so they could all watch together. My grandpa had the most control over the TV, but when he fell asleep, Grandma would kindly turn down the volume and change the channel to what she wanted to watch. If visitors were to come over, the TV would go off as it was considered polite. Her most memorable televised event in history was the shooting of JF Kennedy in 1963 and the walking on the moon in 1969. Both of my grandparents worked during the day, so they didn’t watch anything until all the cooking and cleaning had been completed. Sunday night football was a must in my dad’s household growing up; other shows they watched were Get Smart, The Andy Griffith Show, Rawhide, Four Corners and the News. Now days, she likes to watch Offspring, Winners and Losers, Australian Story, Boarder Security and cooking shows.

From now to then, 16 years on from watching the Olympics, it’s still a tradition to watch the Olympics as much as I can and it’s still a tradition for Grandma to have everything clean before sitting down for the night to watch TV. Some things will never change.