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Watch kids react to rotary phones

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 10:52am
Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Watching kids befuddled by legacy technology is like shooting fish in a barrel — easy, but oddly enjoyable.

And the “Kids React” series on YouTube runs with that premise, and one of their latest subjects — rotary phones — will make even 30-something college grads feel old. Like your humble Technical Editor. Who’s still a spring chicken at the ripe old age of 32.

Predictably, showing children — ranging in age from 5 to 13 — a rotary phone is a bit like introducing an iPod to cavemen.

"This is like something that my mom used as a kid," says one. "The first ones that Alexander Graham Bell invented," says another, referring to the prehistoric gadget before them.

Most had no idea what a dial tone or busy signal is, and a scant few had an inkling what “long distance” means. Which is where I start to feel old — even cell phones had long distance at one point.

But ... before you lose all faith in humanity, know that even the 5-year-old seemed familiar with relatively advanced technology like cellular handsets — which, when you think about the comparatively primitive technology that past generations grew up with, is pretty amazing.

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