Subbuteo and Scalextric trump technology for children of today

Twas the Sunday before Christmas... and the family, 17 strong, was gathered around the table chez Hart, all having a great time – until disaster struck.

My 11-year-old nephew, Harry, having already left his iPad at home, was in crisis. His phone battery was about to run out with no possibility of recharging!

Scalextric Picture: Sarah Standing

Scalextric Picture: Sarah Standing

How was he going to make it through the rest of the afternoon?

After lunch and ‘secret Santa’, the game Cards Against Humanity was on the agenda.

Clearly not a pursuit for a lad pushing 12, so having delved into the cupboard and fished out the 1970s Subbuteo set, we adjourned to the other room for some table football.

FIFA 2019 it isn’t, but once the rules were explained, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, having never seen anything quite like it before (other than on a computer screen).

And I found that both surreal and sad.

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Next up we got the Scalextric out.

Again, he’d never played it before but once he got the hang of it, he was a natural and, by the end of the session, it wasn’t a case of whether he was going to lap me but how many times.

When it came to leaving he said he’d had a great time, and with no iPad and minimal phone use he had enjoyed himself.

There’s a school of thought today that our younger generation have it better than anyone ever has before.

I’d actually disagree with that.

All that glisters is not gold – social media, iPad, game consoles and so on – are all great but ultimately I’d argue that the kids of today have actually missed out.

Maybe to a degree there’s a tendency to look at the past through rose-tinted spectacles, but I maintain that, in the main, the children of the 60s and 70s had the best childhood and adolescence.

Today is a totally different ball game, which is why, more often than not, I’m glad I’m 54 and not 14.

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