Today’s XKCD comic, while funny on the surface, is a little cynical. I was born just before the Internet (I’m a Star Trek baby), though not much before, but certainly before the Web took off in popularity in 1991 (I was already doing email in 1986).
Before the Internet, as a kid I kept myself busy inside with variety of things from assembling plastic models, model rockets, model trains, and board games, to actually playing outside with the neighbourhood kids, skiing, Judo, running.
Later as a teen in senior school we had lots of school sports options of which I competed in track events like 800m 1500m, 3000m, and cross-country and fun runs up to 22Km; I did rugby in winter, rowing, and later basketball in summer. Throughout my youth and university I cycled everywhere I could.
Before the Internet, I bought my first computer, an Exidy Sorcerer, when I was 13. I used an acoustic coupler modem to connect to BBS’s and FTP archives. I had Mattel hand-held electronic games and my brother an Atrai 2600 console. Despite home entertainment systems, we both went outside (without prompting from mum or dad) for activities with friends. I went to lots of movies (Ok, I had to go out to get downtown), my brother went surfing at Bondi.
And when all else failed, I often huddle quietly in a chair and immersed myself in a book, a real physical paper printed book, where I actually turned pages (and got the occasional paper cut).
“And you try and tell the young people today that and they won’t believe ya.” – Four Yorkshiremen, Monty Python