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Today's Kids Have an Easier Life in the Family Car

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2017

I've recently come to the conclusion that today's children have a tremendously easier life in the family car than I did back when I was growing up. Apparently, I've also come to the conclusion that I used to walk to school twenty miles in the snow, uphill both ways, sonny!

Yes, I realize this post makes me sound like an 80-year-old lecturing the younger generation about how easy their life is. But I don't really care. Because the younger generation has wireless freakin' headphones.

Before I get into the specific technology, let's back up to my own personal automotive experience. I grew up in the back seat of a 1993 Isuzu Rodeo, with a red exterior, a gray cloth interior and a 5-speed manual transmission. A 5-speed manual! In a family SUV! Can you imagine that? Maybe today's parents have it a lot easier, too.

Anyway, the single coolest thing about the Rodeo was that it had little vent windows in front that opened to increase airflow to the passenger compartment. THAT was the coolest thing about the Rodeo. It didn't even have variable intermittent wipers.

You know what the single coolest thing about today's family vehicles is? Allow me to tell you.

Rear-Seat Entertainment Systems

You know what I did for rear seat entertainment when I was nine years old? I played with the door lock. That was my entertainment. Door lock up. Door lock down. Door lock up. OH, WHAT COMES NEXT?! That's right: door lock down. Sometimes I would play with the center seat-belt buckle.

You know what today's kids do? They watch a movie. And not just one movie: If they can't agree on a movie, they can watch two movies, because a lot of modern rear-seat entertainment systems have dual screens. Or they play a video game, because you can hook up a video game console to these things. And they have wireless headphones. WIRELESS HEADPHONES! I don't even have wireless headphones in my house! And 8-year-olds have them to watch "Mulan" in a freakin' Honda!!!!

Power Sliding Doors

Oh, don't even get me started on this. When I was a kid, family vans had doors on the passenger side and not the driver's side, and they were approximately as easy to close as that well in "The Ring" that keeps claiming lives of innocent people. You know what today's kids do? They push a button. And then they just watch the door close, as if it were a moving walkway. And speaking of moving walkways, WE DIDN'T HAVE THOSE WHEN I WAS A KID, EITHER!

Really Nice Seats

When I was a kid, the back seats of my mom's car had one single position: uncomfortable. If you complained, then you were both uncomfortable and a complainer. But you weren't going to change your situation. They didn't recline, they didn't adjust and they were finished in some sort of patterned cloth that people would now expect to find on waterproof patio furniture.

Today's kids have heated seats. Heated seats! And they have ventilated seats, and they have reclining seats, and they have captain's chairs with dual armrests so they can feel like they've really made it in the world. I didn't even have a center armrest when I was a kid. That's how I knew I hadn't made it in the world. Other kids were resting their arms, and I was just sitting there, playing with the door lock.

Other Stuff

Here's some other stuff kids have today: refrigerators and vacuum cleaners. We'll take these individually, because each of them deserves the full force of my rage.

Refrigerators?! In cars?! When I was a kid, if your baseball game was finished and some parent gave out boxed juice, you'd better hope you a) were thirsty, or b) were playing close to home, because otherwise that boxed juice was going to be tremendously warm very shortly. Nothing could be refrigerated. The mere idea of it was laughable.

And vacuum cleaners?! In a car?! Today's kids can just eat whatever they want with reckless abandon, because it can all be vacuumed up when they're done. They can even eat raspberries, because they can get them OUT OF THE FREAKIN' REFRIGERATOR! Me, I couldn't eat anything in the car, due to the very thought of spilling something. Occasionally, I'd eat a fruit roll-up, and I would sit there pondering how nice it would be to have a center armrest.

Now, I know I'm too young to go on a long rant about the generational differences between me and modern kids. But I'll say this: Kids today are so spoiled with the amazing amenities they have in family cars. They're pampered, overindulged, cossetted, babied little humans and they're entitled because they just assume life will be this easy, and they have no idea how good they have it.

Oh, and I would really love to be one of them.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Today's Kids Have an Easier Life in the Family Car - Autotrader