What kind of technology scared parents in the 1930s? Radio.

If you’re a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about what little Johnny and Britney are getting up to on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. Are they watching porn? Sexting? Viewing YouTube videos that will put weird thoughts in their head? Getting up to no good with SnapChat?

Now let’s rewind a bit. Your folks might have been dead against you having a TV in your bedroom because they were sure I’d spend all your time watching stuff you weren’t supposed to. And your own phone? God knows what evil you’d commit.

Parents have always worried about how their kids might use new technology in the way they inevitably will. As this article points out, parents of the 1930s were freaked out about their kids using this thing called “radio.”

“The radio seems to find parents more helpless than did the funnies, the automobile, the movies and other earlier invaders of the home, because it can not be locked out or the children locked in,” Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg, director of the Child Study Association of America, told The Washington Post in 1931. She added that the biggest worry radio gave parents was how it interfered with other interests — conversation, music practice, group games and reading.

In the early 1930s a group of mothers from Scarsdale, New York, pushed radio broadcasters to change programs they thought were too “overstimulating, frightening and emotionally overwhelming” for kids, said Margaret Cassidy, a media historian at Adelphi University in New York who authored a chronicle of American kids and media.

Called the Scarsdale Moms, their activism led the National Association of Broadcasters to come up with a code of ethics around children’s programming in which they pledged not to portray criminals as heroes and to refrain from glorifying greed, selfishness and disrespect for authority.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Read the whole article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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