Family values and technological change

Posted on September 4th, 2008 in Driving Emotion,Electric vehicles,Global Warming,Hybrid Power by Julian Edgar

I’ve always been a little scornful of those parents who proudly proclaim their children’s knowledge and interests, knowledge and interest that are only a reflection of their parents’ particular knowledge and interests.


You know: “Benjamin can name all the players in the Adelaide Football Club”, proudly says the football fan – and stuff like that.


But now in having a child of my own, I can see that it happens rather naturally – the child is interested in what the parents are interested in, and that knowledge is transferred without effort.


So the fact that my four year old, Alexander, when looking over my shoulder at a book on cars that I am reading, can identify the old Citroens, Jaguar E-Types and Porsches, is perhaps not much of a surprise.


But this familial socialisation becomes interesting when you consider change, and the future.

Alexander has accompanied me to a number of workshops. He knows what a car workshop is; he knows what a dyno is. He also knows that one workshop that we have visited specialises in electric cars – cars that don’t take petrol (like he knows my Honda Insight does) and don’t take diesel (like he knows our family Peugeot 307 HDi does). Some cars take electricity – from a plug in the wall!


As part of this unconscious inculcation of values and information, he also knows that the home workshop that I am building is going to have a big electric power point that can one day be used to charge an electric car.


From a four-year-old’s perspective, he thinks an electric car is pretty good. No need to visit petrol stations; just plug it in at home.




Well the other day we were at the EKKA – Brisbane’s equivalent of a Royal Show. Along with displays of goats and pigs and sheep, and amongst the Ferris wheels and amusement rides and stalls, was a display of new cars from a Ford dealer. We wandered over to look at the underbonnet views of the FG Falcon, and at the size of the current Mondeo.


Over came a salesman, seeing no doubt a potential family buyer of one of these cars. Spying young Alexander and perhaps seeing that he could make a win by giving away some stickers or some such, the salesman asked ingratiatingly: “Does he like Fords?”


My wife Georgina muttered something and we hurriedly left: I was just waiting for Alexander to loudly ask: “Are any of these cars electric?”


Such is the permeation of change promulgated in a family setting.


I wonder how many children now take for granted that all cars stop their engines at traffic lights, and at slow speeds can travel along without the engine running? Will these children ever want to revert to what they’ll consider to be inferior automotive technology?


Some will, but I bet most won’t.

5 Responses to 'Family values and technological change'

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  1. BG said,

    on September 4th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    To segue from the washing machine blog…
    azi said:
    “Time is also valuable when several hours of your day could be spent with family, friends, etc..”
    So azi, you would infer that there’s no social value in fixing things either?!! You might consider it more sociable to watch TV sport? Not only have many of my friendships evolved whilst fixing things, but I bet a four year old would also have noticed how the washing works, that it may be repairable, and all that other stuff, as I did when I was young.

  2. Peter said,

    on September 8th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Don’t count on your kids having the same interests as youself…. recently I said to my six year old, “let’s turn on the telly and see if there is any motorsport on.” He rolled his eyes – I flicked through the channels. When I got to SBS showing an Italian Opera I was told by said six year old to stop flicking as we’d found something he wanted to watch. He sat there engrossed for the next 45 minutes until it finished – go figure!
    His younger brother (2 yrs) regularly emerges from his Saturday and Sunday afternoon sleep and heads toward the TV couch saying “racing?” – chip off the old block!

  3. Brent said,

    on September 9th, 2008 at 10:50 am

    I seriously doubt there are very many Australian children that currently “take for granted that all cars stop their engines at traffic lights, and at slow speeds can travel along without the engine running?”
    Given the slow uptake rate, particularly is rural and regional areas, of hybrid technology and the distinct lack of new technology cars in the country.
    It will one day be like computers, my four year old is just as happy sitting at the computer pushing a mouse around as sitting on the floor pushing blocks around. Someday in the future I can see it happening but not in the near future where I live.

  4. Mitchell said,

    on September 10th, 2008 at 3:39 am

    There’ll be plenty of bogans to keep the Ford and Holden tribalry alive and pass it on to their children, who will eat it up, with little or any concern for environmental credentials or practicality.
    Same reason AFL/NRL etc has remained popular for so long….
    On another note, it’s such a shame that electric cars are so woefully impractical at the moment. Scoff if you will, but I enquired about converting my EF (attached to it), and am still genuinely interested- For $10 000 i could build something with <80km range, 140 km/h top speed and appaling batteries, which might be worth the sheer novelty factor alone- Will this ever gain enough exposure, even in the future generation to become a mainstream prospect? (Even if the adaptation is not by manufacturers)

  5. Mitchell said,

    on September 10th, 2008 at 3:41 am

    Wait- the top speed was not defined, but Mr Tait stated it was to the detriment of range…