The days of fishing for eels at the local creek and cycling to the other end of town just for the fun of it are over for kids living in the modern world, a Hastings centenarian says.

Claude Davidson celebrated his 100th birthday last month with cake, family and plenty of photographs taken on his iPad.

The centenarian embraced technology the minute he saw an iPad in action five years ago and hasn't looked back.

"As soon as I saw it, it was doing everything and straight away I thought I've got to have one of those. Everything was going on."


He plays solitaire, tracks planes around the world and even has a Facebook profile with 35 friends but says even the best of technologies have their downsides.

People young and old were in constant communication with one another on cellphones nowadays, most of which was "not essential", he said.

"In our time someone down the road had a telephone and if you were in hospital someone would come down and pass a message on but you never abused it.

"You never went down and just rung up Harry just because you wanted to talk to Harry; you only used it on special occasions."

He recalled a memory from his childhood where he and friends prodded a beehive while they were playing outdoors together.

"The bees would chase them down the river but that's what they did. It was more or less growing up and learning.

"That would be natural growing up no matter how far you go back in history, that's how everybody learned."

Technology and screen time had transformed the world children now lived and learned in, he said.

"They had a great time growing up and now they're isolated more or less to their phone."

Children were less adventurous nowadays but had extensive knowledge of how to use technological devices, he said.

"They've got a terrible amount of knowledge. They're 4 or 5, they might be younger, and they start off with an iPad.

"They pick everything up so quickly. If a young one tells me how to do something I've got to go over it many times till I get there."

The centenarian said while the youngsters in his family would undoubtedly have different experiences growing up, they played a valuable part in keeping him up to date with technology.

"It's a different way now. They grow up into a different life, a totally different life really."