Can you imagine a world without computers or television? How about reading by oil lamps instead of electric lights or buying food with shells instead of dollars? When Margaret Mead was growing up in Pennsylvania in the early 1900s, she read by oil lamps and traveled to school in a horse and buggy. Her family even made their own butter.
Around the same time, kids on Manus Island (part of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific) were trading shell money, dogs' teeth, and fish for turtles, grass skirts, and coconuts. A few carried obsidian-bladed daggers in case they had to fight neighboring tribespeople--some of whom were cannibals. Manus kids' lives were not that different than those of their distant ancestors.
By the 1960s, life had changed for kids in Pennsylvania, as well as for kids in places like Manus. But, according to Mead, life had actually become more similar in certain ways for kids all over the globe.