"My parents and in-laws are from the generation for which: TV was only a dream (come true); school buses were largely non-existent because farm kids hiked to school; seeing airplanes other than the WWI variety was a rarity; male teachers always wore suits, and women wore dresses - no slacks or shorts; air conditioning was a modern convenience - mostly for the rich; and WWII triggered many forms of mechanization."
Let me point out some other aspects of your parents' generation, Tim. TV was a dream come true that they simply turned over to commercial interests without a thought as to the damage it would cause for both the medium and society. Farm kids hiked to school, and not a few died on the way. Seeing airplanes other than the WWI variety was a rarity because they hadn't been invented yet. Male teachers always wore suits and women wore dresses because the pressure to conform was so intense, the women were paid a small fraction of the men's wages for the same or more work, and they both routinely pummeled the children in their charge with sticks, convinced beyond reason that it would somehow help them learn. Air conditioning was a modern convenience, mostly for the rich, and oddly enough it still is. WWII triggered many forms of mechanization, not least the mechanization of genocide, economic oppression, and nuclear war.
Tim's nostalgia for the halcyon past ignores the gulf between classes that kept the poor forever poor, the discrimination that kept everyone but white upperclass Protestant men out of any position of power, the grinding racism and sexism, the utter disregard for worker health and safety, the flu epidemics that wiped out millions at a stroke, the barbaric conquest of poor people the world over to steal their resources, and many other blindingly obvious aspects that characterized the prewar era in the US. Go ahead and live there if you like, Tim, but for gad's sake don't try to bring it back here.
This is the problem with nostalgia. Rose-colored glasses don't change anything but how you see things, sort of.
"For today's generations, the Internet and technology have changed much of what we do and how we do it." Change the word "Internet" and that was true for your parents, and for theirs, and for theirs, Tim. Along with technology, a constant in that has been increasing population pressure, the kind that makes ten motorcycles much louder than one. And that's why we have more rules.
As long as human society has existed, we've made and enforced rules of conduct, and where there are more people, there are more rules. Tim's parents chafed at new rules and were nostalgic for their mythical past, too. Rebelling against the idea of rules is characteristic of adolescence, but, thankfully, most of us grow out of that and set to work helping ensure that the rules are fair and make sense. That's called citizenship.