Reliance on technology. It’s the stuff Alvin Toffler wrote about in his book Future Shock. Innovation speed, of a magnitude so much higher than adoption, creates a mental shutdown in society.
Maybe not quite that but there’s something both frightening and freeing about not being connected to anything. Today we awoke with our power off. No idea why, but off nonetheless. For a whole day, until around 3pm, we had no power, no heating, no internet, no nothing. After a bit of time, I went to Mums to get Missy warm and to transport some garage guff up there for storage. Missy, you see, has Chicken pox. Great timing. Merry Christmas.
Anyway, back home after power back on, we get ourselves heated up, the fridge and freezer sorted and then Mrs makes din dins. We get a visit from the site manager to say that we’ve actually been on emergency power and we will soon be plunged into darkness once more for what could be an hour…could be 4. To be safe I run a scalding hot bath for Missy so by the time we are ready for bath, it’ll have cooled enough or I can take it down. Lock door from the outside to be extra safe she’s not wandering in there and frying herself like a chicken. A fear I’ve had since she was born.
Dimner made and eaten, we get her in the bath and hair dried, and just as the hairdryer is turned off, the power is cut. Magical timing. Story time by battery powered led Christmas lights and she is squared, reluctantly, in bed. The power comes on an hour later and we are back in the land of the connected. Fridges beep. Boilers fire up. Internet flashes blue and the gentle hum of world connection settles once more.
For two people who work from home, with reliance on computers and phones for communication, it’s definitely an inconvenience when there’s no computers, WiFi or charge within said computers. Yeah we have mobile networks and 4G whatsits, but phones these days last barely a working day if you are cranking it, and let’s be honest, most of us are glued to these wee things. I’m writing this post on my phone now, even with power back on and laptop 1ft away from me.
I wonder what it’ll be like for Missy as she grows up, who by now can easily navigate our phones to take endless screeds of photographs and swipe through cbeebies. Whats more, despite actively dissuading her from interacting with phones; she has no iPad or tablet or computer or anything. Yet she is effortlessly navigating these devices, pinching to zoom and getting hacked off when it doesn’t do exactly what she expects. It’s a bit amazing. It’s a bit dangerous.
Children should be running around daft and getting themselves exhausted from playing outside or make believe. Missy sees our phones as a cheeky chance to take some pictures before being found out. I’m always deleting 100s of pictures of the floor or the wall or her forehead in selfie mode.
If we are heading towards a totally integrated technology society, is it detrimental to suppress the access to tech for a 3.5 year old, or will it set her up better for a more balanced outlook on how powerful tech can be when used appropriately? More technology as assistance to complete tasks, rather than reliance to get through the day? I don’t know. There will come a point I’m sure when we have to embrace her using technology.
I just don’t think we are ready to glue an LCD deadweight around her neck.