Life in the 21st century seems to have turned into a constant battle: a battle with technologies that distract us from what is really important in our lives. We tend to take for granted what we should pay more attention to, and have become dependent on what we should only use for assistance.
The recent storms in Ireland shut off many people and communities, no electricity, no water, and (OMG) no Facebook…how could we ever suddenly adjust to the lack of technology? Arriving home to a dark house usually signals that my family is out at the swimming pool or shop; however, last week it was due to a power outage.
I had tried to phone ahead. However, the phone is connected to the broadband router, so no power meant it wasn’t working. My wife hadn’t charged her mobile, and my iPhone hadn’t been recharged in the office, so it was running low on juice too.
Thankfully, we have plenty of lights in the house. Actually, they were originally bike-to-work accessories for my trusty steed, but were quickly converted into personal torches for each of my three children. Remember: no broadband, so no Netflix for the tablet…no power, so no TV or DVD player…thankfully we hadn’t converted all our books into Kindle format!
So it was back to basics: old-fashioned boiling the water for a cup of tea on the gas oven, and a candle-lit dinner for five. OK, it was perhaps not the most romantic of evenings, with our youngest repeatedly asking why the battery had stopped working in the house.
After the initial panic of not having a mobile, internet, electricity, etc., something magical starts to happen. One slides into a kind of relaxed space. I started to realise how much of my life is taken up with technology, and that perhaps, for some balance, there should be some downtime from all that is techno.
One thing that I have since stopped doing is taking the mobile with me when I go to the playground or the park with the kids – it’s amazing how many parents spend all their time at the park checking their phones. Children are incredibility perceptive: they soon realise that they are competing with the phone for your attention. I guess that’s why they annoy their parents so much, so they can have attention AND access to their phones to play games, etc. This is especially notable at social gatherings. I mean if you can’t impress the flower girl at a wedding with your Dad’s phone, what kind of page boy are you?
I don’t want to sound too much like my parents, but I remember when children had to use their imagination. Kids would make the sound of a car or a train while playing with a toy – now they can’t even do that, all toys flash and make noises…
And my memory! The only phone numbers I remember were the ones I knew before I got a mobile! Oops, better check my e-planner to see what I’m supposed to be doing next…
Heaven only knows what all this technology is doing for us, or to us. It saves us so much time, but what do we do with this extra time? Not kill it, surely?
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.