You see them everywhere – irritatingly twee listicles telling you why you should switch off your tech and ‘reconnect with the outside world’. Reading these articles, one would think that the world is populated by automatons who cannot exist without constant ego boosting via Facebook or Twitter and who probably ignore their kids in favour of making Halloween cake moodboards on Pinterest (shut up).
Of course there are people who should probably put the laptop down occasionally in favour of getting work done/feeding the kids/remembering where they last saw the kids, but most of us can use technology pretty much constantly and still function just fine.
All that guff about ‘remember when we made our own fun and technology meant pulling the tape out of a Betamax copy of The Cat From Outer Spaceand holding it up to the light in order to see the picture stills’ (this might have actually happened, don’t tell anyone)?
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and it was fucking tedious. There was the constant fear of nuclear obliteration, everything was closed on a Sunday and if you wanted to look at photos of cats you had to go to the library and ask the snotty librarian to point you in the direction of the Natural World section. Plus if you stayed out later than you should have done, you got greeted at the door by an hysterically worried mother who chased you round the kitchen flapping a damp tea towel at your arse then banned you from watching Top Of The Pops for a fortnight.
These days my kids text me if they’re not going to be home on time. Okay so they even text me when they’re in the next room and can’t be arsed to come through to ask me what’s for tea, but you can’t have everything (and kids have always been lazy scrotes, however much the stupid memes try to insist that everyone used to spend seventeen hours a day scuffing knees and racing Choppers). I don’t have to sit in the living room grimacing at their awful taste in music because that is what Youtube and headphones are for.
Technology means that I have friends all over the world – and they are real friends, regardless of whether or not I’ve ever met them in person. Technology means that I can work from home and be here for my own kids whenever I’m needed (I might not have thought that one through very well, if I’m honest).
Technology means that I’m in touch with people from childhood that I’d have long lost contact with had it not been for the powers of social media (and it also means I can avoid the ones I don’t like and never did). Technology means that my autistic son can do his schoolwork on a laptop computer so that his fluttery mind and frankly terrifying handwriting doesn’t hinder his otherwise sparkling academic ability. Technology means that I can be read a book on my phone within minutes of hearing about it.
And guess what? My kids still use correct grammar and spelling (mostly). I still buy paperbacks. I still look at real life cats and I still talk to friends over a cuppa at the kitchen table. I still work and I still function, only it’s easier and better.
You take your tech break if you want to. But whilst you’re knitting your hemp knickers and congratulating yourself at being in tune with reality, the rest of us will be cooking dinner from a recipe on a propped up iPad whilst Facetiming friends in different countries.
Me, I’ll be searching the internet to see if films about space cats are available on Amazon Prime.