“Hello. My name is Amanda and I am a luddite”.
It’s not easy to admit when there is such focus on mobile technology and communicating via social networking rather than using email (so passé) or worse still, the old-fashioned telephone.
Today children take ipods and ipads on play dates. Children who can barely walk or talk use them as toys. And you can’t walk down the street without dodging people, heads down, focussing on their phones instead of where they are going.
In recent months, I have seen ipads by the pool (who’s to blame if they get water-damaged?), I’ve seen toddlers and teenagers using them during concert performances and worst of all, on a daily basis, I see people using them while driving.
There is no doubt that technology has made our lives so much easier. But how far is too far and what impact is it having on how we interact with family, friends and work colleagues?
At home: I recently enjoyed a Sunday afternoon with some colleagues, all of us working mums. My 10-year-old son did not want to go. He would be the oldest, he would be bored, etc, etc.
While us mums enjoyed the old fashioned (and hopefully never to go out of style) bubbles and nibbles on the porch, the kids, aged from 2 – 10, slowly started playing together.
The boys discovered the sprinkler and water wars began. This was followed by Paddle Pops. Then all went quiet. Turns out there was a big game of hide and seek going on.
This went on for two hours. Not a gadget was produced. It was good old fashioned fun – and it was fantastic. Even Mr 10 admitted he’d had a wonderful time.
At work: Although I am not old, I am starting to feel it in my workplace. I work in communications. The buzz is all around social media-based campaigns.
I understand social media has a time and a place (I have a personal facebook page, as well as facebook and twitter accounts and a blog aligned to my website), but is it the ‘be all and end all’ it is touted?
Do people really want to play a game on their mobile that is related to their job? Do facebook or twitter campaigns engage the right people any more successfully than traditional forms of communicating – or is it just more people?
On holiday: I am due to go on a holiday soon. We are going to New Zealand and I want to live in every moment. I don’t want to ignore my husband and children while I post photos and details about the trip as it happens. I think that can wait until we get back – but do people want to follow our journey while we are on it? Or is that just what we want to think?
These are all issues I am grappling with – as a mum, as an employee, as a website creater/blogger.
As a mum, my sanity is being questioned by my children (age 7 & 10) because they are the ONLY ones amongst their friends who do not have their own ipod touch (that’s what they tell me and although it is an exaggeration, it seems there are more who have them than not).
As a an employee, my sanity is being eroded as I keep my views to myself for fear of being branded a luddite who just doesn’t get it cause she’s too old and past it.
But as a traveller, I say, “I don’t care.”
While it is tempting to throw the ipad in the take-on luggage, my concession to new technology is my digital camera. I will take photos, I will jot notes in a journal – but I will be in each and every moment as I experience another country and culture with my family, away from the routine and stresses that occupy our everyday lives.
And when my children start drooling and moaning when they see other children buried in phones and tablets and shoot me that look that says” You are such a bad mum”, I will smile knowingly back at them.
“Yes I am – but I know one day you will thank me for it.”