Saturday, 13 April 2013

"You really do hate modern

technology don't you Cat?"
I was bailed up in the Post Office yesterday...well I was in the queue and thus captured by another customer. 
"No," I told him.
"Yes you do. You haven't got one of these..." he said, waving his fancy phone with the screen covered in all the fancy little apps, "You don't do your bill paying on line or drive a car...and now you are having a go at the NBN. You should have a phone so people can get in touch when they need you.Don't you at least realise how important the NBN is?"
I do, reluctantly, have a phone. It's for emergencies. If people want to talk to me they can wait until I am home. I am not going to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Even I need to sleep sometimes. I have no idea how to use the fancy sort, send a text message, read a text message or take a photograph. I am sure I can learn those things if it becomes necessary. 
The Senior Cat refuses to do bill paying on line. He says it is not safe. It may well be that, for him, it is not. He can use his i-pad to search for information although he will still ask me. While we both contribute he likes to pay the bills himself. I let him because he feels he is being useful by doing it. I know how to pay bills too - but not on line. I can learn when I need to do that. 
We no longer have a car. The Senior Cat gave up driving some years ago. I cannot drive. My visual perceptual skills and reaction times would not make it safe and I am not prepared to risk even trying - even if we could afford it.
But the NBN - the National Broadband Network? Oh yes, I have my doubts about that. Let it be first said though that I believe that computer access for medical services, educational establishments, government departments and business is essential these days. That access needs to be powerful enough for it to cover the needs of those who use it.
I have doubts about the need for it in the home. It may be nice to have but do we actually need it? Probably not. It might be nice to be able to watch all those movies and play all those computer games and download all that music...but do we really need to do it? I doubt it. 
And there is something that really does genuinely worry me about doing all those things. It isolates people. They are being entertained by what, I assume, is a flow of electrons. They are not making contact with other people.
We have come to believe it is our right to have on demand entertainment - and not just any entertainment but the precise song or movie we want to hear or see. We are constantly in search of something new because we get "bored". 
We have no right to a constant flow of entertainment. We have no right to not to be bored. It might even be good for us. We might go and actually do something. 


Helen Devries said...

I use the internet for contacting people and institutions.
I don't trust it for research.
I do listen to BBC radio programmes...and the odd TV series like Spiral...but it certainly doesn't fill my time.

jeanfromcornwall said...

There was a report in the paper this week about a toddler in a pushchair having an i-phone stolen from its hands - apparently it was being used to watch a cartoon while its mother was attending to the boring High Street chores and not teaching her sprog to cope with boredom.
You may rest your case, Cat.

Miriam said...

Technology also connects people who would be more isolated without it.