I Need it Now !
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Every 6 months on a school holiday, my husband and I take our three girls (ages, 7, 9 and 11) on the train into the city and sit through 5 dental appointments. We try to make it fun by bringing books or cards, so the girls don’t get too bored waiting. They even look forward to it. This time around as we sat reading in the crowded waiting room, my 9-year-old said, “Mum, look! We are the only people NOT on a mobile phone.” I looked up, and sure enough, I saw a sea of heads bent over their phones.
It made me take a moment to contemplate the world our kids are growing up in. Everything is so fast, and it is technology that has a lot to answer for. ‘I need it now!’ seems to be the axiom of today’s society! No more being bored in lines or waiting rooms because people can play games on their phones. No more sitting and looking out the window during long car journeys and absorbing the surroundings. Just watch videos on your I Pads or movies in the car. Young people have instant gratification in all areas of their lives and technology is the gift that keeps on giving.
Need Maths answers? Grab a calculator. Need to write? Use a computer. Need to voice an opinion? Use Twitter. Need directions? Ask Google Maps. Need a weather report? Check your phone ap. Need answers to anything else? Ask Google Home. I caught my 7-year-old doing just that to get the answers to her homework the other day! Cheeky!
When my grandparents were growing up, they didn’t even have a TV. They had to talk to each other. The only other form of entertainment was reading a book or gathering around to listen to the radio. If you wanted to make a call you had to be at home. During my formative years, there was no internet and my television only had four channels. I had to watch patiently through each advertisement. When my favourite series had a cliff hanger I had to wait until the following week to see what happened to the characters. Now, thanks to Netflix and Stan, the Millennials can just binge on a whole series without ads in just one sitting!
I remember passing handwritten notes in class to my friends with tick boxes with “yes” and “no” written at the bottom of the note for their reply. Today students communicate by simply texting from their mobile phones. If they want to get a hold of someone- BAM! Instant connection any time of day and anywhere in the world.
I think of my poor grandparents who immigrated to Canada from Europe as teenagers. They had no communication with their family and friends for months until their hand-written letters arrived. I noticed teaching primary school, that many kids today do not know how to address an envelope or spell the addresses correctly, due to the use of computers. Being on Instagram or Facetime is a much more preferred option than actual face to face time.
Even though it has solved certain problems in our lives a technological breakdown can easily cause one in ourselves, whether it be trying to get our banking done online or simply buying a ticket for a show. If there is a glitch in the system simple transactions can turn into long-winded complications. My children lost their minds when the TV remote went missing even though they could have easily got up from the couch and changed the channel with a button. Once it was found of course it was a great cause for celebration. That is until it is discovered that the batteries have gone flat.
When the internet stops working a first-world emotional meltdown invariably happens in many households. Last week my husband and I needed the internet at the same time. We were planning to sit all three children in front of YouTube to watch their favourite program to keep them occupied. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans?
“I can’t get on the net?” I whined to my husband sitting at my computer trying to upload a post to my blog.
“What? My Skype meeting is in 5 minutes.” He complained sitting with his laptop.
“Mummy the show stopped working!” Our youngest child wailed.
“Can someone fix it quickly!” Our second child demanded.
Our number three child didn’t say anything because she was too disappointed.
It is a daunting challenge for parents to decrease the technological stimuli in and out of the home, but it can be done. For instance, a friend of mine annually visits a farm with no WIFI. They discovered that if they disconnect, it helps them to reconnect as a family. Another family I know sets time limits on every device and does not allow phones or computers in the bedrooms.
Don’t get me wrong, I use technology just like most people. Ironically ‘I need it now’ to type up this story, post it on my blog and check my Instagram account!