Move With The Times Researchers

The latest research – apparently we old timers are becoming “addicted” to our iPhones!
First the middle aged (I can only assume) researchers attacked the young for being “addicted” to IT equipment and now it is us oldies.

But the middle aged carers of children and the elderly have always been a bit condescending! I ask them to think back.

Socrates, who condemned the new fangled idea of writing and reading, used to advocate forums in public places, lightened from time to time with a spot of hemlock drinking. My mother remembered parental worries, as she was in her late teens, that the new fangled “wireless” might have a negative effect on her study during her last year at school.

For me, in the 1940s and 50s my parents limited my time on the newish telephones. Also my time reading was limited – but I used to circumvent this restriction by hiding under the bed covers with a torch. ( I avoided any greenish vegetable like plant that could conceivably be related to hemlock.)

Now days both children, and sensible older people avoid the various hiccups we used to have whilst being involved in EXACTLY the same activities.

If we want to find out information we do not have to go to a heavy encyclopaedia or a dictionary, fight with our sibling about who has first go, and then look it up. We can google it. Then we can resume reading the ebook that we had been previously absorbed in. If we think of a plan and need to contact a friend for a coffee or a “play date”, we just interrupt our book at the end of a paragraph or chapter to ring or message. We do not have to even nominate the meeting place to specifically as we can be in touch by device at the approximate meeting place.

If we want to watch something on TV we no longer have to fight for the possession of the remote or argue about the program. We can get this on our device. In fact we move from activity to activity just as we always have, but smoothly at our own speed and convenience, on the same device.

Some talk of the lack of physical movement this involves. But much of the movement, such as arguing or fighting with siblings, parents or children about who has possession of or rights to what was in demand at the time, was certainly neither pleasant nor particularly aerobic.

Outdoor activities have not been curtailed. Older people like me can count our steps, measure our distance and even listen to music or the radio as we walk our dogs or otherwise enjoy our leisure. Children can more easily round up a scratch team for kicking a ball up at the local oval or arrange a meander through the bush to get information for a school project.

From my observation we older people and the young ones are all doing much as we have always done from time immemorial – exchanging ideas, making plans, being sociable, enjoying life with others – but now all from one handy device, not having to move from phone to TV to bookcase nearby, to the library at inconvenient times (they have all moved into ebook lending now!)

And best of all – no longer do we have to look up street addresses and maps. We are not having to pull over to the side of the road to see where we have gone wrong. One is gently chided “return to the route” before instructions recommence.

And for the odd time when one has to do something new (and for children I must imagine this is an even greater joy) the device will tell you how. It will explain how to knit poppies just as well as how to change blades in an electric saw. I had a bit of trouble resetting something after a blackout recently. The joy of listening to (or merely reading) the instructions is great. Never once does a device say “That’s perfectly simple” or ask “Do you really not know how to do that?”

One does not have to remember to take a pen everywhere. One’s reading glasses will be reliably near one’s device.

And very best of all for a poor speller such as myself. One can check one’s spelling as one writes!

Accept the new life, middle aged researchers. Ponder (or research) whether perhaps devices just make you feel a little less important and in control?


About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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