TRACEY SPICER’S DIGITAL DETOX
Suddenly, my hands started shaking.
I began swiping surfaces with my finger. Then panic set in.
What if I needed to know the population of Kazakhstan?
The weight of the nest of a bald eagle?
How to spell antidisestablishmentarianism?
We’d decided to go on a digital detox in the wilderness of Wyoming, in America’s midwest. Life was becoming a series of interactions with inanimate objects. (Yes, Wendy, I’d started talking to the toaster!)
Upon waking, I couldn’t wait to check Twitter. Facebook was next. Then emails. Only after that would I say “good morning” to my family.
Was is insecurity? Ego? Vanity? Probably a combination of all three. But it was clear, technnology was taking over our lives.
After an hour-long session on the Nintendo DS my son looked like a junkie, strung out and desperate for another hit. I caught my clever daughter sitting slack-jawed on the loungeroom floor, watching passive female characters being patronised by the ‘hero’ on Cartoon Network.
And this is in a family which only allows ‘technology time’ for two hours of a weekend. Enough. So we packed up and went to the remote Rocky Mountains.
If the US is a couple of years ahead of Australia, this is our future. At LA airport, most passengers juggled three devices: a phone, tablet and iPod. And it’s not just corporate travellers.
Technology is the new smoking, giving everyone something to do with their hands.
Upon arrival in Denver, I asked the taxi driver whether he had a street directory. “Whaaaa?” he asked. He proceeded to look up the address on his mobile phone, while travelling 75 miles an hour on a five-lane highway.
This is by no means unusual. AT&T has paid for road safety ads on TV, preparing a defence for future lawsuits.
One of the biggest-selling books in town is Goodnight iPad, a parody of Goodnight Moon.
Each page, parents lament about tearing technology away from their kids so they can go the f#*k to sleep.
Phones are as disposable as, well, cigarette packets. You can get an all-inclusive package on a throwaway mobile phone for $25 a month, with no contract.
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