Tag Archives: computer

How more technology means less technology

28 Aug

A couple of days ago I got my first android smartphone. It’s low end, but I love it! I have had my piece of crap cellphone for several years – it’s so crap it even freezes when I text. And that’s all I do – text, use the alarm, and receive calls. I didn’t even make calls because it was too pricey. Not anymore. I scorn gadgetry… but now I am rather chuffed with my smartphone.

Here’s why I think it’s good for me and my son:

I spent too much time on the computer. I know this, yet I feel helpless to resist. As a single Mum, the computer is often my only contact with the “outside world”. When you live alone with a toddler who goes to sleep about 7pm every night, it can get pretty lonely. And even throughout the day I find myself checking emails a lot, even when he’s awake, because frankly, his conversational skills aren’t up to much. No matter how much you love someone it can be exhausting being with them all the time. And a 17 month old is very demanding of attention!

I feel pretty guilty about this. I feel guilty because my son deserves my attention and he is learning that the computer is pretty important to me. I feel guilty because sometimes I sit him on my lap and let him watch Sesame St songs on one half of the screen while I do things on the other half. I never wanted to plonk him in front of a screen. I feel guilty because it does stave off my boredom, and if I didn’t have that, I’d probably think of more creative things to do that would be better for the both of us.

So here’s how my new phone helps with all that. I have synced my Gmail and Facebook accounts to my phone. This means that I get a bleep every time I get an email, as well as texts. I don’t even have to read the emails, but I can see who it’s from and what it’s about, and decide to ignore it or check it, without going back and forward to the computer. Yesterday I was having a conversation with my friend on Facebook and I decided to take the baby for a walk. I didn’t have to stop the conversation, I just took it with me! My son was perfectly happy walking along without my talking to him all the time – in fact I think he’d prefer if I left him to it! Both our needs were met.

My computer time has been drastically reduced. It’s much easier and more discreet to check my phone than to check my computer. And I’m not replacing computer screen time with phone screen time, I’m just not having as much screen time full stop. I find it easier to completely forget about it all until my phone bleeps, and even then I am able to ignore emails more than I would if I was on the computer.

And of course it has other cool features.

So that is my story of how my smartphone has helped with the thing I feel most guilty about – time on the computer.

I don’t have a television

14 Jun

It is awesome.

I’ve never been a big television watcher; in fact I don’t think I’ve personally owned a TV. But I can’t think of anywhere I have lived where there hasn’t been one. Oh, there was that hippy flat for 6 months which didn’t have a TV.

Photo from English Photography. I'd much rather stick my child on a couch in a field of sunflowers than in front of a TV. Wouldn't you?

This is the first time in my life I have deliberately had no TV. What’s the point? I am not interested in watching it, it would just take up space. It might possibly tempt me at some point in the future to stick my active, intelligent, creative child in front of it as a babysitter. Letting him grow up with TV as a big influence in his life is something I swore I’d never do. So far I haven’t. But who knows. Sometimes removing the temptation (I just need a few minutes to cook dinner…) is the most effective form of self control.

I must confess here that I do still watch Desperate Housewives online. (Why? I don’t know. I enjoy it. I’m hooked. But I’ve deliberately not got hooked on other programmes!) And I would be a much grumpier story if I had no computer.

That being said, I am definitely in an unusual situation here. I have only one friend I can think of who doesn’t have a television in her house. It was a deliberate choice for them too. In fact, I have been offered no less than 3 TV’s since moving here a few weeks ago. I’m amazed, although not surprised, that it is considered such an essential household item. I’m proud to not own a TV.