I come from the analogue generation. Television used to be broadcast in 405 lines. Recorded
music pressed out on vinyl. Typing was done on a red Olivetti portable and my Olympus
OM1 used 35mm role film and of course the artwork for my design creations was produced
in mechanical form using little more than some board a surgical scalpel and some rather
smelly Cow Gum.
The digital age changed all that. But only for some. Many of my contemporaries positively bristle with pride at the fact that they don’t get within 3 meters of a Macintosh. In fact many can hardly work out the functions on a mobile phone let alone the TV remote. Not me, I positively enjoy embracing the new, even though at times it can be a trial. But I have slowly come to realise that I am digitally addicted. We’ve had, shopping, alcohol, drugs, betting, food, and sex addiction. Now we have new temptations - Internet dating, email, Wikipedia, iTunes, Facebook, Google, Skype, eBay, Twitter, gaming and blogging (Okay I know) etc to become addicted to.
Apparently the average time a person spends at the computer each day is 6 to 8 hours. So the worse case scenario is almost 3000 hours or 121 days per year. Imagine sitting in front of your Mac for 3 months 24. 7. And designers, because of the nature of their work, spend even more time looking at that seductive screen. Isn’t it a bit crazy? In a report published this week
by the Mental Health Foundation it highlighted concerns that technology is being used as a replacement for genuine human interaction. Nearly a third of young people questioned for the report said they spent too much time communicating with friends and families online when they should see them in person. This is a very sad.
Do you think you might be addicted?
Here’s a simple test. Can you walk past your Mac without checking your email? Likewise
can resist those little alerts from your iPhone or Blackberry? Do you text message when
having lunch or supper with friends or even in bed? The number of times I have seen people
texting while crossing the road completely oblivious the dangers. Do you get regular
headaches or dry eyes? Do you have any time or space away from your digital gismos? To
find out more I have added a link to an addiction test at the foot of this post.
When I got back to my house in Dorset last month I discovered that my Internet was down. It stayed that way for eleven days. For the first couple of days I had major withdrawal symptoms. But on the third day all was tranquil and I started to do all those things that I used to do pre Internet. I had more time on my hands to do stuff. One moment I was in the
garage cutting up wood and being very macho. The next on my knees planting lavender and being aware that summer was revealing itself all around me - something you miss when glued to that screen. I sorted out old clothes and odds and ends to give to the local charity shop. I reorganised my cupboards. Spoke to friends on the telephone. Read. And also took quite a lot of pleasure from just looking at the sky. It was all good. And I realised what I had been missing, what the digital age had robbed me of. So now I am trying to digitally ration myself in favour of a more analogue way of the world. You should give it a try sometime if only to discover that you are digitally addicted. Oh yes my internet finally got fixed, after a bevy of engineers, trucks and a lot of head scratching. It turned out to be squirrels; they’d gnawed their way through the wires on the telegraph pole. Now that’s what I call analogue.
Now check here for an addiction test
And just as you thought it was safe to go back into the water, along comes this man with yet another temptation...