A couple of weeks ago I interviewed my family member, Marie. To quickly recap, Marie was born in Italy in the early sixties and used to be glued to her neighbours black and white television set every other afternoon.
Today we revisit this story as Marie and I sit down again to discuss the internet and its impact on her family and their consumption of television. After a brief chat about the NBN, Marie explains to me the impacts of the internet she has witnessed within her family home. Complaining about how her children use their mobile phones at the dinner table, she also comments on the fact that it at once divides and unites her with her children. “They’re always on their phones” (Marie 2016), this was a repeated statement as the conversation went on. Rambling mostly about negative things, when I asked her if she believed the internet resulted in her seeing her children less, she agreed. I’m sure she is not the only mother that believes this and a survey ran across Great Britain revealed that despite sending an average of 5 800 text messages to their children each year, parents are only spending around one hour of face-to-face time with them, and 63% admitted they would like more (Gray 2016).
Is this concerning? I think so.
I am the first to admit it, I spend quite a bit of time on my phone. I find myself looking up from the endless Facebook feed to find my mum mid sentence begging for my eye-contact. Are we losing touch with our parents? Is the internet driving us apart?
This exact problem is what global group The Human Connection Movement is trying to combat, hosting events in over 140 cities the group provides spaces for mere strangers to come and simply stare into each other’s eyes. The aim of the movement is “…to counteract a world of constant information, video, text and sound” (Perpitch 2015).
(Source: The Human Connection Movement)
What I found most interesting when talking to Marie was her belief that the internet made her children grow up faster. Speaking from my own experience I can understand how she would believe this. Growing up in a generation where the internet evolved around me I can recall how different my life was before we had WiFi at home. Now with 83% of people being internet users, and 97% of those people accessing the internet at home (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013) I simply can’t imagine a world without it.
We live in a world of great technological innovations and while the hustle and bustle is exciting, is human connection the cost for all this glory? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Now quit reading this blog and go and give someone you love a big hug, they are probably missing you!
Until next time,
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012-13, Household Use of Information Technology, Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed 21 August 2016, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/DE28AB7779067AACCA257C89000E3F98?opendocument>.
Gray, R 2016, ‘Do you spend more time with your phone than your family? Parents and children exchange 5,800 texts and 260 emails a year’, Daily Mail Australia, 22 April, viewed 21 August, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3550241/Do-spend-time-phone-family-Parents-children-exchange-5-800-texts-260-emails-year.html>.
Marie Troncone (2016), interviewed by Jake Troncone, interviewed on 20 August.
Perpitch, N 2015, ‘Meet the eye: Experiment seeks to bring human connection to public space’, ABC News, 15 October, viewed 21 August, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-15/experiment-seeks-to-bring-human-connection-to-public-world/6858834>.