My iPad broke up with me. I’m serious. It had a psychotic episode and started opening multiple pages at once, jumping between apps, it wouldn’t let me close anything down – nightmare.
Given that I recently wrote about how in the future humans wouldn’t be able to do anything for themselves and be complete slaves to technology, I feel this poses a problem as it would appear that the technology is now actively working against me.
I took the iPad to the I.T. dude and explained my iPad had gone psycho – he gave the screen a very thorough clean and then gave it back to me.
I said “Is that it?” as it appeared to be the I.T. equivalent of whacking the side of the TV to stop the picture jumping.
I.T. Dude: “Just try it now for a bit, see how it goes.”
As I walked out of the shop I thought: ‘Crikey Moses! Ruth Bernard [my mother] WAS right! All anything needs is a jolly good clean to vastly improve the situation!’ That worked for about two minutes and then it went berserk again. So I took it back to I.T. dude.
“Do you know what the problem is?” I asked him.
“Yeah … it doesn’t want you to touch it.”
In the immortal words of John McEnroe “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!” That’s right Dear Reader, now an inanimate object is so repelled by me it cannot function when I touch it. I haven’t been this disappointed since I found out one of the guys on death row in Bali got engaged. How does this happen?
I’m not totally dependent on technology anyway. I can happily function without my iPad, iPhone, laptop and multiple other devices. In fact, I enjoy E-toxing regularly. I E-tox whenever I visit my parents as the coverage at their place is woeful, and even when it does work Mum won’t have mobile phones at the dinner table. House rule.
Mum: “Are you a surgeon on call? Does somebody’s life depend on you?”
Me: “No but…”
Mum: “Then you don’t need to check your phone for half an hour. You’re not that important.”
My introduction to E-toxing
I first became familiar with the E-toxing concept when I attended a very posh health retreat where they starve you half to death and make you eat macrobiotic hand-fed ancient grains whilst you’re in the Crow pose.
This place had very strict rules. No alcohol, no caffeine, no dairy, no sugar, no technology and days started with a wakeup call at 5am for a fast-paced beach walk. I think it’s where Septa Unella worked before she moved to Kings Landing.
And while I did find some elements of the retreat like holidaying in beautiful prison, it was also quite liberating and these days I do try to have some technology-free time one day on a weekend.
The side effects
There has been a lot of research done on the negative effects of technology on your health. Did you know there’s now a medical condition known as “text neck syndrome”? And what about the mental issues? The promotion of narcissism and making people less empathetic – especially kids.
For me it’s more basic than that. The art of conversation is dying as it is without everyone having their eyes glued to their smartphone/device all the time, not being present for whatever it is they’re doing. I wouldn’t even get call waiting on my home phone because I thought it was rude – “Oh can you hang on please? There may be someone more interesting than you calling and I’d like to check so if that is the case, I can hang up on you and talk to them.”
This genius lady called Kate Unsworth is an expert in digital detoxing and her company took a bunch of high flyers to the middle of the Moroccan desert and took away all their devices. They had enjoyed two days of six star accommodation with technology at their fingertips and then they plonked them in the middle of nowhere for the next week.
What they discovered was their posture improved, they communicated more sincerely and effectively with each other, people CAN converse without Google to answer their every question, their memory improved AND all 35 of them slept better!
So if you think Dry July is tough what about an E-tox?
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.
Alex’s voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.