Teenagers panicking about hair in a global pandemic | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

The same family challenges still exist, even with the latest computer and mobile phone technology.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 11:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 11:07 am
Teenagers - they are the same the world over Picture: PA Photo/iStock

There probably isn’t anyone left in the western world who isn’t fed up hearing about Zoom online chats, or the challenges of Microsoft Teams, or the hilarious antics that can be had on the mobile app House Party.

As a footnote, my dad got House Party, the app that allows you to see when people you know are online and having fun and you can gate-crash their event.

I think the first time he used it to join my eldest sister and her friends, he was seen as cute and eccentric.

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He overstayed his welcome but everyone was guzzling wine and the feature was still in the novelty phase.

Three more uninvited parties crashed and he was given a final warning.

One of the downsides of these clever apps is that anyone can use them. They’re not like programming a video in the 1980s.

That required a university degree coupled with the mathematical ability of Professor Brian Cox.

Nowadays, all you need is a slightly arthritic thumb and you’ll be able to access the very latest events on the planet.

When they (clever tech science boffs) finally get voice recognition to actually work, rather than encouraging shouting and speaking like you have a foreign student, then we’re all in trouble.

Anyway, the latest tech may be allowing some sense of extra connectivity but you still have to get everyone to look at the screen.

You know the adverts, where families are all online saying hello to friends in South Africa while they get on famously on the sofa.

What isn’t seen is the following element.

When I call my family to ‘come downstairs to the computer, we’re Zooming grandma and grandad’ the replies come in thick and fast.

The first is usually, ‘I can’t, I haven’t straightened my hair!’ or ‘I’m still in my pyjamas, I’ll have to get changed’ even though it’s 3.30pm and about 25 degrees. The second is: ‘I’m in the middle of a game!’

We’ve also had ‘I’ll join the Zoom on my computer upstairs, can you invite me?’

Can I invite a member of my own family who is upstairs to an online meeting so they don’t have to walk downstairs and sit with their own mum and dad?! The world’s gone mad.

My wife assures me that these are age-appropriate events and I need to choose my battles.

I wonder whether the fact that I find the whole situation irritating is, in fact, me having an ‘age-appropriate event’.

Do you think there are ages and stages for every age and stage?

My daughter asked if future online conversations could be e-mailed to her, so she can put them in her diary.

We can’t go anywhere. How on earth could these brief meetings be getting in the way of anything?

When we actually met people face to face BC (Before Corona) we would call ‘grandma and grandad are here, come and say hello!’ and the reply could often be ‘I’m straightening my hair, I’ll be there in a bit’ or ‘I’m in the middle of a game’, or ‘what am I going to wear everything’s in the wash’.

You see innovation created by adults in Silicon Valley may cause multi-millionaires to high five and dream of becoming multi-billionaires.

They may have created a digital platform with all the bells and whistles, but human teenagers remain exactly the same.

We’re going on a Nessie hunt

You may not be aware but there is an official register for a genuine sighting of the Loch Ness Monster – the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register.

I’ve never been to Loch Ness and I would love to go. I believe there is a monster in those well documented and surveyed waters.

But so far there is no proof, and it is in fact just a loch.

I have always wanted to add my name to the list of experts who have waited patiently to take a surprisingly always grainy picture of what could be anything appearing from the loch.

I like the idea of camping out and staring for hours, holding my nerve, camera poised.

It might not be for everyone but I think it sounds like a week away well spent.

Some people doubt the existence of the creature from the deep but let me hit you with some hard data.

The last official sighting this year was by Eoin O’Faodhagain, from Drumdoit. He has the last official approved photo.

Before him it was… Eoin O’Faodhagain. In fact, he’s the only one who’s seen it this decade. Last decade more sightings came from Eoin O’Faodhagain.

So, doubters, time to stop doubting. If you’ve discovered that lockdown is right up your street, then come and join me and Eoin in Scotland.

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