I can remember when I first saw the internet.
It was in a university library nearly 20 years ago and the website looked more like a Word document than anything we’d associate with t’internet nowadays.
Fast forward a couple of decades and my young children find it unthinkable when I tell them that I grew up without it.
Much as the world survives perfectly well without these things (and, in some instances, is better, as there is of course a darker side to the worldwide web), I can’t help but think that homework would have been somewhat easier, so I do see their point.
However, with the internet came an explosion of technology.
I only had a mobile phone at first for emergencies.
Then texting began and my friends and I were all entirely sucked in.
Phones went from vast, to the tinier the better, to slightly larger and more like a compact computer in your pocket. And then the same thing happened to our watches.
The fact that all this occurred in a short space of time leaves you boggling sometimes at what could happen over the next century.
Where will people be in 100 years?
Social media sprang from the advent of our telecommunications, again both good and bad.
Bullying, criminal activity, abusive activity; all have been given an outlet via the internet.
Imagery that once stood a chance of being regulated is at the fingertips of impressionable teenagers.
It’s deemed appropriate to take continual photos of yourself – but is that any worse than the photo booth pictures we all used to cram in for with our mates back in the 1990s?
Difference being, of course, that one was generally clad in clothing when sat in the booth outside Allders in Commercial Road, and unlikely to have it spread around the entire school afterwards.
On reflection, I am perhaps glad that I grew up in an age minus the internet and social media.
Less pressure, more social contact and less chance of making comments you later regret in a moment of high emotion, in a forum for all to see.
IT SEEMS HARDER AND HARDER FOR PEOPLE TO RELAX NOWADAYS
In France, there is now a law establishing workers’ right to disconnect from the workplace.
It states that any company with in excess of 50 employees must firmly establish specific hours when staff should not send or answer e-mails.
The aim of this is to ensure that employees are fairly paid for work, and to enable them to switch off from the workplace by protecting their personal and private time. It should also help to prevent burnout.
As someone who receives texts and e-mails 24/7, I can see the appeal. But then again, as someone who receives them, I also therefore send them.
It seems harder and harder for people to relax these days – another result of our ever-increasing technology.
CUE PASSING ON OF IPHONE AND STRICT PAY-AS-YOU-GO BUDGET
I have so far not allowed either of my children to have their own mobile phone.
This is mainly on the basis that they simply don’t need them (the eldest Facetimes her best mate from the iPad anyway).
But it’s also due to the fact that I deem them too young to be able to make appropriate or safe decisions regarding social media, who is contacting them and the high level of bullying that goes on via mobiles and all that they can access.
However, my eldest daughter starts secondary school in September and she’s worked out that this conveniently coincides with my contract running out and my upgrade being due.
Cue the passing on of my iPhone to her and a very strict pay-as-you-go budget!