Yesterday when I spoke to my sister Ade on MSN, she commented that Ivan is online until very early morning. I told her he is never offline, even when he is asleep. Mike had asked the two boys to prove that they are not addicted by not using the internet for one day. They claimed it would be easily done, but since there was no enforcement on Mike’s part, they did not even bother to try.
On Oprah recently, Oprah conducted an experiment – What you can live without? One family, all gadget addicts, had to give up on electronics for seven days and not eat take out. Usually, Father Ron comes home to TV everynight. Mom is on the net and texting, 11-year-old RJ is in his room playing PSP, watching TV or computer games, and 14 year old Christine is in her room chatting on her phone and internet. At dinner time, all of them wouldl each take a disposable plate of takeout to their room. When Oprah’s van came to collect the gadgets, there were protests and tears. The teen asked mom, what do you expect me to do? Read a book?
The first few days were tortourous. Everyone was bored. But by the end of seven days, they were talking to each other, supported RJ on his baseball practise and soccer games, and had time to walk the dog as a family. Oprah sprang a surprise on them on the day of the big return. She’d keep the electronics for another seven days, if the family agrees. There was a meeting and suprise surprise – only mom disagreed.
One month after the experiment, the family are spending less time on gadgets, eating dinner together and bonding better. When Oprah polled the audience to see who would take part in the experiment, half said yes and the other half said no.
This show touched a nerve with me. During the school holidays, the boys would be cooped up in their room, appearing only when it’s time for meals. To create family time, i suggested watching Money Not enough 2 together. My friend Guet had lent me her disc and insisted I watched it, if possible with the family. The fact that it’s about a mother’s sacrifice for her three sons and their eventual treatment towards were quite ironical, isn’t it? On the surface, the sons appeared very caring, but deep down, the mother was a burden, to be passed from one son to another every few days, until they needed her money. To give them credit, the boys obeyed. Jack Neo’s movie is quite funny and the boys actually enjoyed the show.
It’s really difficult to have family time when the TV is constantly on. Every Saturday on our visit, Ah kong and ah ma, as well as the other aunts and uncles would be glued to the TV watching Taiwanese drama 愛 while the two boys are in another room watching Channel 5, and the younger kids in another room playing. Even during the great switch off, we continued watching TV in the dark.
So, what about me? Can I live without my gadgets? Quite easily. Just give me a book.