Even those who don't consider themselves technologically savvy are living a life that is much more advanced than 27 years ago. During the mid-80's audio cassettes, VCRs, film cameras, road maps, encyclopedias, and word processors were the norm. The term "digital" was primarily used to describe Casio watches and calculators, with the first generation of dial-up modems just appearing. It makes it all quite amazing that a family in Ontario, Canada has set out to spend a whole year living a pre-digital lifestyle, turning back the clock to 1986...
As reported by the Toronto Sun:
Blair (26) and his girlfriend Morgan, 27, are pretending it’s 1986.
And they’re doing it because their kids – Trey, 5, and Denton, 2 – wouldn’t look up from their parents’ iPhones and iPads long enough to kick a ball around the backyard.
That’s why their house has banned any technology post-1986, the year the couple was born.
No computers, no tablets, no smart phones, no fancy coffee machines, no Internet, no cable, and – from the point of view of many tech-dependent folks – no life.
Even the family's home was built in the 1980's! Marty McFly would appreciate the family's effort, no doubt.
Without Wikipedia and other online sources, the family relies upon an encyclopedia set.
The family's experiment may sound a bit extreme, but the reasoning and impetus for setting out to live a pre-digital/internet lifestyle has some merits. Children today aren't nearly as active as previous generations, many foregoing playing outside with friends for the hypnotizing allure of digital entertainment on a daily basis. Today's parents are equally distracted by email, mobile devices, and an array of digital entertainment services pushing and pulling attention away from the family. In other words, a lot of us aren't interacting with the very people right in front of us.
Many opine about the "good old days", when distractions were fewer and personal interaction was the rule, not the exception (example: I don't even remember the last time I walked up to a bank teller since online banking was introduced). The family's year long experiment spotlights what we've given up as much as what we've gained during the Internet/mobile device era.
As our own Liz Giorgi discovered, even a single tech-free weekend offers insight and perspective only realized when there's no device to peek at throughout the day. Similarly, the Canadian couple notes, “We’re just closer, there’s more talking”, hinting we don't have to wait for National Day of Unplugging or a year's length sabbatical from tech to remember to be mindful of the world around us, instead of constantly checking in on the one on our screens.
A video profile and more about the Guelph family lives like it's 1986 available here.