Introducing: Kara’s thoughts

Should we resist using technology in 2020?

The smart solutions are all via new technology,
but what if we’re really not sure about all that?

To combat the limitations that Covid-19 restrictions have recently imposed, many people are turning to tech.

But some of us suspect that new technology will be responsible for bad things happening to us, and the world as a whole, and want no part of it.

Tech consumes resources; it threatens our security and our health. We are irritated by antisocial tinny’ sounds, vibrations and constant interruptions, so why would we want to get involved with that?

Besides, learning to use it is bound to be challenging, and we’re not confident we could do it, even if we wanted to.

The whole world seems to be embracing new technology
(or being hypnotised by it)

People glued to their phones on the 'drain'
Pre-covid commuters on The Waterloo & City line

Must we join them?

‘There is nothing wrong with the way we do things; it is the way we have always done it!’

Yet, in the wake of the Covid-19, our insistence sounds hollow.

The problem is that if we don’t embrace new technology, we are left out. Neighbours are talking on our street’s ‘WhatsApp chat’; people tell us how easy ‘online shopping’ is. Gossip is gleaned via ‘FaceBook feeds’; the group we belong to are meeting up by ‘Zoom’ this month, and everyone else is following online fitness classes or watching Sadler’s Wells on ‘YouTube’.

Our computers are turned of, our phones and tablets tucked away without a charge; but to maintain our connections with the people and communities, we care about… is now the time to step up?

I think it is. I think it’s time to carefully consider how to mitigate prior misgivings and learn to do the best we can with what we’ve got.

a conscientious approach

to get the most out of tech and dodge pitfalls

Suggestions for utilising technology in an acceptable way

  • Analyse our use of tech tools: they should be more than a distraction or a comforter; don’t turn to them to relieve boredom, exhaustion and other negative moments – they are amazing tools to support the following real-life activities and priorities. Our tech can:
    • Allow us to stay connected: bridging ‘Lockdowns’, distances, time and language differences (via messaging, sending images, moving images calls and video meetings)
    • Act as a transaction tool: to access products and services to give, share, buy and sell
    • Help us discover: knowledge, hobbies, friends and interests.
    • Keep us informed: When it will rain, which route will be best, what time do places close and what is the latest news?
    • Can help us to create and share: art and music, ideas, information, and stories.
    • Act as a personal assistant: be organised and productive with contacts, calendars, reminders and alarms.

  • Make it easier for ourselves:
    • Get the size that best suits our needs: make sure it’s a good fit and easy to hold, with a sufficient sized screen, with controls and buttons that are easy to locate and use
    • Learn the accessibility features and settings: to increase the size of the display, slow the speed of the click or tap, add subtitles and use tip reminders

  • Impose limits and restrictions – to combat negative affect on our health and mental wellbeing
    • Ringfence ‘downtime’ to interact in person, with real-world things and nature
    • Set time limits on individual apps
    • Ban it in certain situations (lock it away if need be) don’t have it at the table, or where we sleep
    • Set screen- time restrictions to enforce non-screen time for a minimum of two hours before we sleep (yes, two!)

  • Be responsible and considerate:
    • Pull up and turn the engine off, if we need to adjust the sat-nav, take a message, or a phone call and put phones away in our bag, or pocket when we cross the road.
    • Please focus on the people we are with; resist taking calls, listening to podcasts and checking for messages
    • Be as courteous, polite and considerate of other people’s feelings and opinions (when interacting with emails, texts and in online forums) as we would be in person.

  • Defend against criminals:
    • Keep updated about local dangers
    • Educate ourselves about potential threats online
    • Create rules for ourselves about the type of calls, messages or links to avoid responding to

  • Avoid turning into a Zombie; prevent the engineers in Silicon Valley from exploiting our cognitive weaknesses:
    • Learn to turn off notifications, or silence it when we don’t want to be disturbed
    • Practise being comfortable with stillness; without tech assistance
    • Exercise patience: while travelling, waiting and queuing, and avoid checking smartphones
    • Maintain daily exercise and fitness routines

  • Become eco friendly – we can offset some of the impacts our tech has on the world’s resources by adjusting our personal consumption of all things, not just tech:
    • Carefully consider every item that we let into our lives and whether we truly need it; consider the credentials of the manufacturing process, how effectively it can be recycled, the resources used and those that can be reclaimed at the end of its life.
    • Recycle all that we can especially tech! If it’s broken recycle it, but if not and we’ve stopped using it, pass it on before it’s obsolete.
    • Choose sustainable options regarding everything we consume: from rechargeable batteries to smarter travel.
    • Avoid cheap tech – it’s a false economy if it doesn’t last, and will need replacing (generating the production of more.) Restricting ourselves to a select few, well-designed items, will benefit everyone
    • Remember to turn it off when it’s not needed; use reduced power settings, low light and sound levels whenever appropriate, close apps that we’re not using and stop charging when the battery’s full
    • Please switch to a renewable energy supply; power our homes and devices using: Solar, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal and Biomass energies.

Start with the simple steps

It doesn’t need to happen all at once; it doesn’t need to be a crash course.

Begin with the basics: an explanation here and a new word there, and by practising simple moves and regular use, it will all soon become second nature.

Technology as our Ally

There have never been more compelling reasons for us to embrace these smart little tools.

Let’s start now!

We are no longer scared Luddites; we are now keeping up, staying in touch and showing others how we use technology

Join our community

Get more out of the process by joining others who are in the same boat, and have fun learning to use tech together.

The confidence gained from learning new skills will allow us all to see ourselves in a new light.