My friend Ronnie Apteker published a book 1999 called “Do you love IT in the morning?” and this was a great play on words because it could imply “it” as in perhaps sex or “IT” as in “Information Technology.” Sadly this book is now out of print and I remember picking up over 50 copies a few years ago for R5 each when CNA was clearing their old stock.
Anyway his central theme was called the progress paradox. What that means is the more technology we invent, the better it becomes, the more it supposedly improves our lives, and yet we find we have less time to do things than we’ve ever had before. Professor Barry Schwartz also confirmed this in his 2005 book, The Paradox of Choice.
Why am I reminding you of something you so inherently know to be true? Because I would like you to join me in my campaign called “Switch IT Off” – which advocates ONE, just ONE Technology FREE day per week. And I’m very, very serious when I mean that you switch off ALL technology that is based on computers from your cellphones, your iPod, your PC, your laptop and maybe even your television and your hifi. Perhaps you can imagine being on a camping trip for that one day where you only have access to the bare necessities.
In case you find this difficult and secretly suffer from an addiction to technology here’s my solution:
The 12-STEP programme to reducing Technology Stress:
- I admit I am powerless over my cellphones and without it my life becomes unmanageable.
- I believe that only a Power greater than Eskom could restore my sanity.
- I made a decision to turn my backups over to the care of Google.
- I made a searching and fearless moral inventory of downloaded TV shows.
- I admitted to myself and others the exact nature of my mp3 collection.
- I have Microsoft remove all these defects in my character.
- I humbly asked Bill Gates to remove my shortcomings.
- I made a list of all persons spammed, and I became willing to make amends to them all.
- I made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- I continue to take personal inventory and when I was wrong promptly admitted it.
- I sought through meditation to improve my conscious contact with Google, praying for knowledge for me and the power to carry that out.
- I am having an spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, an I forward this message to all my friends to practice these principles in all my affairs.
On a more serious note, research from the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2005 found that cellphones increasingly blurs the line between family time and work time for both men and women. So what typically happens is that work related stress spills over into family time and the opposite is also true for women, where family problems spill over into work time. This decreased family satisfaction and increased stress over a two-year period. The researchers said that as the use of cell phones becomes increasingly prevalent, the line between family and work life will continue to blur.
You know in life your parents likely taught you how to cross the road by looking left, right and left again. But think about it, nobody teaches us how to cross the information superhighway. This 12-step programme is my way to bring order to the chaos, and helping your choose between the ONE (True/Yes) and the ZERO (No/False). So which one will it be?