Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Sharing simultaneous experiences - or not...

Just read a scary article this morning whilst waiting to see the GP [now that's another post for later...]:

2014 will see fewer of us actually sitting around the TV together. The days of everyone sharing the experience of a common interest eg Dr Who; Strictly...; the X Factor, etc but actually experiencing it together are over.

We will see families who may be in the same room but are watching completely different material, via our ipods, ipads, mobile phones, notebook PCs, iPlayer [on the TV box!].

We now expect to access whatever we wish, whenever we wish, however we wish and we can even watch the same programme but at different times. We can no longer all sit down to watch an episode of Downton Abbey without wondering if someone has already seen it, or wants to watch it later [no spoiler alerts please].

Indeed, the days of watching an educational documentary and discussing it round the table afterwards seem to have vanished in a nostalgic haze. There seems no reason to discuss if we haven't all seen it together.

We can't then exchange ideas or opinions and as a result will we ever really get to understand even members of our own family? This is quite tragic, as we now won't be sitting down to eat together as we all have different meals at different times, from different sources. We are in danger of not getting to know our children and what makes them tick. How did the programme make them feel? What can we do to fix the issues highlighted? Did you find the monsters even remotely scary? Why did that make you laugh?

Is there even an issue here? I think there is - we now have no reason to share anything. Once our children get up and become physically independent, we could easily find ourselves more remote from each other than ever, even if we are all still living under the same roof. It will be all too easy to take the lazy [read "human"] way out and just go with the flow, or we will have to regiment ourselves to organise family mealtimes so that we have at least one day a week to be together without any distractions [for the Alley Cat family, that's traditional Sunday roast round the table in the dining room - no TV, no music. OK so there's lots of bickering, but hey that's part of being a family - you can agree to disagree but it doesn't mean anyone has to back down! - another blog?!]; we'll also need to structure our chat around what we may and may not have seen or heard, to allow for anyone to catch up using 'on-demand' before we discuss Radio Three's concert, or get comments from facebook to use as ammunition!

I'm not sure that this is progress? It sounds dangerously as if families, already split geographically in most cases, will now be split further by the lack of opportunity to actually share a simultaneous experience.

How can we ensure that we not only live together but share together in this brave future of individualism and self-centred experiences? Over to you...

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