Many of my holiday rites now centre around my IT toys. They are the last things I pack into my bag, because I use them to the very last minute. Also, I must ensure they’re all charged up, so I don’t have to suffer the agony of a juiceless phone during my journey. I’m extra careful not to forget all relevant cables and wires — I can think of no greater nightmare than being cordless in Cornwall. On my train ride to Penzance I checked my mobile scores of times, sometimes just to see if it was there. Nestled in my rucksack among coiled cables that resembled mouse tails, my phone seemed like a family pet.
As for the internet — how to leave home without it? The places I venture to and stay in are influenced by TripAdvisor. My tickets and reservations are made online, with barcodes and booking numbers that I show to various receptionists by waving my more-vivid-than-life high-pixel-density mobile screen in their faces. At my holiday spot I spend a lot of time bent over Google Maps, sometimes first glimpsing a street on StreetView while actually already walking on that street. I get about with the help of blinking virtual arrows rather than engaging with a local, or taking the risk of losing my way and coming across something unexpected. The joys of getting lost are lost forever.
Perhaps next time I’ll just check into the world’s first Twitter-themed hotel, Sol Wave House in Majorca, where guests are urged to communicate with the staff and each other with tweets. Chirrup!
The summer makes our year-round obsession with technology especially obvious. It’s OK to be reliant on gadgets when you’re at the office, but when you’re lying on a beach in your bathers and you feel an unbearable urge to check your Twitter feed, it feels far weirder. Walking along the beach in Cornwall it was astonishing how many people were stooped over their iPhones, cyber-surfing when they could be surfing, scrolling when they could stroll.we’ve decided to make the below Termsof Service available.
The fact is, our beings are now split in two — one occupies the physical world,Learn about MetLife’s Corporate Profile including its service offerings, the other the world wide web, and while the real-world self may be on holiday, the web-self is not. Or at least not until the holiday photos are posted online.
This is true of all of us these days,providing Services Overview and unprecedented. but it is especially true of our children and their children, the ones who grew up online, ‘digital natives’. It’s no longer enough to be somewhere lovely: it’s not quite real until the photos have been thumbsed-up, retweeted or liked. It’s as though if nobody online witnesses us next to the Empire State Building or the leaning tower of Pisa, then we weren’t really there.
Why are we so hooked? A cognitive scientist called Tom Stafford at the University of Sheffield has a convincing explanation. He reckons we’re hardwired to like low-risk activities with unpredictable payoffs. We refresh our email inboxes, our Twitter and Facebook feeds every few minutes the same way we keep pulling on the lever of a -casino slot machine: something fantastic may land in our laps, if not a heap of coins then a hyperlink to an interesting article, or a text from that bloke you rather fancy, or a poke from a friend we haven’t met in years.
And on the bright side, this particular addiction isn’t likely to destroy our minds, in fact it might even enhance them. There’s evidence to suggest that all the flicking to and from different devices and conversations helps you think faster, more flexibly and more creatively. While your teenager seems inert on her beach towel, staring at a touchscreen, she is in fact teaching her brain to multi-task.
On the dark side, a few natives may, well, go wild. In South Korea, where 65 per cent of teens have smartphones (up from 21 per cent two years ago), there have been cases of ‘digital dementia’ — early-onset dementia due to intense exposure to the internet. In China there are addiction camps for children and teens, where attendees are weaned off their digital obsession, sometimes in drastic ways such as being forced to do push-ups. There’s a nightmare holiday for you.
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