Being a parent in the 21st century comes with a set of challenges no prior generation could have possibly imagined.
I was recently informed by my 15-year-old son that “all relationships start with texting these days.” I countered his claim by suggesting that a man has never needed anything but engaging eyes and a smile if he has game. He didn’t get it. I wasn’t surprised.
One father in Guelph, Ontario, can empathize with the plight of parents raising kids in the age of information. So much so, he decided to embark on a little social experiment.
Blair McMillan became frustrated when his five-year-old son suggested it was more fun to sit inside with an iPad than to go outside and play. McMillan experienced something of an epiphany: constant screen time was the accepted reality of his children’s generation.
Instead of simply taking away the technology, and telling his two boys to get outside and play, he decided he’d take the whole family back to the year he was born to live for a year without any modern technology. Blair, his girlfriend and two sons have adopted a lifestyle based on the newest offerings of 1986.
Blair and the boys have grown out mullets, and as you can see, Blair has accompanied his beautiful mane with a sweet ‘stache. The family has done away with cell phones, iPads, iPods and even contemporary television technology. They have a console TV and don’t get extended cable. For music, they rock out to cassette tapes on the incredible pink boom box pictured above. And here’s the biggie: The family has also done away with Internet in their home and GPS in their cars. When they take trips, they use a map. How novel.
The benefits? McMillan says his family spends a lot more time together talking and creating family memories. When they want to speak to people they know, they call by land line, write and send a letter through the post, or simply drop by and knock on someone’s door. The family will continue their experiment until April 2014.