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Toronto Family Bans All Technology In Their Home Made After 1986

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the have-you-tried-super-mario-bros-yet? dept.

Technology 534

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Mary Am Shah reports in the Toronto Sun that 26-year-old Blair McMillan has banned any technology in his house post-1986, the year he and his girlfriend Morgan were born. They're doing it because their kids – Trey, 5, and Denton, 2 – wouldn't look up from their parents' iPhones and iPads long enough to kick a ball around the backyard. 'That's kind of when it hit me because I'm like, wow, when I was a kid, I lived outside,' says Blair adding that now 'we're parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it's like.' The McMillans do their banking in person instead of online. They develop rolls of film for $20 each instead of Instagramming their sons' antics. They recently traveled across the United States using paper maps and entertaining their screaming kids with coloring books and stickers, passing car after car with TVs embedded in the headrests and content infants seated in the back. Their plan is to continue living like it's 1986 until April 2014. Morgan, who admits she thought her boyfriend was 'crazy,' now devours books to pass the time and only uses a computer at work. 'I remember the day before we started this, I was a wreck and I was like I can't believe I have to delete my Facebook!' Blair originally experienced a form of phantom pain for the first few days after giving up his cellphone. 'The strangest thing without having a cellphone is that I could almost feel my pocket vibrating and I wanted to check my pocket.' Still Morgan says the change has been good for their family's spirit. 'We're just closer, there's more talking,'"

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534 comments

they are doing it wrong (5, Insightful)

Werrismys (764601) | about 10 months ago | (#44858493)

I was fishing with my 4year old today. We both catched a fish. He was more interested in the fish and the worms and the sea than any iPads or other post-1986 crap around.

Re: they are doing it wrong (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858543)

But post-1986 technology can help illiterates correct their grammar errors.

Re: they are doing it wrong (0, Troll)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 10 months ago | (#44858651)

Did you not have a dictionary before 1986?

Re: they are doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858845)

Back before 1986 I had hands and eyes that actually worked. Thanks for your sympathy.

Re: they are doing it wrong (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 10 months ago | (#44858991)

At least back then the DeLorean would have existed so that those poor kids can get BACK TO THE FUTURE.

Re: they are doing it wrong (5, Interesting)

Zanadou (1043400) | about 10 months ago | (#44858787)

Three score barrels of powder below,

Poor old England to overthrow:

By God's providence he was catch'd

With a dark lantern and burning match.

Re: they are doing it wrong (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858913)

Burma-Shave

Re: they are doing it wrong (1)

armanox (826486) | about 10 months ago | (#44858953)

Hey, it's not bonfire night yet! (American, and knew that poem without looking it up first)

Re:they are doing it wrong (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858557)

I hate to be pedantic, but, the past tense of fish is fush, and I am quite certain that your worms were dead too and the past tense of worm is spice.

Re:they are doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858747)

And you made an error yourself. The plural of worm is wormen.

Re:they are doing it wrong (5, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#44858975)

I hate to be pedantic, but, the past tense of fish is fush

Only in New Zealand.

Re:they are doing it wrong (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#44858665)

You should get them an iPad so they can learn that they didn't catched a fish.

USENET? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858513)

Can they still use the USENET using an IBM PC Compatible?

Re:USENET? (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 10 months ago | (#44858639)

Can they still use the USENET using an IBM PC Compatible?

Only Mennonites do that any more.

Re:USENET? (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#44858743)

Can they still use the USENET using an IBM PC Compatible?

Only Mennonites do that any more.

You might be closer than you think to the ways cults are started.

Some borderline Luddite over bearing parent imposes a rule that if something was good enough for their parents its good enough for their children, and another oddball sect is born.

These are all fun thought experiments, and maybe some people want to try it out, but purposely crippling your children's education and ability to function in the world in which they will have to survive is something akin to child abuse if you ask me. The only good part about it is the child is sure to rebel, and the parent's cockamamie ideas will extinguish as soon as the kid leaves home.

On the other hand, there is always a risk that these mildly wacky ideas take on the mantle of religion.
The exhortation that Women should be modest grew to into the current belief that women should be chattel in the muslim world simply because someone in a position of religious authority said it should be so.

Re:USENET? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858771)

Holy crap, dude it's only til next April. You need to chill WAY THE FUCK DOWN.

Re:USENET? (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 10 months ago | (#44858785)

I was only kidding! Everyone knows that the Mennonites are still using S100 bus machines.

Re:USENET? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858907)

god may be nonexistant but religion is what kept our society together in difficult times. Other then that why dont we just send mobile cavalry to kill'em luddities - after all progress is only for good right?

Re:USENET? (5, Insightful)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 10 months ago | (#44858955)

First off, the kids are not even in kindergarden yet (3 and 4 yr olds). They simply don't need electronics to teach them how to not interact with people, which is what these parents are doing. In fact, I'm quite happy to see a couple that's started taking back their lives from the continual interuptions of work and everyone else and actualy spending it with their children.

Re:USENET? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#44858997)

Yep, probably how the Amish got started.

Re:USENET? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 months ago | (#44858755)

Ignignokt: Where shall I drape this wet, primitive Earth towel?

Re:USENET? (5, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 10 months ago | (#44859013)

Can they still use the USENET using an IBM PC Compatible?

Well, you've inadvertantly raised an issue I've already commented on elsewhere. (*) Just because a technology existed or was theoretically available to people in 1986, doesn't mean it was likely that ordinary people would have it. The article states:-

“We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like,” Blair said.

For example, the issue I commented on was in response to someone saying that CDs existed in 1986. While this is true, they were still relatively expensive at the time- yuppies and audiophiles probably had one to play their copy of "Brothers in Arms" on, but Joe Average and his friends probably didn't. It would be another couple of years before they would start to take off in truly mass-market terms.

Mobile phones existed in 1986 [apeculture.com] , but they were bloody expensive to both buy and use, so even if you could get a Motorola brick to work with a modern network, it wouldn't have been an item that most people would have had at the time.

The Commodore Amiga computer mentioned later in the thread came out in 1985, but the original A1000 was expensive (RRP US $1300 on its release, plus another $300 for the monitor- double those to account for inflation) so I doubt most people would have had one. (The more affordable Amiga 500 that was massively popular in Europe at the end of the decade wasn't available until 1987).

The USENET reference you made? Better-off households may have had IBM PC compatibles (at least in the US) and some may have had access to dial-up proprietary walled-garden online services, but Internet access was *not* common then. Most people hadn't even heard of it back then, and probably couldn't have afforded it if they had.

Er... can you spot a pattern here?! :-)

The point I'm making is that if one simply wants to use technology that existed in 1986, then all these things and more qualify. But if one wants to represent the technological experience of an average person living at that time, then it's more questionable if they should be used.

(*) Nope, it's not a new story- sorry, folks!

Re:USENET? (1)

fred911 (83970) | about 10 months ago | (#44859027)

Didn't you hear? We changed the name to Dejanews, then to google groups, then we let them shut it down.

Not too bad... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858541)

I mean an Amiga 1000 was a pretty kick ass bit of kit back then. I beg they hate going on holiday with a sack of tapes for the Walkman though.

Re:Not too bad... (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44858781)

I mean an Amiga 1000 was a pretty kick ass bit of kit back then. I beg they hate going on holiday with a sack of tapes for the Walkman though.

I don't think they would allow pre 1986 nerd tech either.. that year is just a gimmick in their(his) plan. I would guess that you had cable pre 1986 so that's not an exactly new concept... and I can bet you he didn't go and fetch some old c64 if he even knows what one is(which gets us closer to the point that he probably believes such distractions didn't exist at all pre-1986). I mean - if they pick such a year.. are the aware of when the nintendo entertainment system was released? obviously, no, and if they do they sure as fuck aren't going to inform their kids about it. their "modern" problem isn't a modern problem at all.

I wonder how much their kids have started to spend time at their friends places.. would be pretty stupid to go on a roadtrip in a pre 1986 car without a cellphone as a backup too(it's a kia that's considerably newer..).

but for fucks sake the other kid IS FUCKING TWO YEARS OLD and the other one is FIVE - . and they go on an ultra ban on everything because they can't put the ipad on the top shelf - hell, I'd be proud if they could operate them, even iOS involves quite a bit of reading and even with familiar icons I bet the dad had to start the angry birds for the two year old one. they could have just bought them a ball.

as a conclusion I bet the guy didn't like friendly messages the wife was getting on facebook and wanted to do something ultra hipstery to fix that(being too stupid to understand that every woman with a picture gets friend requests from jafars, kinda like nigerian letters). because honestly they sound like they're from a national lampoon movie, but even they were a movie on it the kids wouldn't be 2 & 5 because those can't reach the top shelf. heck the kids won't even remember this experiment by the time they're 7 and 10.

Re:Not too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858815)

They are little kids with little kids of their own. How cute.

Re:Not too bad... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#44859125)

hell, I'd be proud if they could operate them

My 4yo granddaughter sometimes gets up at 4.30-5.00 in the morning, sneaks into mum's room and steals the iPad, then sits in bed browsing youtube videos. She hasn't worked out to put it back before mum gets up. :) Personally I think the educational software available for kids on tablets is fantastic, it's light years ahead of the family encyclopaedia that was the norm in my childhood.

Re: Not too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44859127)

This will work until the kids enter kindergarten and are handed an ipad ( heaven forbid we should make children learn to write with a pen/pencil).

English, do you speak it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858545)

Toronto Family Bans All Technology In Their Home Made After 1986

Unless their home was made after 1986, this should be written "Toronto Family Bans All Technology Made After 1986 From Their Home."

That still wouldn't explain why anyone should care about these luddites, but at least it'd read less like a primary-school paper's headline.

Re:English, do you speak it? (1)

narcc (412956) | about 10 months ago | (#44858735)

There was a neat BBC series called Electric Dreams [bbc.co.uk] that took the home in to account as well.

It well worth a watch.

What does the age of the house have to do with it? (0)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about 10 months ago | (#44858547)

Why would you post technology in a home just because the home was built after 1986?

Re:What does the age of the house have to do with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858589)

Oh. I see what you did there.

Re:What does the age of the house have to do with (1)

allsorts46 (1725046) | about 10 months ago | (#44858707)

I was also wondering why the fact the house was built after 1986 has anything to do with their banning of technology. Why the hell would you construct that sentence in that way?

Re:What does the age of the house have to do with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858797)

It's wrong because Canada.

Canada - 1986 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858551)

Is this Canada's 1986, or the US's?

Re:Canada - 1986 (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 10 months ago | (#44858677)

Wait, what?

I thought the US and Canada had calendars with the same denominations. Sure, there's technically an exchange rate, but only businesses along the border really care.

Re:Canada - 1986 (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44858793)

The Canadian calendar has a lot more beavers and moose and such on it. There's probably a picture of the queen somewhere.

1 problem (5, Funny)

theReal-Hp_Sauce (1030010) | about 10 months ago | (#44858563)

They actually have to go to the store and buy porn... instead of finding it for free on the internet.

Other than that, I think this is a great idea.

-hps

Sounds good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858565)

Could still hook up to that old Amiga or Atari ST.

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858581)

They better get rid of their non 1986 vehicles along with anything else non 1986 including modern building materials.

Tech isn't the problem it's bad parenting (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858583)

If they think that technology is bad for children then they should just become Amish. The truth is that the kids can play with a piece of string and be happy just as much as playing on a computer. If you give them string and a button, they could play inside all day with it. But if you give them the same thing and let them play outside with it, then they're good. Same with computers, they should just put the computers outside and the kids will be outside all the time. Sheesh, some parents don't even know how to be parents anymore.

Re:Tech isn't the problem it's bad parenting (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 10 months ago | (#44858841)

I think there is something to the general attitude that some Amish communities have toward technology. They aren't really Luddites in a general sense, but they feel that technology shouldn't be overwhelming society and that we need to step back a little bit and examine how those new technologies will impact our lives first before they are adopted. Even more significant is that they try to adopt technology in such a way that the senior citizens can also adapt to changes in technology over time and not be made instantly obsolete. Grandfathers actually can pass on ideas, skills, and traditions to the next generation without any sort of fear that they are clueless about how things work.

Also, thinking that Amish and Mennonites are a homogenous community with all the same attitudes toward technology is simply being closed minded yourself. You will find a whole spectrum from those who eschew any sort of technological development since the Renaissance to those who are basically indistinguishable from others living in the 21st century in terms of the kinds of devices and technology they are using.

Seriously, what is wrong about questioning supposed technological advances and wanting to live in harmony with nature? For those worried about stuff like your carbon footprint or sustainable living, you might want to take a page or two from those who are Amish and see how they are able to be productive and even thrive on renewable resources. I certainly have no problem with any group of people who voluntarily choose to live as a community without some technological devices.

I certainly doubt that the Amish are too worried about their correspondence being intercepted and read by the NSA.

A;; great until the kids are ill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858585)

And then, obviously, they will be all over whatever they can get to fix things.

Modern technology may be 'invasive' and life changing, but it's also life saving and has brought incredible benefits. Here I am, in my bedroom in London and I can access any kind of porn I could dream of, and then some more I hadn't thought of yet. And then if I wank myself into a aneurism there is a MRI at the local hospital and they can insert a tiny thingy into a blood vessel to remove it.

Screw the 1980s dudes.

Re:A;; great until the kids are ill. (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44858641)

there is a MRI at the local hospital and they can insert a tiny thingy into a blood vessel to remove it.

The hospital is not in their home. They can get an MRI. Not to mention MRIs were invented before 1986.

Re:A;; great until the kids are ill. (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | about 10 months ago | (#44858879)

Good luck finding a hospital with a functioning circa 1986 MRI and requisite control systems that haven't been updated to with post 1986 technology!

Your other point still stands though.

Re:A;; great until the kids are ill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44859009)

Like he said, the MRI machine isn't in their home, and so they're free to use any modern MRI machine they like.

Still, I look forward to them deciding whether to stick with a Therac25 should any of them developer a tumor.

Re:A;; great until the kids are ill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858917)

Not sure they wanted to expand their experiment on hospitals or anywhere else outside their home and family - where did you get that?

Like with everything else, moderation (5, Insightful)

linuxguy (98493) | about 10 months ago | (#44858593)

Its interesting to see some of these people flip out completely instead of taking a moderate approach. Many modern technologies are very useful. When my kids at home ask me a question that I don't know the answer to, most of the time I can look it up on Wikipedia or another site. If my wife is going to the grocery store and I forget to tell her about something I need, I'll just text her and she'll pick it up. When I am picking up a friend or family member from the airport, it is a lot quicker to call them to coordinate the pick up time and stop than doing it the old way. The old way requires that you coordinate everything well in advance and nothing unexpected should happen to thwart your well conceived plans. And the list goes on.

If you don't want your kids using your tablets or phones, don't let them. I have no trouble letting my kids use the tablets and the phones. At the same time I don't let them play on them all day long. If they finish their homework and chores, they get some play time. And if they want to play a game on the tablet during their play time, well what is so wrong with that?

Re:Like with everything else, moderation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858885)

And also they must not have looked up the Streisand Effect.

Now this news story is "stuck there" on the interwebs for people to laugh at them about forever.

Same argument as the Amish but without a god? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 10 months ago | (#44858613)

Cute but meaningless in a world of the red queen hypothesis

there was cable in 1986 as well as C-band (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#44858615)

so why no cable or satellite?

Re:there was cable in 1986 as well as C-band (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858673)

They can't get TVs compatible with the signal available to them?

Mostly stupid (1, Insightful)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 10 months ago | (#44858617)

Kind of 20th century Amishes. This is ridiculous since their kids will access anyway 21st century technologies in their friends' houses and at school. They will suffer being put aside from the 21st century society and become technology illettrates. They will probably won't be able to make good careers' choices since they will be forced to think about jobs existing in 1980 which no longer exists or need to be done very differently.

These parents are pretty much stupid and don't do that for the good wealth of their own children but for their own vanity. Shame on them!

Re:Mostly stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44859123)

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has got one.

My family and I have been doing something similar to this for years. Not quite as extreme as this however.

We don't have internet for the home anymore, no netflix or cable/sat, and no laptops. We have a 42" flat and a ps3 for a few games(with limited play time) and movie night. Our children are exposed to enough tech through the education system, we make sure we have books on computer technology and fact books about modern things if they have questions we go to books first THEN to our smart phones if we can't find the answers. It teaches our kids to use their minds and THINK about answers to their questions. Google is a great tool but if you rely so heavily on one thing (especially so young) it becomes a crutch!

Both our school age children are in the top percentiles of their respective grades at school. Their teachers talk about how intuitive and active they are. Oh, and well behaved! Proper social interaction does that... Certainly will help with what ever careers they choose. To many technology exposed kids act like they have Digital Demensia.

Theres lots of "Technology" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858625)

Vaccines? Medical devices? Cleaning products? Those nice insulating windows, some improved insulation products, lots of new cookware etc.

There are tons of things that haven't changed a lot since 1986 (and a lot of stuff that has!), but no one sells the old versions, and it would be silly to get them. Is there car pre 1986? How about the gas? (they have tweaked that with ethanol lately, though the old stuff would be fine, but its hard to buy)

Things like modern batteries and LED flashlights are just stupid to avoid, but modern tech.

Don't forget to stop at those new fanged LED stoplights.

Its not about not using the tech, its about not being stupid: you could to stupid shit in the 80's too. Theres a big difference between having a cell phone (great for emergencies) and using it for face-book all the time.

Oh, and please don't put off adopting 90's tech like IPv6. We need all the help we can get on that front.

Re:Theres lots of "Technology" (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 10 months ago | (#44859029)

No one sells the old tech? Guess you've not heard of "Lodge" Cast Iron cookware. It's unchanged for over 100 years (I think that the company began before 1900).

Inproved insulation is a god damn joke right? Homes are still insulated everyday with fiberglass/rockwool/celulose blown into the walls and rolls in the cielings. As to insulated windows? A good set of triple pane windows with wood frames and sashes are damn near as effective as High-E glass with argon filling because wood has a higher thermal resistance then the god damn Aluminum and Vinyl shit used for them.

/. is news for Amishes (0, Offtopic)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 10 months ago | (#44858635)

/. is becoming a news for Amishes website with this kind of news.

Note from the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858659)

'I remember the day before we started this, I was a wreck and I was like I can't believe I have to delete my Facebook!'

Don't worry about it. Your Facebook will be waiting for your inevitable return. Nothing has been deleted.

- NSA

Amiga (1)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about 10 months ago | (#44858667)

Phew. It means they can still use the original Amiga 1000 from 1985.

You could still use twitter.... (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 10 months ago | (#44858671)

At least in theory. According to this PC world article, Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150? [pcworld.com] they were able to do basic internet things. But I think that may be bending the spirit of the rules. Also, Contiki was ported to x86. [slashdot.org]

Re:You could still use twitter.... (1)

telchine (719345) | about 10 months ago | (#44858999)

According to this PC world article, Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150? [pcworld.com] they were able to do basic internet things.

Not really. He just used the machine as a dumb terminal to a modern Linux machine.

The 1980s: the golden age of the family (4, Interesting)

porges (58715) | about 10 months ago | (#44858675)

I never say stuff like this, but: if they really want to be more like a 1980s family maybe these parents of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old should be married? ..wait, I just read more of TFA. They moved into their current house BECAUSE it was built in the 1980s? Jesus. The father has a mullet, and so the kids.

Oh come on, this is some kind of trolling lifestyle.

Re:The 1980s: the golden age of the family (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44858833)

But it's the world's most epic troll. Talk about going the distance!

Re:The 1980s: the golden age of the family (4, Funny)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about 10 months ago | (#44858919)

I wonder if they spend their days terrified of a global thermonuclear Soviet invasion at any minute cause y'know the 1980's isn't complete without the cold war.

Re:The 1980s: the golden age of the family (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 10 months ago | (#44858945)

I came here to post some lighthearted joke about Amish... but the father and kid are wearing mullets?
Ok, that's not funny anymore.

-

Good for them (3, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 10 months ago | (#44858687)

The more kids are raised using their own brains to entertain themselves rather than a gadget, the better.

Re:Good for them (1, Insightful)

multiben (1916126) | about 10 months ago | (#44858773)

How does artificially cutting your children off from a huge part of the world help develop their brain in a healthy way? As opposed to teaching them how to interact with the world in a responsible and constructive way? Creating a little bubble to isolate your children from things that you don't understand, but one day they will not be able to work without, is the real dysfunction here.

Re:Good for them (2, Interesting)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 10 months ago | (#44858943)

Seriously.

"Overreacting idiot parents cripple their children's future" should be the title of the article

Like Wow! (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#44858691)

" 'That's kind of when it hit me because I'm like, wow, when I was a kid, I lived outside,' "

I too am "like wow", but for a completely different set of reasons.

Waiting until April (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 10 months ago | (#44858717)

Because thats when XP goes EOL. Then the oldersters who love being obsolete as hip we be soo out of style.

Irresponsible parenting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858723)

They let their children go outside? That is irresponsible parenting plain and simple! Don't they know it is dangerous outside?! There are gunmen with bombs and pedophiles on every corner!

Hopefully when children's services gets wind of this they will take this kids away from them and keep the kids safe in a nice small guarded room where they can get their appropriate daily dose of Fox News.

Back in 1986 (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44858737)

So they only do cocaine?

Electronic Sabbath (5, Interesting)

swm (171547) | about 10 months ago | (#44858751)

When our kids were around 10 and 12 years old, we started observing a Sabbath.
Sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday: no electric lights, radios, TVs, and--especially--no computers.
We'd never observed a sabbath for any religions reason, but we decided to try this,
partly as an experiment, and partly as an attempt to reclaim our lives from electronic media.

The first time we did it, I expected the kids to go ballistic, but they pretty much rolled with it, and it became a regular part of our household.
It did change our rhythms and activities.
We would read or play (card, board, dice) games in the evening.
People went to sleep earlier.

We kept it up for a year or two.
I can't say exactly why we stopped.
The kids got older; life intervened.

Re:Electronic Sabbath (1)

techprophet (1281752) | about 10 months ago | (#44859063)

That actually sounds like a really cool idea. I've friends that spend sunday at church, at the park and then playing board/card games with family. Similar result but different concept.

Marriage? (0)

markdavis (642305) | about 10 months ago | (#44858757)

>"the year he and his girlfriend Morgan were born. They're doing it because their kids"

I guess they banned marriage too? Is that too modern?

Re:Marriage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858819)

No, it's just pointless. Not everyone needs to have a title to be happy.

Re:Marriage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858873)

And why would it be important to get married?

Re:Marriage? (1)

bangwhistle (971272) | about 10 months ago | (#44858925)

>"the year he and his girlfriend Morgan were born. They're doing it because their kids"

I guess they banned marriage too? Is that too modern?

And your point is....?

Re:Marriage? (0, Flamebait)

jschrod (172610) | about 10 months ago | (#44858933)

No. That marriage is important is a re-invention of the 90s, re-establishing the prude atmosphere of the early 60s. (The even more prudish/rascist 50s get established right now, the US turning into a country that values propriate behavior for the Powers That Be over constitutional rights and freedom.)

The 70s, and to some degree the 80s, knew that marriage is just a contract with the state and has nothing to do with any personal relationship.

Great idea! (2)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 10 months ago | (#44858761)

I'm going to to this as well, but I'll wait for my kids to become adolescents first. It's just more fun that way!

Re:Great idea! (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 10 months ago | (#44859089)

Why would it be more fun? Most teens typically have far more trouble coping with such drastic change than little kids, as they have ingrained entertainment/interaction/etc. habits, more complex daily lives, schoolwork requiring a current computer, and a powerful drive to fit in -- so a year of abstaining from modern technology would make them even more rebellious/angsty but not have a lasting impact.

As an example: losing access to my computer & Nintendo as a pre-teen was annoying, as they were my favorite "toys", but losing access to the computer as a teenager (or being offline after age 20) felt catastrophic, as I was no longer as flexible, used to amusing myself or getting work done without it.

In 1986 they would have been married (1)

Fear the Clam (230933) | about 10 months ago | (#44858789)

Sure, there were a few single moms who had kids out of wedlock, but it was still relatively rare among the whitebread set. I guess that commitment thing only goes so far.

Commodore 64 (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 10 months ago | (#44858821)

At least they still get to use a Commodore 64, and an Amiga :D

Little known fact: Amish banned most technology (1)

RamiKro (3019255) | about 10 months ago | (#44858839)

prior to 1700 because their kids wouldn't stop kicking the ball around the backyard long enough to read the good book.

This is dumb. (4, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 10 months ago | (#44858843)

They're doing it because their kids – Trey, 5, and Denton, 2 – wouldn't look up from their parents' iPhones and iPads long enough to kick a ball around the backyard. 'That's kind of when it hit me because I'm like, wow, when I was a kid, I lived outside,' says Blair adding that now 'we're parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it's like.' The McMillans do their banking in person instead of online.

I had an NES in 1986. My parents had the exact same concerns about my siblings and me playing video games instead of playing outside.

If anything, with mobile devices, now, people *can* go outside and still be connected to whatever they want.

Going to the bank takes away time that could be used to kick the ball around the back yard as well.

If these parents were having trouble getting their kids to go play outside, surely it would have been easier to force the kids to simply go play outside without their ipads than it was to transport their whole family back in time 30 years.

If you are nostalgic for 1986, then just say so. You don't need an incoherent justification to be different. "I thought it would be interesting", is a perfectly legitimate reason to do something.

Book Deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858849)

Obvious gimmick to sell book about their heroic experiment of living without smartphones for a year.

Thanks for promoting this important story "Hugh Pickens DOT com", douchebag.

Travelling with Kids (1)

rueger (210566) | about 10 months ago | (#44858851)

They recently traveled across the United States using paper maps and entertaining their screaming kids with coloring books and stickers, passing car after car with TVs embedded in the headrests and content infants seated in the back.

Ah yes, back in the Good Old Days everyone knew that the ideal way to travel with kids was to make a big bed in the back of the station wagon and just let 'em all roll around loose.

Then again, Green Tortoise bus lines [faludidesign.com] took that idea to whole new corporate level....

Hey everyone, let's help them out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858871)

I'm sure at least a few of us have an old Intel 386 PC w/ 4 MB RAM, a 40MB HD, and MS-DOS 3.0. Let's donate that old equipment to them; mom and dad could still get work done at home, and kids could still type up assignments for class!

It's Called Parenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858889)

If you have a 5 year old and a 2 year old, take the iPads away. It's different for teenagers, but you are expected to teach your kids, that's the whole point of parenting. For a 5 and 2 year old, you don't even need to put them on a high shelf; anything above waist-height will suffice.

THEN GO PLAY BALL WITH YOUR KID. Once they get old enough to make their own decisions, let them, (the other whole point of parenting), but while they are still preteens, you have to make decisions for them.

Enjoy your 100lbs emergency carphone, instead of a prepaid cellphone that can fit in the palm of your hand.

Novels sound good, but I have a lot of downtime at work. When I tried reading, I went through a novel a day, ($10-$20 a day). Or I can get a wifi iPad, pay $8 a month for Netflix, and watch all the Star Trek I want.

You don't have to check your facebook page every 5 minutes. If you are so keen on going electronics free, maybe just have a tv/computer turn off day / family fun day / go for a hike/bike/swim/canoe day.

Slashdot Think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858891)

From the comments on this site, its easy to see that Slashdot has become an idiots paradise.

Re:Slashdot Think (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#44859085)

and here you are

read the summary and it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858905)

made me think of this song:

1985 [youtube.com] as covered by Bowling For Soup

In 1986 I was using my: (1)

Yahma (1004476) | about 10 months ago | (#44858935)

Commodore 64!!

Guelph family, not Toronto (2)

MrKevvy (85565) | about 10 months ago | (#44858939)

It's even in the title of TFA: "Guelph family lives like it's 1986". Guelph is about 100km/60+mi. west of Toronto so isn't a suburb (it has its own university among other things.)

Another American Insult (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44859093)

Yet again the warmongering hordes from the deserts to our south defame and insult our civilization. What tragedy it is that their brutish ways prevent our peace-loving people from brushing them from the face of the earth.

Crux of Story: Daddy can't handle rejection (0)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 10 months ago | (#44858941)

From the article:

The family started shunning technology after Blair asked his son Trey to join him in playing outside. Unfortunately, Trey opted to continue swiping his tiny fingers on daddy's iPad and, in the process, unwittingly sentenced his family to a year of let's-pretend-it's-not-2013.

So what we have here is a narcissistic man who fathered children to support his fragile ego rather than to bring life into the world. When those kids hit puberty and start really declaring their independence the dad is going to send them both to the ice age.

Sounds like they had no restraint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44859019)

Everything in moderation. I wonder how they got so out of control?

MS-DOS 3.2 and WordPerfect 4.2 lives on! (2)

BUL2294 (1081735) | about 10 months ago | (#44859035)

So, does this family use an average "PC clone" (e.g. the crappy and incompatible AT&T 6300) from the era, which would be a turbo XT with CGA graphics, or do they splurge and run the best 386 Compaq Deskpro with EGA graphics that they could find? (Of course, both computers now cost the same on the secondary market, while the Deskpro would have cost 10x as much as the XT in 1986...)

Lazy Ass Parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44859037)

So its easier to deny anything after 1986 which is when you were born then to instill values within your children for exercise and time management. So let's deny useful tools which may help your children because you refuse to actually be a parent.

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