Soup and Dongles: A Story of Technological Apathy

For this post I interviewed my mother, Sandra, about the technologies that have emerged during her lifetime, specifically Television and the Internet, in order to discover what her experiences of these mediums were. 

For as long as I have known my mother she has been apathetic towards technology. This is not because of being unable to understand it or moral panic, as it may be with other peoples parents, but rather because as she says “I don’t need it”. Now to be fair this is a slight mislead, on my part in this post and hers in real life, as while she says she doesn’t need them she still uses them on a regular basis. The point of difference being that she doesn’t engage with them to the levels other people do, like spending all day on Facebook or regularly traversing the internet, much to her satisfaction. So in order to get an understanding of why this I thought it would be interesting and possibly insightful to interview her regarding these technologies.

ME: What is your earliest memory of watching television?

M: I don’t know, I don’t remember much from when I was younger, although I do remember that we weren’t allowed to have drink or even food near the tv. Mum, she was such a silly woman. Everything in the house had to be safe but it was more like she didn’t want anything to be touched by any children. We weren’t allowed to touch the TV and we weren’t allowed to have any liquids near it. Because dad (accidentally) cut his thumb off around then she was always concerned we were going to do something dangerous…I put a bowl on it (TV) once with soup and she wouldn’t stop talking about it for years how I was a horrible child.  

ME: What did you watch back then?

S: Hey, Hey it’s Saturday was what I watched. 

ME: Anything else?

S: Mr. Squiggle as well. I remember Skippy the Kangaroo. My sister loved Skippy. She wanted a Kangaroo as a pet and thought she could find one.

ME: What television do you watch now?

S: I work during the night so I only watch TV during daytime and there is never anything on at night. Judge Judy is funny the people are usually so stupid.

ME: Anything else

S: And Charmed is on during the day but I’ve seen them all. There is usually never anything on that I like so I watch some DVD’s and some of yours (my DVD collection resides at my mothers house). I was watching Big Love before but I haven’t finished watching it yet but I will soon. I’m watching Dexter with Geoff (boyfriend).

ME: When did we get the internet?

S: Well that was because you wanted a computer so we asked Julie (my auntie) for one of her old ones. 

ME: Yeah I wanted to play the Sims. We didn’t get the internet until Thirroul when we bought Michael’s (my brothers friend) computer.

S: Yeah that’s when I used the internet. I didn’t do much on it though. Just downloaded music and watched videos that were funny.

ME: Well what do you do on the internet now?

S: I have the dongle (usb modem) but I only charge it now and then.

ME: What do you use it for though?

S: Check Facebook and play some games. I play Facebook games. Bejeweled as well.

ME: You use to play online poker and stuff. 

S: Yeah and it got boring. I use to play it with the next door neighbor and listen to music after work but then when he moved I stopped. I use Viber on my phone now though.

ME: Would you ever consider getting the internet? It would make it easier for you to communicate with others. I mainly use Facebook to communicate and only use my phone to talk to you. 

S: I don’t want it though. I don’t use it enough and it costs money and then I have to have a phone line which I also wouldn’t use. If it were cheaper I would get it. 

The reason I use apathetic to describe my mother is because  she isn’t concerned with the technological wonders of the internet. I believe that she is fully aware that if she wanted she could instead of paying her bills over the counter or via her phone she could do it online, but I think she is more than content to do it the way she currently does.

From the information in the interview it appears to me that my mother becomes more engaged with media when there is other people are involved, whether that be her mother or me. It may very well be that she is more concerned with in real life communication and less concerned with contributing to any online space.

Referencing:

Clarke R. 2001, A Brief History of the Internet in Australia, Xamax Consultancy, viewed 21st August, http://www.rogerclarke.com/II/OzIHist.html.

2007, Popular Australian Television, Australian Government, viewed 21st August, http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/popular-austn-television.

Livingstone S. 2009, Half a century of television in the lives of our children, The ANNALS of the American academy of political and social science, 625 . pp. 151-163. ISSN 0002-7162

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