A few weeks I ago I rang my father, who lives three hours away in a rural country town called Braidwood. In asking him about his memories of television in his childhood, to my surprise I was given a very detailed reflection of his experiences with TV growing up. A few days ago, I rang back home to ask about the internet. My father is quite a traditional man. Although for many decades he has been a bank manager, his consumption of media is limited. He only watches sport and wacky 70’s and 80’s television shows and was forced into getting a mobile phone last year for his work. His only internet use would be checking his work emails, and that wouldn’t even be done at home, but at work. Dad pays the broadband bill every month, but fails to understand why the rest of us (mum, myself and two brothers) have the need to consume so much data when in turn he would much rather spend time as a family and save the internet for things more important things than spending hours on thisiswhyimbroke.com.
Whenever I’m home, for the first few days I am usually in my room taking advantage of the unlimited internet by downloading songs, movies, TV shows etc. My older brother does the same thing as I do, and my younger brother just plays online video games in his room. Mum usually comes straight home from work at 5:30pm, sits on the couch and fiddles around on her phone for a few hours before she does chores then goes to bed. This just leaves Dad. He is constantly coming into our rooms saying things like “It would be nice if you spent some time out of your bedroom”. I do understand the concept of family time and how important it is, I just feel like the correlation between free WIFI and home is getting smaller and smaller. To say that our use of domestic broadband has been a continuation of earlier technological impacts on place is quite true. I remember a decade ago when I would use the internet and after playing a few games and signing into MSN and Bebo for half an hour, I would get bored and return to family activities. Part of this routine would be the fact that the only internet I had access to would be in a separate room, sitting on a chair at a desk. Now, you can lie in bed, go for a walk, even go to the bathroom with full internet access on several devices to keep you occupied no matter where you are. This advancement, though positive for those who hold a busy, working lifestyle and need constant access to the internet may be detrimental to the lives of many adolescents and young adults who now think that 12 hours a day of consuming internet is “normal”.
At home we have the one data plan. However, at any one time, if we are all home (as my brother and myself do not live at home full time) there would be many devices connected. Ipads, notebooks, mobile phones, laptops, Ipods and playstations just to name a few. I usually find myself scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on my laptop, then close it and reopen Facebook on my phone just a few moments later. I do admit this seems a little extreme, but it is sad to say that the act is almost second nature to me, and I’m sure it is to many other people as well. In order to get a broadband connection in the first place was an effort with countless calls and emails to the provider as we live rurally. Therefore the concept of NBN would definitely be something of the not so near future. However, I do believe that if the NBN were to be available to us, my father would not allow it, and I understand that.