There are children today who have never watched a caterpillar arch itself to move, watched clouds pass over the sky, observed a lady bird preening itself, tasted rain, sat inside a bush or dressed up in drag. And technology is to blame. Kids no longer play in the streets; they are inside experiencing life through small screens. And it’s very, very addictive.

Technology is addictive and our brains love the dopamine hit of finding something new in cyberspace but the price for this is disassociation. At lifts, in cafes, in libraries, bus stops even driving a car we see people disassociated, unaware of the world around them but satisfied, addicted and compulsively involved with small screen technology. No outside world exists and indeed to do so would be boring. They will never see that beautiful little girl in the red dress sucking on her ice cream as it drips down her hand.

Who remembers the difficulties of acclimatising to home answering machines, faxes and buzzing printers and also amazed at the advent of the internet and smart phones. For the now generation this modern technology has no wow factor at al; these technologies are simply entitlements.

Addictive disassociation with the world will have an even greater adverse effect on all our human communication as even more technology invades our private worlds. It will affect all our relationships, whether with lovers, family, work colleagues and our communities. The addiction to technology is the same as compulsive gambling. Try it yourself. Try leaving the house without your phone or thinking of going away on holiday without WIFI. You are addicted. I am addicted.

It gladdens me that we have sorted out some etiquette with mobiles by leaving houses and restaurants to take calls, switching them off in museums and art galleries but we still experience strangers in buses making loud inappropriate personal calls.

So what do we do about the addiction to this sort of technology? Well I stand before you now and say, “ My name is Gerry North and I am addicted to this technology.” You can’t change what you won’t acknowledge. When I go to a restaurant from now on I will not take my mobile, I will leave it at home when going for a walk, when my lover comes home I will turn off my laptop, I will not text while driving and I will never take my laptop to bed only a book. I make this statement before you today. I swear I will do my best with this.

Oh look there’s a blue male wren drinking water from a bowl on my balcony and my boyfriend is naked, dripping water on the shower floor. I am now closing this laptop. Goodbye.

Gerry North is a gay couples counsellor and can be contacted at [email protected] or www.gaycounselling.vpweb.com.au

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