Jack and I recently went to a Jessie Ware gig, as I stood there, bloated with my hair everywhere I looked around at the perfectly preened early twenties looking ridiculously cool, the first dates and the pints of beer, and, for the first time I felt old. And fat. And pregnant.
We were stood at the Hammersmith Appollo and as Jessie Ware came on stage it didn’t matter. I love live music. It’s my favourite, and she did not disappoint, she was mesmerising. What did disappoint was the audience. We were standing watching a powerhouse musician sing the songs she had written and the viewing public were so easily distracted by their mobile phones. As soon as she started to sing a song that wasn’t a high tempo hit the girls surrounding me were lost into the glowing light of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp and IMessage. In this order, on a loop. I wanted to take their phones and stamp on them. Fair enough, take a photo, but this was incessant, really distracting and downright rude.
On the way home I moaned at Jack and expressed my concern about this generation. Yup, I am old. What is it going to be like when our child is twenty one? How can you get lost in the moment with an artist if all you are worrying about is how many views your Insta story has got and if the right person knows you are there.
That weekend we went to visit my parents, and as we were eating our Sunday dinner the conversation was not floating my Dads boat, I could see his mind wondering and then his mobile phone came out. I challenged him, “errr, Dad we’re in the middle of dinner?!”. He argued he was looking up a song that was playing, no different to looking at a record cover. I kind of got his point, but it had nothing to do with what we were talking about. Twenty minutes later, his phone comes out again, I asked him what he was doing and he started laughing as he informed us he was looking at an AVOCADO KNIFE. WHAT THE ACTUAL.
I’ve picked on my poor old Dad here, but I think most people are guilty of this, me included. It was during this visit that I understood that living through the a mobile phone screen isn’t generational at all. It’s a sign of our times.
For our babies sake I hope and pray that the balance restores itself. I wonder if our obsession with our phones and social media is extreme because this technology is so new, it’s novel to have a PR tool for our lives. To be easily distracted and entertained one hundred percent of the time. Fifteen years ago the internet was dial up, that is no time at all for us to adjust to the magnificent power we have at our fingertips. To be everywhere all of the time.
As I continue on the journey to becoming a Mother, of course I worry about the danger of the internet, the lack of control, the trolling and the catfishing, but these things happened to an extent already. It was teenagers having a fondle instead of sending a photo, it was half of my school year sneaking to the park to drink vodka, insisting to their parents they were having a sleepover at a friends house. It’s not the same but there are definite parallels. What worries me most is our children missing out on life and genuine feeling; going on a date, listening to music at a gig uninterrupted and sneaking out with their mates without a parent being able to track them down on Find My Friends. These life experiences and bolts to independence certainly made me the person I am today, lessons learned and memories made. I want my children to have the same thrills and excitement when breaking free into adulthood as I did. Because, it was so much fun.