This week is Screen-Free Week, so we’ve gone back in time to pick up some of the things people did before we became addicted to our smartphones and tablets.
Once upon a time, smartphones were but a dream in someone’s head. At that time, people walked around with their heads facing forward, rather than to the ground, and often smiled at others as they passed them in the street.
People wrote letters by hand and you’d have to wait a couple of days to receive a reply to a letter you sent to a friend, rather than now where we can see that they are typing a reply to your WhatsApp message.
We knew landline numbers (yes landline still exists) for our friends and family and would often pick up the phone to arrange a time to meet, rather than creating a Facebook event, or starting a group message that a lot of us now use.
You’d take your camera films to be developed and have to wait a few days to get back your photos, some of which usually ended up being photos of your fingers in front of the lens, or photos of the floor! But the anticipation of what beautiful photos you may find was unbeatable.
We looked things up, not on our phones, but in encyclopaedias and dictionaries and you’d have to flick through a few pages to find the answer, rather than asking Siri as we can do now.
You’d pack at least a few books for your holiday, as Kindles didn’t exist, thus limiting packing room for any beach holidays. I’d like to say we packed smarter, but I don’t think that’s really changed!
Computer use was limited and you were lucky if you got a page to load before the dial up connection logged you out again. They weren’t as fast or reliable as they are nowadays but it meant we had much less screen time than we have today.
We would entertain ourselves, not by flicking through social media, but by reading, going for a walk, cooking or baking, calling friends or listening to music.
And although times have changed, we can still do all these things, we just don’t always choose to do them.
Screen-Free Week runs until 6th May this year, so why not make a pledge to yourself to have a screen-free day or a couple of hours and do something away from your phone, laptop and tablet – choose to write a letter, read a book or go for a walk and switch off from your screens.
Let us know how it goes!