The Hare Wins the Race When it Runs Through the Web

A home is a place of comfort, safety and love. However, the values associated with a home are changing with the technological tide we are being swept up in. A modern phrase is “home is where the Wi-Fi automatically connects” and it is true. Technology is becoming bigger and better and we rely on it for almost all aspects of our lives. While technology has certainly had its benefits, many worry our extreme dependency is potentially detrimental to our society.

I have reflected on my family’s interaction with technology and the Internet, in the digital age. Until you take a step back and analyse the situation, it is easy to underestimate the power technology has. Many lives of families such as my own revolve around and rely on the Internet to function. The fact that we argue more over the iPad than the television remote is definitely saying something. From paying bills, to doing assignments, to watching movies, every member of my family ranging from ages 8 to 50, use the Internet daily. 

National Broadband Network otherwise known as NBN is the new network for phone and Internet services, being brought into Australia. It is to be rolled out over the next 10 years and is said to bring faster, more reliable and affordable services to all of Australia. According to NBN Co Limited, NBN will allow more people the ability to work from home, make video conferencing faster, allow multiple devices to be one the same broadband connection at once, improve the education system, and improve the medical gap between urban and regional areas (2014).

The Australian Government has mapped out its plans for introducing NBN, allocating numbers to areas. These numbers will determine how many years it will take for NBN to be installed in that particular area. I live in Engadine in the Sutherland Shire. While Miranda, a suburb only 15 minutes away will have access to NBN this year, Engadine is a ‘3’ area. While construction will begin in approximately 3 years it may still be 5 years before we can utilise it.

Internet speed in my house has fluctuated over the years between “wow look how quick this video has loaded” to “OMG I’M GOING TO THROW MY LAPTOP INTO THE POOL”. Living with five people who all use the Internet has meant we have needed to upgrade our broadband package multiple times to one that can handle constant use. NBN will definitely be appreciated in my household. The ability to all use our devices at the same time with no affect to the speed will be helpful in a busy household.

Nevertheless, is this ‘super internet’ really necessary? I had a thought while we were discussing this question in our tutorial. When I was younger, we only had a single computer where we could play one game, a radio, a Walkman and a television. My family would spend most of our time together and a time would be allocated to using technology. Nowadays, there are 4 laptops, 2 televisions, 3 iPods, 4 iPhones and 3 iPads in our house. While the increase in technology is not surprising, what I thought interesting was that it seems like we spend all our time on these devices and then allocate ‘family time’. While we are all socially connecting trough cyberspace our face-to-face interactions have undeniably lessened. In a TED talk by Sherry Turkle, she discusses the negative effects technology is having on social interaction. Her theory is that we have become accustomed to a “new way of being together alone” (2012). While we may all be in the same room, we are all using separate electronic devices, and not necessarily interacting with one-another. Having quicker and more available Internet could possibly mean this time ‘together but apart’ could increase.

According to research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2012-2013, 83% of Australian households had access to the Internet with more than ¾ through a broadband connection (2014). With such a large part of Australia on the Internet, I would be very surprised to find people that would say no to it being faster. I wonder, if we did have faster Internet would that give families the opportunity to get there work done faster therefore have more time to spend together or would it just allow people to look up more cat videos in a shorter amount of time?

Technology is showing no signs of slowing down, so it is up to families to make sure they allow for time to spend together. Because let’s face it, if the Internet is not going anywhere, you’d rather it be fast like the hare than take the tortoises slow steady pace.

Sources

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed 24 August 2014,
<http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/D0DD505F12749281CA257C89000E3F5E?opendocument&gt;

NBN Co Limited 2014, The NBN In Your Home, NBNCo, viewed 24 August 2014,
<http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/information-for-home.html#.U_nGpxaIXwI&gt;

Turkle, S. 2012, Connected, but alone?, TED, viewed 24 August 2014, <http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript&gt;

Williams, D. 2012, The National Broadband Network In The Sutherland Shire, Newton, viewed 23 August 2014, <http://www.davewilliams.com.au/the-national-broadband-network-in-the-sutherland-shire/&gt;

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