Although I couldn’t physically go back to the home of my previous interview subject (which is also my home), I was still able to find out how the internet has changed daily life in my house.
To start, I worked out how many devices are currently connected to the internet:
4 mobile phones
2 Sky TV boxes
1 Apple TV
Of these devices, 2 phones are on a shared plan, 1 is on a work plan, and 1 is on its own plan. Collectively, the phones have around 30GB of data to use per month.
The rest of the devices are connected to our home broadband which, being in the UK, is not on the NBN. Considering the amount of data that is used compared to the price that my parents pay, I think that this is possibly a good thing.
Going back to when we first moved into the house almost 15 years ago, there was barely any sign of the internet at home. We had 1 computer that was kept in the ‘computer room’, our Sky didn’t have on demand connection yet, and Apple wasn’t in the realm of phones and iPads yet. The only people who had mobile phones were my parents and Popa, but they weren’t internet connected.
I remember getting my first phone and accidentally opening the internet browser and frantically trying to close it before it used all of my credit loading the welcome page. Nowadays, I’ll rarely be seen without my 4G connected and some sort of social media app open on my phone. The advances in phone and internet technologies definitely played a part in this change.
My Popa has seen the introduction of television, computers, mobile phones, internet, and now wearable and smart home technologies. A lot of it does go over his head because he can’t quite grasp it, but he can work his old school mobile, his TV and Sky box, and he can just about manage to work the iPad to FaceTime me. This is significantly more technology than he ever had growing up and although he doesn’t necessarily understand everything, he does think all the new technology is “bloody amazing”.
With the growth of the internet, many things have changed at home. My parents both went from working full-time and overtime in their offices in order to get all their work done, to finishing off extra work at home – or in my Dad’s case: leaving his old job to start his own business, creating himself a website, and using social media to advertise his work. This means that my Dad has taken on more household duties since he is at home more. He’s now the one to cook, clean, do the washing, and pick my sister up from school or other activities, because my Mum is generally at work most of the day.
It’s also changed my sister and I, because as a kid I would spend the majority of my time reading books or out playing with friends. As I grew older and I got a phone, a laptop, and our TV got on demand services, I spent more time using these devices than reading or playing outside. The same goes for my sister, but the effects of the internet started a lot earlier for her as she is five years younger. My 8-year-old cousin won’t remember a time without internet and iPads, and I won’t forget when she tried to FaceTime me from her iPad at 5am the other morning.
While internet has drastically changed the practices of my household and the interactions I have with family and friends, I don’t believe that all of the changes are bad. I will admit that I do miss sitting down with a good book, but if I had to choose between reading a book and talking with friends from across the world, I’d choose my friends every time. Unless it’s a really, really good book.