The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents -

won­ders why in an era of con­nec­tiv­ity we’re so iso­lated.

In the be­gin­ning, there was tele­vi­sion, and tele­vi­sion was good. Well, I as­sume it was good. There was noth­ing to com­pare it to, you see, ex­cept pt the wire­less or the pic­ture shows at thee cin­ema. And tele­vi­sion was much bet­ter r be­cause it was in your own home, or in pride of place in Aunty May’s lounge ge room, or even in the win­dowow of the lo­cal Re­trav­i­sion, wheree crowds would gather to watchtch the Olympics or some­thing thing the Roy­als were do­ing. g. Re­ally, it must have seemed like magic.

And nd if you are lucky enough gh to know peo­ple from the first TV gen­er­a­tion, ra­tion, they will tell tales ales of every­one sit­ting g around to watch h Gra­ham Kennedy edy and Bert Newtonon – and when they say “every­one”, they mean the whole fam­ily.y. Be­cause they would d all watch the same show and talk aboutt it at sup­per or at work the next day, or even at school – it was a share­dred ex­pe­ri­ence.

Even en then, there must have been the naysay­ers.ay­ers. My mother, for in­stance stance (who loves to rem­i­nisce about times be­fore she ex­isted), will re­count sce­nar­ios of fam­i­lies clus­tered around the pi­ano, where they would belt out a ro ro­bust “Tie Me Kan­ga­roo Down Sport”Sport be­fore they turned in – a rit­ual the “o “oneeyed mon­ster” (TV, not my mother!)m ap­par­ently brought to a ha hasty end. Any­way, now it is har hard to share, un­less you count­cou hud­dling around some some­one’s phone to watch a Yout Youtube video. Every­one has th the equiv­a­lent of a TV in their pocket and can dow down­load or stream or bing binge­watch what­ev­er­what­eve they want, whenev when­ever they want. The con­cept­con of sit­ting down to­geth­erto to watch a “tele “tele­vi­sion event” seems so an­cient, it would re­quire a team of arche­ol­o­gist­sarche­olo to un­earth an ex­ampl ex­am­ple of it. It has been a creep­ingcree thing, our de­pen­dencede­pen­den on this bril­liant source of in­for­ma­tion; in­stan in­stant weather, gos­sip and sports re­sults, so the world seems full of peo­ple shuf­fli shuf­fling along, heads bowed, eye­s­eye glued to screens. We can’t look up; phys­ios are in­un­dated w with cases of “tech neck” and the foot­paths are lit­tered wi with

peo­ple who look like those nov­elty birds stooped over glasses of water.

It’s funny – ads for com­put­ers and phones all sell the con­cept of be­ing “con­nected”, but the re­al­ity seems to be the op­po­site. We are iso­lated. Ear­buds in; im­mersed in our own ex­pe­ri­ence. And every­one, it seems, is be­com­ing aware of their in­abil­ity to step away from screens. The ad­dic­tion. Adults who oth­er­wise lead full and re­spon­si­ble lives are ren­dered mute by their phones; pos­sessed by a

kind of pas­sive ag­i­ta­tion that man­i­fests in a need to con­stantly scroll through so­cial me­dia, or see who they can hook up with on Tin­der or Grindr or Tum­blr, or any other on­line refuge for peo­ple who seem­ingly hate vow­els.

It is first thing in the morn­ing; it is the last thing at night. It is full of all the won­ders and hor­rors of the world. It is in­sis­tent. It is per­sis­tent. It is suc­cour and so­lace and hu­mour and mu­sic and cat videos and knowl­edge and pornog­ra­phy and ex­treme vi­o­lence. Gosh, I wish I could play the pi­ano.

Kate co-hosts Hugh­esy & Kate, 4-6pm week­days, on the KIIS FM Net­work.

The world seems full of peo­ple shuf­fling along, heads bowed, eyes glued to screens”

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