There has been a lot of talk about technology, how it has taken over our lives, how we rather txt someone than talk to them, and I admit I have been guilty of some of the rantings. Especially when it comes to my children and how they can’t ‘live’ without their i-pads and literally turn deaf when on it.
Yesterday, South Australia had the worst storm in 50 years, a cyclone no less. We were without power, as transmission towers were ripped from the ground, for almost 5 hours and during that time we were thrust back into time, a pre technology era and it opened my eyes to the reality that is technology.
As the winds lashed our home that glowed with candlelight, the temperatures dropped forcing us to huddle together under blankets, the smoke from the candle began to trigger my son’s mild asthma and I had to switch over to emergency torches, I still kept a few candles burning in strategic places.
Kids being kids demanded food, I reached out to my fridge and with ninja stealth took out eggs, milk and butter. We have a gas cooker so in no time a good meal was prepared; the dancing candlelight was very forgiving towards the mess I made in the process. As I washed the dishes in the icy cold water I remembered that our water heater though it ran on gas, needed an electric spark to get it going.
My mum called and we spoke for a while, she lives down the street and I was grateful that the mobiles were working. She spoke of how she missed heating up the wheat bags in the microwave, how it was getting cold and the battery-operated radio was keeping her company in the dark. She too has asthma and can’t use candles so was grateful to the emergency torch that ran on batteries.
She told me that she spoke to her friend and had advised her not to use camp stoves or light up the barbecue without good ventilation, not an option in this freezing weather. Her neighbour who needed oxygen had to have the ambulance take him to the hospital as the oxygen dispenser was electrical and his spare oxygen tank wouldn’t last the outage. They had called the ambulance using his mobile, as the landline phone worked on electricity.
As I sat in the dark and saw the candles dim I wondered how long until the electricity was back? As if an answer to my silent prayer the mobile buzzed with a message from the SA power Networks, electricity would be restored by midnight. Messages from friends all over the world streamed wishing my family and me safe. There was a lot of banter about marriage, dance lessons, kids’ exams and they all kept my mind off the fact that I was in a blackout state facing the worst storm in five decades.
My brother was forwarding me snippets about the outage; there were people from other states making fun of our outage. One tweet read, ‘Well I suppose one good thing about this SA power blackout is at least Adelaide’s nightlife won’t be affected at all.’ There were fears that the water supply might be disrupted and emergency services were being stretched to the limit as all vehicles were running low on gas.
When electricity was finally restored the mess as well as the smoke from the candles astounded me, I had to open windows to vent it out and as I could switch on the heater the cold was no longer prohibitive. I vacuumed, loaded the dishwasher, put the toys away, wiped the tables, sorted the laundry and messaged all my friends and hubby that we were safe and the worst was over.
The truth is Technology makes our life so much better, safer and convenient. People use it for medical purposes so that they can live independently without being a burden on family and friends; we use it to power our homes, hospitals, and emergency services. We use it to spread awareness about social concerns, diseases, potential hazards, and acceptance of people with differences to name a few.
Does it get abused? We are humans if there are ten helpful things one can use an object for then we will find that one way with which we can cause harm, it’s our nature so yes it gets abused. It isn’t technology that is bad, it’s our innate nature to turn everything good into something not so good. Give a child a crayon expecting him or her to be Picasso and they decide to chew it. Shall we throw out all the crayons and rant about how it is leading to teeth discolorations, potential poisoning from ingestion of colours and not to mention the mental anguish of a mother trying to get colour out of a toddlers teeth?
Yes social media poses risks to privacy, a tool used by Paedophiles, a means for cyber bullying etc. but it also helps a mother like me alone with three kids during a state-wide blackout to feel connected, safe and loved.