Promote absence of digital technology and do it not by bans and prohibition, but by emphasizing what’s cool about not using it. It’s not just about kids, it’s about everyone. Let’s face it – artificial reality is already here and we are living in it every day for many hours. The use of computers and especially smartphones is so extensive now, that restraining from their use for a longer time would feel like living in a different reality, and it would actually be that, because many hours per day staring into a screen and interacting virtually with people, using services there, relying on maps to guide your way and working there equals living in a digital space, where are no real, tangible things. When you take yourself out of the virtuality of the screen you get more real touch with your surroundings, you see material things, you interact with humans directly, we are exponentially loosing this experience. Leaving your phone at home is already like going back in time at least for a decade.
My friend was telling me the other day how interesting it was for him to go to a recent exhibition of 90’s technology and household gears, even though we both actually lived in that decade as kids and it wasn’t so very long ago, a lot has changed and we actually live in a very different world now. Imagine how interesting it would be to relive it in an actual environment for a short (or maybe not so short?) period of time. Having a party in a 90’s home with your friends, finding what to do without using smartphones and even pc: watching an old movie through a non-flat screen TV, listening to vinyls (ok, there were CDs already, but vinyls are cooler), playing board games, singing songs around campfire.. It actually seems like a good business idea to prepare those kind of low technology spaces for people to spend time in, like “rent an 80’s homestead near the lake and leave your smartphone at home”. It could be a place without any modern technology at all, it could be a place with technology evolved till certain point (I feel that TV is a borderline, it’s a start of virtual reality) or the whole environment could be matched stylistically with a particular decade: technology, architecture, furniture, clothes, etc. Even promoting a no smartphone day would be a good start, I thought that kind of day already exists, but my own efforts to find information on something like that were unsuccessful. Maybe someone has heard about it? Otherwise would be a good initiative to start it.
I think it’s not an overstatement to say that people also don’t get actually together that much because of technology either, or if they do, they are partly in it, soon virtual parties might get more popular, you can already join those with a VR headset and meet people all around the world. If there’s no smartphone in your pocket to soak your attention, it’s a totally different feel of the party, you are actually present, those parties in 90’s, 80’s, 70’s and beyond were more real in that sense, there was no artificial reality to be in.. It’s one of the reasons why vinyls stay in fashion and sometimes their sales exceed sales of digital records (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/dec/06/tables-turned-as-vinyl-records-outsell-digital-in-uk-for-first-time; https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2019/09/08/vinyl-overtake-cd-sales/), it’s one of the reasons why people like old cars and just in general - old stuff, old movies, etc. – it gives you a taste of different reality, which is more material, more tangible and in that sense - more real. Why do you think Stranger Things creators chose that particular decade to be pictured even though the plot is very futuristic? It gives you that feel.. I think most of us, at least those who got the taste of it in the childhood are already longing for it. I certainly do. What about you?