Or is it the other way around…?

WE WERE BORN in the technological revolution. No matter your age right now, if you’re reading this, tech was (and is) happening, exponentiating, pervading (and always will be). It was and is pushing us to better things. To deny this is, frankly, Luddite. But look: are we pushing technology or is technology pushing us?

With the scary-sounding almost-global ‘Lockdown’, many of us saw more technology in use at home and, some of us, with our children. Not only that, we saw it in use more of the time because, when we stopped going out almost at all apart from fetching ‘essentials’, that’s all we had to do.

It’s only been a little over five months, at the time of going to WordPress, since the beginning of Lockdown. But here at the headquarters of Digital Luminance (you know, those headquarters we don’t have because we’ve never had headquarters), it sure seems a long while ago.

We went grumpy because the pubs and restaurants were shut whether we used to frequent them or not. The streets of our biggest cities were 28 Days deathly quiet. We said things like “Think what it would have been like during the War” to cheer ourselves up. Or we vicariously and retrospectively thought of the six years of abject misery it would have been.

Now, the hospitality industry has reopened, where it can. More than half of pubs and bars had already come back to life in the UK as reported by data analyst experts CGA. The atmosphere might not be quite as cosy as it was, but at least there’s some possibility for social interaction. While maintaining social distancing, and stating your name, rank and number at the door.

Conversely, tech saved developed nations from going completely insane. We had Netflix. According to the BBC, the streaming service trousered almost 16 million brand new accounts during the first quarter this year and, whilst expecting business to continue surging, growth would slow as governments lift lockdowns. In the BBC’s article, Technology Reporter Zoe Thomas pointed out that it would be interesting to see what retention is like for Netflix as the Lockdown situation eases. Amazon said things would take longer and they were prioritising urgent orders. But apart from bog roll and hand sanitiser and flour (what the hell was it with flour?), everything appeared to be, well, pretty damn normal. At least in that respect.

Are the kids alright?

And then there were the kids. What to do with the kids… Couldn’t send them out on their bikes and call them in for tea (as if that’s happened in the past four decades anyway)… Well, kids, generally, seamlessly adapted. The kids, kind of depending on their ages and what was available, had a perfectly legitimate and mitigant excuse for loafing around doing precisely what we always told them to stop doing: endlessly messing about with their smartphones and tablets and laptops. Almost worryingly, the kids were better at it than us. But what were they doing?

Socialising at a distance

We’re not about to do a list of platforms here because we and you already know what they are. But TikTok has been more of a thing. Inevitably, when something gets popular with the kids, parents will worry. But, then again, when VHS cassettes came out, kids’ minds would be morally and mortally fried and putrefied. Maybe it happened. But, if you think about it, that was us, that was then, and this is now, right?

Gawping at gaming

Me sir? No, sir? Gaming? No… Using a digital device to learn and discover, that’s what you’re confusing World of MindCrap with… That’s what you’re doing.

So that’s OK, then. Just make sure you do your assignments that your school teachers have somewhat laughably sent you in the terribly vain hope that you’ll actually do them less than 45 minutes before they’re due in. Which leads us on to…

We don’t need no education… But some did better when they tried.

It’s the teachers we feel sorry for. We all know teachers at either a professional or personal level. Never in peacetime has there ever been a more challenging time for them. Pressure from every side at every Key Stage, each examination stage… university entrance (as if it’s not difficult enough) and the timing for coronavirus and, ergo, governments’ reactions and ad-hoc regulations could not have been possibly worse.

The academic year should have been written off. Globally. Completely. So what if you go to college a year later? Academically, from September 2019, it went like the normal breeze blew through. Some kids make it and, for various reasons, some don’t. That’s life as it always has been. But what should have happened in the last six months was… STOP. Some parents will always be better at teaching their kids than others but school was out at arguably the best time of year. Gradually, we and our children were allowed out again. But we had six months. It should have been the best six months of childrens’ lives. Maybe even to explore the possibilities of technology. For them to push it.,/p>

Right now, in the UK at least, GCSE exam results, for example, are being naturalised based on mocks. They’re being correlated based on school rather than individual performance. Is this fair?

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, home schooling varied widely in effectiveness depending on what resources were available (such as tech devices), how well-off the family was – as well as the parents’ aptitude and ability to teach. The IFS’s Learning during the lockdown report is here.

If you’re ever lost in digital marketing…

We like solving problems. It’s what we do with the finest brains in the business. We push technology to work for us and we make budgets work harder thanks to our distributed network of digital marketing professionals.

And we’re all children in the end whether we have them or not, because we never stop learning.

Jeff Lunn

Author Jeff Lunn

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