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Family time-warps their tech in bid to reconnect

SO YOU left your mobile phone at home.

Or you forgot to pay your internet bill and your 3G is down and you have zero web access.

How would you feel after a day without access to the ubiquitous WWW?

Now take that feeling and multiply it by 365 and you’ve got a rough estimate of how a Canadian family will feel after living for a year without any kind of “modern” technology.

Blair McMillan, his girlfriend and two children have given up any and all forms of technology released to the world after 1986.

Just stop and consider the consequences of that for a second.

That means no mobile phones, no internet, no Facebook, no email, no Twitter, no DVD players, no CDs, no mp3 players, few, if any, colour computers. No online banking. No digital cameras. No cable TV. No Nintendo 64. No Xbox. No PlayStation. On the upside it might be nice to reconnect with the Atari and other vintage game consoles.

Mr McMillan said he was inspired to cut himself and his family off from the connected world after he observed they were spending more time silently browsing the web than they were actually connecting with each other.

“We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like,” Blair told The Toronto Sun .

Earlier in the year Mr McMilland said he tried to get his five-year-old son Trey to come outside and play, but he refused because he was too busy playing with his iPad.

“That’s kind of when it hit me,” Blair told The Toronto Sun, “because I’m like, wow, when I was a kid, I lived outside.”

So the family up and moved back to the house 26-year-old McMillan grew up in. But instead of GPS, the family used an old school map to navigate across the country. They will be spending the year doing their banking at the bank, taking photos using rolls of film which they will take to a photo lab for developing. Phone calls will be made by old-school roter landline phones.

McMilland even sports a mullet and Tom Selleck moustache, though it’s not clear if this existed before the time warp back to the mid-80s.

Music will be played either through a radio or cassette tape. Looking at photos of people on other people’s phones has also been banned. The only approved TV shows and video games were ones that aired on or before 1986. At least the youngsters will learn to appreciate the wonder that was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And Pong. And if their father has any taste, he will introduce them to the original Batman, played by Adam West.

Mr McMillan’s girlfriend Morgan said she first thought her boyfriend was “crazy” but said she now “devours” books to pass the time. But the cracks are already showing. Mr McMillan says he is considering writing to his favourite bands asking for copies of their old cassette tapes, because his limited supply of music played in the house is driving him crazy.

He also says he has been getting “phantom phone calls” in his pocket.

“The strangest thing without having a cellphone is that I could almost feel my pocket vibrating and I wanted to check my pocket,” he said.

However the treechange has come at a cost. McMillan lost a business partner over his insistence on sticking to old-school working methods.

Despite this, McMillan says he won’t be dissuaded and says he will even hand-write his resumes, even though most work places only accept job applications online.

“I can fax you, that’s the best I can do, but I want to meet you in person, I want to see you, I want to sit down and talk to you,” he said.

Updated: May 19, 2014 — 5:41 pm

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