Oliver with a Mulberry bag
Sometimes shopping online is just not the same...

Life Online

Oliver with a Mulberry bag
We increasingly live our lives online and I simply can’t imagine a day without my iPhone. In fact I left it at home the other day and had a mild panic at the thought of not being connected because we seem to be online a lot of the time.

It’s hard to think of a day I’m not flicking through facebook or tweeting my timeline or googling everything from tribal neon, statement necklaces to local train museums for the toddler.

I’m not constantly online of course but I know I’m not alone in finding it appealing in more ways than one. It’s immediate, informative and fun and I’ve made so many real friends online too.

That’s the thing with folks who don’t use twitter, they often fail to understand how powerful and close so many of us are as a community over there. Many of the little people in my phone have become real life friends and even colleagues (especially via Linkedin) with meets ups leading to collaborating or having fun together, whiles others feel like great friends despite our relationships staying online.

There are women on there who have been there for me at night feeds when everyone else was asleep and throughout my pregnancy offering advice and support with some even knowing more about me than some of my oldest friends.

Despite the internet being a prolific connector personally and professionally, it can also be a scary place. I would have hated to have grown up online. The bullying, ridicule and pressures I know are ten fold for kids with computer access, make me want to protect my boys for as long as possible.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m super impressed that my 3 year old is computer savvy, able to navigate Cbeebies online, moving the mouse over the content he wants to watch and even using the term ‘google’ as an adjective after hearing us say it constantly (usually when we are lost and the Sat Nav loses signal) but I don’t want it to ever take over his life (and FB or its replacement will only come when he’s a teen and I can protect his account).

Yes I won’t always be able to control his use online and I understand the internet truly opens up a whole new world of information (although I am a little sad my kids will never have an encyclopedia collection) but I will implement boundaries.

Family time and meals together will always be sacred. Children need to interact and play together and outside, not always cooped up in front of a TV or computer screen (however cold it is outside).

I recently starting thinking about how much time I’m online myself from paid and unpaid blogging posts to screenwriting commissions, work emails and the lark. I’m lucky to have parents who help with childcare and I tend to do a lot of work at night when the boys are asleep so I can keep up with my freelance work and I also use FB and twitter to promote all of the above as well as to simply chat, share, learn and laugh with others.

I also find now I have children that there is nothing easier than ordering food, clothes and gifts online and although I love real life retail therapy, late night online shopping is nearly as satisfying especially when a sale goes live and you don’t have to queue around the block for style bargains!

I asked friends and family what they use the internet for the most and here are a few things they mentioned:

Husband: Food shopping online-he likes not having to actually go the supermarket (no toddler tantrums), finds it easy to see how much he is spending along with no physical temptations of one pound Easter eggs at every aisle. He also likes to order from his phone making his life easier and less back breaking when we buy nappies and baby milk in bulk!

Brother: Loves free Apps on his iPhone, playing Fifa football games along with promoting his restaurant on Facebook.

Dad: mostly sending emails online along with collating his recipes (which often feature on the blog) and keeping in touch with friends and family abroad. I have banned him from FB though (my Mum has no interest in it) as embarrassing Dad style statuses of (“couldn’t find my reading glasses so used a magnifying glass”) too cringey to cope with!

Mum: Reading the news mostly online along with banking from her smartphone. Booking doctor and dentists appointments along with searching for interior design inspiration and e-zines are all popular with Mama.

Friends: most of my girlfriends mostly said clothes shopping online as well as Ebay being a major pulling force along with social media and networking. Booking holidays online and scouting for schools also came up as popular uses along with making reservations at restaurants, theaters and concerts.

Can you imagine life without the internet and what do you use it most for?

Photograph ©Vicki Psarias-Broadbent.


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