I need to make a confession. It is about my beautiful 14 year old Persian cat. Her name is Rosie and I have corrupted her. Actually it wasn't just me, it was a family effort that started when my son and daughter-in-law came to stay. We left them in charge of Rosie while we took a week out to enjoy some of the South Island's beauty. While we were away we were sent photos by the cat-sitters of Rosie enjoying a bit of television and we thought it amusing.
The son and daughter-in-law eventually moved into their new home, and my husband and I presumed we would return to our familiar 'couple plus cat' life. It was not to be. We began to notice a significant shift in Rosie's behaviour. Instead of being content to jump up on the couch and sleep while the humans watched Netflix, Rosie was now positioning herself in front of the television and whilst not a large cat she certainly was a better door than a window.
And then it happened. Saturday night I finally snapped and being no longer prepared to watch Netflix through the cat I enticed Rosie away from the big screen and gave her my tablet with a 'cat video' (yes the actually exist on YouTube) playing. She took to it like the proverbial duck to water only this was cat to digital with Rosie whacking the screen with her paw and searching everywhere for the birds that kept flying away.
Sunday morning and instead of jumping up on our bed to lovingly greet us with a smooch and a purr, as she has done so for the last 14 years, Rosie went straight to our tablets, pushing her nose to the screen searching for, I presume, the elusive mice and birds from the cat videos. And her screen addiction continues to grow.
And I have a horrible feeling that she is not the only one. Fifteen years ago when technology first came on the scene we delighted in its ability to enhance our lives, make things easier (there is no way I am ever going back to a paper map!) and allow us to be connected and entertained all day long. But I think the delight is starting to turn to regret. In this morning's NZ Herald I read an article about Facebook and Instagram's new time management tools. It seems that in an effort to 'stay in the game' the very companies who have built and promoted these highly addictive tools are now 'helping' us to manage the addictions they have deliberately and mindfully created in order to make money.
And speaking of staying in the game, what an interesting thing has happened with this year's Super Rugby final. For the first time ever the game is not sold out. It seems that the fans are far happier sitting at home in their warm family rooms watching the game on large screens, enjoying all the action, along with commentary, replays and live feeds from the TMO. That is unless they too have a digitally addicted moggie competing for access to the screen. But then again who needs to watch the Crusaders when you can watch Mouse Videos for Cats?