As we adjust to living in a digital world it’s important to recognise that new norms are needed to preserve dignity and independence. Digital technology provides access to untold levels of personal information but learning how and when to use it (without abusing it) requires a whole new chapter of etiquette. Here are a few examples.
My daughter has just started university. While at school (and particularly when she started driving) Find my Friends allowed us to know where she was without the need to interrupt her. This worked well. She was able to get on with life without having to ‘check in’ with the old folk yet was comfortable knowing that, if something went wrong, we could find her. In freshers week these rules changed – initially she appeared to never leave her room (which caused her mother great concern) until we discovered ‘tracking’ had been swapped to her laptop (which never did leave her room!). Once we had promised to never to comment on her being out late at night she was more than happy to return to the old arrangement.
Although well into her 90s an elderly relative has embraced digital technology. She fell foul of the same ‘know, but never comment’ rule and was ‘cut off’ for a week by her granddaughter – she soon fell in line! Security cameras are another technology she has embraced – they tell her (and us) when someone is arriving – picking up cars, people animals and even delivered parcels. However, sometimes they don’t and this can cause us all more anxiety than them not being there at all!
Bottom line – the Digital world is new and different – and we still have much to learn!