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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Renting Technology – And Life



The other day I was looking at gadgets, hoping to find the right one for my son, who turned eight this week. He loves to download music and game apps on my wife’s iPhone.  He asks us to buy him a phone every other day.

I don’t want him to get a phone just yet, in part the cost, and in part because it is not necessary. I could get him the iTouch, which is like a phone without the ability to make calls, but I think he will outgrow it like he did the DSI that I bought a year ago.

I looked at tablets. I don’t have one but they look interesting. After taxes and buying a protective cover, the iPad would be six hundred bucks. Too much money for a little boy. I don’t want him to have something that expensive that he could easily break, lose, or bore of. The Google Nexus 7 is recommended for kids his age.  The new one has 32gb. Just six weeks ago I was going to buy the 8gb one, but apparently those no longer can be found and its replacement, the 16gb one, is also gone. The speed in which these things appear and then disappear has accelerated.

We are just renting technology. Whereas people used to keep a stereo, TV set, or desktop computer for many years, everything is disposable. If the electronics don’t break down (they aren’t built to last) soon enough then the tech world invents “toys” that are faster, bigger, smaller, and with more functionality, leading us to junk the recently new for the present/future that is really the soon-to-be past.

I will probably get him a tablet but I suspect it may only last two years. If he hasn’t left it on the school bus, spilled juice on it, or dropped it on the floor, he will find another hot gadget to gravitate to. Who can blame him? Society has adopted a renting either than owning, mentality. Lease a car for two or three years, then trade it in. Get a house, buy another one every few years. Get married but then divorced – a few times. Nothing wrong with variety and diversity, but in a world of constant change and flux and options, can we at least expect a $300 item to last longer than a kids’ attention span?

I know others, especially parents, must feel as I do. But we have accepted this state of affairs to be the new normal. No wonder why many people do not plan for retirement or even a rainy day. We live in the now and the short-term future. 2037 cannot even be fathomed but for 2013 we might stick with our current cell phone plan – for six months, maybe.

We are renting technology and perhaps other aspects of our lives. Sometimes I would just like to look at something and think it will be around for 5 or 10 years. I guess I am just a dreamer.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

2 comments:

  1. we're facing the same dilemma with our granddaughter. She's 4 and constantly wants to use Grandpa's iPad. We looking at an Atvio (which we can buy here in Mexico) for about $100. Hopefully it will be good for a couple of years.
    I have an old Dell laptop that I love and I hope it never dies!

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  2. My son just turned 8 as well. He's keen on the same stuff so we let him borrow our tablets, PC's, whatever we have. But we don't have the latest gadgets (none in fact) and we also say 'no' to him.
    He's a great kid. He gets music and sports lessons. So he's got limited screen time anyway. Plus he realizes we don't give him a lot of screen time because it isn't good for him.
    Occasionally he might feel a bit deprived. But mostly he feels loved. And grateful for the times when he gets screen time just for fun!

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