Technology has dictated the current pace and perspective of our lives with a dominant and unavoidable impact. When I look back to just 30 years ago to see the difference in lifestyle, knowledge and behavior over those years, it is somewhat alarming to comprehend. When I had my son in 1971, the amenities seemed positively primitive compared to those of having a child now, which are much more inclusive too, being designed to involve the whole family with the birthing process, instead of just the mother. The changes in the home, particularly in furnishings and lifestyle, are just remarkable to an older person like me and would have been phenomenal to my grandmother who had so little – no fast foods, no television, no freezer, no washing machine, no dishwasher , no phone, no electric light or oven, no microwave – all items considered essential to maintain our current standard of living.
Back then, the only gay person I heard about, or came in contact with, was Quentin Crisp, through the TV drama of The Naked Civil Servant . Yes, gays were around, but they were concerned as oddities. Open prejudice against them meant only a few were brave enough to admit it. Worse still, far fewer people in Britain are religious now and so the only times they see a church are when they can not avoid the necessary social rituals. Yet, we still pretended that Christians are in the majority in an increasingly diverse society and clothe social behavior in singular Christian ethics.
While all this change is going on, we are still demanding certain kinds of outmoded behavior of people, paying homage to the nuclear family instead of acknowledging the relentless rise of single households; ignoring the fact that fewer and fewer people are getting married, while we try hard not to notice the increasing number of extramarital relations (and divorces) occurring by the minute. The latest survey reveals that at least 60 per cent of both men and women are being intimate with people other than their official partners. Yet we continue to treat such people as though they are in a minority, as though they are home-wreckers; pretending that only a few 'misguided and selfish' people would have in such a manner, while still condemning the increasing diversity of a developing society which is in an exotic cultural transition. You only have to go on the Internet to see how many married people of both sexes are openly seeking new relationships with no intention of leaving their partners. Disguised as seeking 'fun' the eternal search goes on to find that elusive happiness. e viewed his present and future and the problems in his relationship.
Thanks to new technology, which has liberated people from their home location, there is now a self-righteous orgy of diminishing trust, betrayal and deceit in operation; one which is far removed from the much-vaunted Victorian values of family loyalty, commitment and selflessness. The mobile phone has become an indispensable item for illicit lovers, confirmed by a survey conducted for famous divorce lawyers, Mishcon de Reya. Thanks to the growth in the number of mobile phone and internet users, adultery is taking on new life in a dramatic way and conducting illic affairs has never been easier.
The study found that nearly half of those (46 per cent) questioned about their relationship practices claimed that the advent of emails, texting and internet chat rooms has led to a massive rise in the number of people being unfaithful to their partners. Nearly a third (29 per cent) admitted using emails, text messaging and internet chat rooms to flirt with potential partners or nurture an affair. Of those, almost a quarter (22 per cent) confessed to doing so every day while 62 per cent admitted to doing so once a week. The law firm says adultery has grown 'alarmingly' in recent years. Sandra Davis, partner and head of Mishcon de Reya's Family Practice, says the surge in availability of instant telecommunications is reflected in an equally dramatic increase in numbers wanting a divorce on the grounds of adultery. "The number of hotmail addresses in the UK is rising and they too are being used as a conduit for affairs on the worldwide web and away from the prying eyes of partners."
Rise in Infidelity
This development is almost predictable, really. Not tied to one place or phone anymore, and with greater freedom to live according to individual choice, it is open season on adult affairs. But are we possibly expecting too much enlightened 21st century folk when we expect total loyalty in long relationships? The point I am making is that we can not have such dramatic change happening around us while we stand serene and unchanged in the middle of it, quivering like unconcerned ostriches while we cling to old customs. We are bound to be affected in some way by newventions and new freedoms. While we may obsinitely maintain an aloof detachment from it all, the biggest impact is being felt by our children, who not only set the pace for change in many respects, but also have to pick up the pieces from their parents' broken relationships. Being directly in the firing line of any fallout, young children can not pretend that all the changes around them are not happening, especially when they will be on the receiving end of any consequences and will not need to understand or appreciate the reasons for them.
In fact, our children offer the most accurate reflection of where our society is heading. If we want to see a glimpse of our future, we only have to look at current youth behavior and attitude. With the absence of universal codes of conduct and firmer boundaries such as those in the past, coupled with a more liberal form of child-rearing, youngsters tend to be more informed and confident in dealing with others, on one hand, but noticeably more emotionally detached and less loyal and caring in their approach, but even more fearful and insecure, on the other. Too much of adult life is exposed to them too early in their formative lives and, lacking the understanding and maturity to deal with it, it increases their fears and anxieties even more. This wholly accounts for the increase in age of the youngsters preferring to remain at home, 34 years old for men, compared to 24 years old a couple of decades ago. They want to hang on to that feeling of protection and enjoy financial security without too much responsibility, for as long as possible.
The world is a more exciting but transient place, one in cultural and social transition due to the revolution in technology. However, we are not moving as fast in adapting to those changes and are finding the speed at which our lives are indeed altered really quite bewildering and scary.