Canadian family vows to live a year without post-1986 modern technology


Ever hear your parents complain about how the “good old days” were better? Yeah, well, Blair McMillan and his girlfriend Morgan are taking it to the next level… by forcing all modern technology out of their lives for one year. Yes, you heard that right — McMillan decided to ban all post-1986 technology from his house for one year.

McMillan did this in response to seeing his two kids, Trey (5-years-old) and Denton (2-years-old), constantly spend time on McMillan’s iPhone and iPad and not bothering to do anything else, like go outside and play. The idea here is to try to decrease the dependency on modern technology by his kids, and to parent “our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like”. (McMillan was born in 1986, if you are wondering why he decided 1986.)

The family started back in April and have until April 2014 to live without modern conveniences likes the internet, smartphones, tablets, modern computers, GPS, etc. How have they survived so far? Well, they are still alive aren’t they?

I don’t know about you but I personally feel this is a bit extreme. Why not simply hide your iPhone, iPad, etc. if you want your kids to stop using them? Plus, are you sure you really want your kids to stop using them? Kids at that age are in the learning process and quickly pick up things like technology. In my opinion, in today’s modern world, the more kids learn about technology the higher chances of them being successful. This isn’t, after all, 1986. You may be able to stop your kids from using modern technologies but what will stop other kids?

[via Geekologie, Laughing Squid, TorontoSun]

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  • Mike

    I applaud the idea, but why not simply put parental curbs and control on the use of technology, so that technology and social interaction/real life are in balance? It’s called parenting, right?

  • davidroper

    [@Seamus McSeamus] You may be right. The other day it told me to go up the interstate about 5 miles, turn around and come back to the ramp I was going across.

    Thank God my wife told me NOOOOOOOO!

  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@davidroper] I’ve heard that those maps are counterfeit, printed from the Apple maps app. You could end up in the middle of a river.

  • JonE

    [@Mags] I will simply say that I Agree with Mags.

  • Mags

    [@davidroper] “What about Baking powder and salt for toothpaste? Actually my brother still uses that mixture for brushing his teeth, he prefers it to toothpaste.

  • davidroper

    [@Seamus McSeamus] Here in SC we have open air markets selling snacks and gasoline along the highways, and the racks are there as well.

    I love my Garmin though. It can predict when I get somewhere, my paper map cannot.

    Good old days? What about Baking powder and salt for toothpaste?

  • Suze

    [@Seamus McSeamus] I’m happy to say that those road maps are still available (and still up-to-date) on those spinner racks near the cash registers at gas stations here in the Boston (MA) area! Thank goodness :) I still rely on GOM (good old maps) instead of GPS . . .

  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@Mags] In the pre-digital age you could buy road maps at just about every gas station there was, at least here in the US. They were usually on a spinner rack near the cash register, and there would be a national map, a map of whichever state you were in, and usually a map of the local city or town. These days, I think truck stops are about the only place to buy road maps.

  • Mags

    I think this family is doing the right thing. Technology is great, but far too many people rely on it!

    Here is a short experience where relying solely on technology failed. In this case it was GPS. I’ve chosen GPS as it is one of the main things my son loves to rely on and from noticing in the pic that the guy is holding a map.

    We were going on a trip this summer to my brother’s cottage up north (about a 1000k trip, or approx. a 5 hour drive.) Our usual drive included about a 45 min. – 1 hr drive (without heavy traffic) on HWY 400. My son decided that this time he wanted to completely avoid the 400, so mapped out, using the GPS on his Android, a new route. (BTW for non Cdns and non Ontario residents, Hwy 400 is a main Hwy and is constantly busy with lots of traffic.)

    I dug out my road map as I thought it would be a good idea to take it with us just in case. My son laughed at me and told me to leave it, that we wouldn’t need it. I insisted on bringing it along and did so, as I told him just in case we might need it. Well, guess what? Many times on the trip the GPS failed and lost the signal many times. If I hadn’t brought the road map he would have been completely lost.

    BTW, my son does know how to read road maps, but used to think they were too old fashioned and with today’s technology were useless. Not any more, now he realizes that Mom knows best. LOL

  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@Ashraf] Nope, just a nod to my Scottish heritage. But it would be cool if that was my real name.

  • Ashraf

    [@Seamus McSeamus] Of course, I understand. I was just trying to have a conversation with my best buddy Seamus McSeamus. Plus, even if it was a negative about the article, it is OK — everyone is free to express their opinion.

    Say, is your name reallySeamus McSeamus.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@Ashraf] Right, that was a general comment, not a rebuttal to something specific. No negatives about the article.

  • Ashraf

    [@Seamus McSeamus] No one was 1986 was technologically backward. But it is technologically backward compared to today.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    Interesting idea, but the Brits have been there and done that, only better. Check out Victorian Farm or Edwardian Farm and you’ll realize that 1986 wasn’t so technologically backward after all.