News

Family In Guelph Living Like It’s 1986

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Image: CatJar
1986 was a year full of important news, including the popularity of the personal computer. Image: CatJar

A family in Guelph, Ontario is spending a year living in 1986.

They’re doing it so their kids can see what life was like before complicated technology like iPads, sophisticated computers, tablets and even complicated coffee machines were part of everyday life.

They have banned all technology from their home and are relying on the things people would have used back in the 80s.

There is a box at the front door where people can temporarily deposit their mobile devices, like cell phones, while they’re visiting the family.

Blair McMillan and his girlfriend, Morgan want their kids—Trey, 5, and Denton, 2—to have a year free of technology.

Instead of using an e-reader, they’re reading books. Instead of Googling things, they’re using reference guides like encylopedias. Instead of digital photos, they’re shooting rolls of film and having them developed.

And instead of using a GPS to get around the United States during a vacation recently, they used paper maps.

A reporter from the Toronto Sun newspaper, Maryam Shah, spent some time with the family and reported that they are living “a drastically different life.”

The home the family is living in was built in the 1980s.

Even the way they dress and style their hair is from the 80s.

Blair McMillan has a “mullet”—a hairstyle in which the back is long and the sides and top are short. He also has a big mustache.

The whole idea started when young Trey was called to come outside. He didn’t because he was busy playing on the iPad.

That’s when his dad thought of the idea of living “in 1986” for a year.

One of the hardest things, they said, was giving up their cell phones. Blair McMillan told Shah that even though he no longer had a phone in his pocket, he’d feel a “phantom buzzing” that felt like a phone was vibrating and he’d go to answer it.

The family plans to live like it’s 1986 until April next year.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you lived without technology for a year, what do you think you would experience? What would the advantages and challenges be?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Imagine yourself in 1986, in a world with not nearly as much technology. How would your daily life change? How would you use the time you now spend with technology?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Jargon / Slang
Quotation marks can be used in many different ways. One of the ways they can be used is to show that a word is being used to show that it is slang. Today’s article includes the following examples, “phantom buzzing” and “mullet.”

What slang / jargon do you know? How might putting quotation marks around slang help readers understand texts?