Futures is delighted to welcome back Deborah Walker this week with Without access, her story about the need to stay connected. Regular readers will be familiar with Deborah’s work (there are links to her other stories at the foot of this post), but you can find out more about her writing at her website or by following her on Twitter. Here, she reveals the inspiration behind her latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.
Writing Without access
I like my phone, but my teenage daughter really likes it. It’s so important to her. Access is everything. When my teenage niece was denied Wi-Fi access on a recent holiday to Croatia (the brochure had promised access), she had a meltdown. For many of the younger generation access to the Internet has become part of their identity.
Concerns about the time we all spend on our electronic devices have recently resurfaced. Are we enslaved to access? What does this mean for our productivity? For our mental health?
It’s not just parents who are concerned. Half of teenagers think they spend too much time on social media. Teenagers also think that parents are spending too much time on their phones. (But let’s gloss over that.)
People can’t seem to stop checking their phones. A recent survey reveals people checking their phones in the most inappropriate situations: during sex (7%), on the toilet (72%) and even during a funeral (11%). Nearly two-thirds of people said they felt anxious when not connected to the Wi-Fi.
I seem to recall that the social-media giants are implanting measure to help us manage these issues, although I don’t recall what those measures are.
These issues inspired my story. I take my teenage hero to a planet where access is denied. A nightmare planet, inhabited by underground dwellers. Bored out of her tiny mind, my hero goes where she shouldn’t go: into the night of the living dead, except the dead aren’t flesh and blood, they are personalities, and they have access to a horrifying amount of data.