By John H
It’s Sunday and you’re sat around the dining room table having lunch — I know, how middle class. You’ve got the grandparents round, and your mother-in-law was just passing by and called in, so she’s got a place set too. The kids are sqwawking away about something they’ve just read on Twitter about the education secretary’s proposals to do away with all school rules, make them child-led, and scrap exams. In between bringing the chicken in, and slopping the gravy boat down your front, you grab your Samsung Galaxy S10 and tap the BBC News icon — there’s nothing about it on there so you put the phone down and keep serving up. The kids continue to get animated about it, of course they would be, who wouldn’t! I mean, that just taps in to everything kids want — control of their own surrounds and no exams — Boom! They’re busily sharing the tweets with their friends in a private WhatsApp group and reporting back to the table what their friends are saying about it.
Being a responsible adult, you tell them to throw the phones in to the other room and begin to pass the plates around. But the animation of the teenage boy and ‘tweenage’ (yep, I learned that word this weekend) girls gets Grandad chatting; he’s surprised that nothing like this was in his Sunday paper — ministers don’t go around making new policies on a Sunday so it really should have been in his paper…he steps away for a moment to check and you scowl at him — it’s all well and good telling kids to put their phones away but this is almost as bad. Anyway, he comes back and happily reports that it’s not in his paper.
Mum comes in with the final mounds of veggies and says that she was just listening to Heart Radio in the kitchen and there was nothing on the news about it, “so be quiet and eat up”. The Tweenies try to bring it up again but Grandma says, “we can always check after lunch, anyway, how about the latest Trump rant!” — and the family start chuckling and moaning about the latest outburst from the orange-headed guy about some insult his Scottish golf course received. The news has been on all the major platforms over the weekend and they descend in to discussions, jokes, arguments and conclusions up until the point that you tell them to clear the table.
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