I was around 13 and Mum had become seriously poorly and I needed to call an ambulance. We didn't have a phone so I ran round the corner to my Gran's house and got Auntie to make the call. What a life saver communication can be. Just being able to pick up the phone to get help that night meant my Mum got the emergency operation she needed.
Then last night watching the live pictures on the TV of my hometown, Manchester, being ransacked was sickening and frightening. Gemma was unsettled and wanted to know if Auntie was ok, so I was able to pick up the phone to check on her. What a sense of peace it gives you when you can talk to someone you love and are worried about and find out they're ok.
However 24 hours earlier I'd been blissfully unaware of the riots in London as we hadn't watched any news!! How can that happen? All of a sudden your life is changed and your focus is changed from your own circumstances to those suffering such violence and lack of regard for human life and livelihoods.
There will be many discussions I'm sure about who's to blame and what the root cause of it all is, but what I've been thinking about is how it all escalated so quickly. One of the main causes seems to have been the use of BBM (instant messaging through Blackberry's). This seems to have been used to insight violence rather than help anyone, surely this 'tool' should be used more responsibly??
After all the mobile phone and the internet are only 'tools', as I was reminded yesterday when I had a coffee with a good friend of mine who had her phone stolen. It's a tool, and one we need to be the master of and not let it master us. I used to 'people watch' a lot, and really enjoy seeing how mother's reacted to their children, watching people in conversation, noticing an older person struggling with their shopping and then being able to help out. Now what do I do with that spare time, play with my phone, text, check out facebook, look something up on the internet, play a game!!! Surely we need to be more aware of our interactions with actual people rather than virtual friendships and self centred actions. Surely we need to be mastering the phone and other social networks and not letting them take complete control of our lives??