Technology Blackout Diary – 4 days of (comparatively) simple living

Naturally I kept some notes of our self-inflicted ‘no technology’ experience so we might better share our pain of four nights without computers, mobiles or television. As the blackout didn’t start until Monday it’s interesting (or funny or sad – insert as you feel appropriate) to note that all senior members of the Devereaux family stayed up with their laptops and phones until midnight Sunday night.

Day One – Monday night – Lost. Who’s dumbass idea was this? I’ve spent the entire first half of the night circling through the kitchen, balcony and hall to the family room door. Then I remember afresh there’s nothing in there for me – can’t watch TV, can’t use laptop – so I meander through the kitchen again. Everytime I passed Tracey she told me how great this was and how much she was loving it and how next time we should go without technology for a month. Wanted to slap her. Only person looking more lost than me is Miss16. She’s not happy, although she did present us with her iPod, phone and laptop without any argument. Eventually I thought of something I can do in the family room and promptly fell asleep on the lounge while Tracey put the kids to bed. Managed a couple of hours because there were no distractions. Kidlettes played cards together most the evening – alternatively fish and pairs – and Miss16 did homework and then read a book. Closer to bed I picked up Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein Lost Souls and stayed up until 1am reading (thank goodness for my earlier nap). Cyclone Yasi is coming and all I really want to do is watch the news but I’m being strong.


Day Two – Tuesday night – Less lost. Only did five or six laps of the kitchen tonight before I settled into my book. Determined not to nap the night away. Miss16 and I played two handed 500 in the dining room and talked. I think she just wanted to make sure Tracey and I didn’t break the rules and sneak a peek at the laptop. Homework with the kidlettes is easier without the distraction of potentially watching TV. Tracey played games with the kidlettes before bed and they went to sleep really well without the sound of the television in the background. It was a nice night. Finished my book at bed time. Really wanted to watch the news for the weather but Cyclone Yasi isn’t hitting here so I can’t justify breaking the rule. Customers at work are keeping me up to date on events anyway.


Day Three – Wednesday night – Began a second Dean Koontz book – The Husband. Tracey accused me of replacing the laptop with a book. Very uncharitable of her. No laps of the kitchen tonight so I must be acclimatising. More cards with Miss16. Master19 has gone to Brisbane to look for a place to stay while at university. Mid evening we received a panicy call from him because the mates he’d gone down with were wanting to go to TimeZone and he wanted to check up on whether he was breaking the rules if he went with them. We decided to create a Social Caveat rather than have him wait outside on the street by himself in the middle of the big city. Overall tonight stress levels seem low. The kids aren’t fighting bedtime and Tracey says after homework they played nicely together on the balcony for a couple of hours. Master5 is mad keen to watch Pokemon on the weekend though – keeps bringing it up like we might forget. I asked Miss16 if she was coming around to the whole experience and she looked at me like I was an idiot, so I guess not.


Day Four – Thursday night – Tracey worked tonight. I arrived home from rounding up the kids and picking up a couple of boxes of fruit at 6pm. Even with a late start, without the TV and laptop demanding my attention, I had dinner cooked and homework done and kids bathed and in bed by 7.30. The kidlettes are playing really well together. Began my third book for the week – Dean Koontz’s False Memory. Tonight was a real challenge to my will power. I think Miss16 realized how much I wanted to turn my laptop on because she didn’t leave my side. Master19 arrived back from house hunting excursion to Brisbane so Miss16 and I each beat him at two handed 500, which was very satisfying 🙂 Suggested to family we do this once a month (the technology blackout not beating Master19 at 500) and I think I’ll be locking the bedroom door tonight because I fear Miss16 may kill me in my sleep.


Day Five – Friday night – Hmmph. There wasn’t suppose to be a Day Five. I was really looking forward to coming home from work tonight and turning on my laptop and watching Escape to the Country. But it wasn’t to be. Cousin4’s birthday party. Had a great night eating homemade seafood pizzas (thanks Max), drinking beer and laughing. The kids played on a jumping castle and ran around and eventually settled down to watch TMNT. I admit I had trouble tearing my eyes away from the screen and back to the conversation – I must have looked like a New Guinean primitive from a lost tribe who had never seen a television before and thought moving pictures were voodoo magic. Finally got home and turned the laptop on at about 10pm. And it didn’t work!! Had to do a restore. Even worse, I missed Escape to the Country, but at least I got to watch 60 Minute Makeover. Yes, I’m a sad man.


We’ve decided we need to do this more often, and although not thrilled with the prospect Miss16 has come around with our compromise proposal that she can have some music (CD’s only) next time, which meant, of course, that she immediately began work on her campaign to keep her phone next time as well. But we’ll have limitations on the music – not during homework for a start, and no Hanna Montana or Jonas Bros. This was a fantastic week and ultimately not as big a struggle as I would have thought  🙂  The kids all did more homework and played well together. They played more fish and pairs than they did in the whole of January. They slept better too.


Looking back I’m sorry to say I can’t think of one decent reason not to do this more often. Miss16 has offered to make me a list.

When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes

Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’



  • I am so impressed you all stuck with it and enjoyed each others company. As a family, you all are a real inspiration. Well done, much praise to you all. Miss16, I’m super impressed with your negotiation skills. Do I see a future in law for you?

  • Good for you guys! We pretty much do that every sunday – the kids pull out the board games, we hand write letters to friends and family ect. very rewarding 🙂

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