The current British government’s self-avowedly “family-friendly” initiative to open mainstream schools from 8am to 6pm, seems to have at the centre of its vision the home as merely a kind of dormitory for members of the same family. To too many children, this is all it is, a dormitory and also a cheap entertainment centre, in which they spend more time communing with gadget than with the members of their own family.  With household entertainment facilities presented by advertisers as [necessities], it is common to have several sources of music and talk in the living room, sometimes more than on at any given time. When this is so, it is very difficult to focus exclusively and profitably on any one source. This kind of environment makes developing a sense of focus impossible and tends to encourage those who live within it to flit from one thing to another with increasing feelings of dissatisfaction and of isolation from those closest to us. Tim Lott the novelist writes “Gadgets are seductive, but they are dangerous, because they transform your relationship with yourself and the outside world. I am never alone so I am always responsible. I am never alone so I am always available. I am always talking and someone who never stops talking goes mad. Or I am not talking, I am listening to the beat, beat , beat of the new private interior world of the iPhone, and the world of space and silence disappears. We live in an age of static, a static that follows us around everywhere, and therefore is bound to become us, unless we resist” ( The Independent; Jan 11th 2007)

 

This phenomenon is now so widespread and obviously detrimental that the government has expressed concern over the effect it is having on children’s ability to learn to speak. The research is silent on what it is doing to their spiritual development and sense of self. The old devil Screwtape comments; “Music and silence- how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell..no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise- Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile- Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end” (p96 “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis)