Is technology taking over our lives?

Get down, Shep!

So, nearly 70% of people under 25 admit to communicating by text or email with someone in the same house.

That's according to the latest research by Best Buy, which has been investigating our attitudes to technology.

Now don't worry, I'm not about to come over all Daily Mail on you and start ranting about "the youth of today" and how "in my day we made do with washing-up bottles and sticky-backed plastic" (Blue Peter, for those of you too young to remember).

But Best Buy's report did get me thinking. As someone who (ahem) falls into the over-35 age bracket, I should, apparently, be one of those who switches on the kettle when I first get home for a sit-down and a nice cuppa, before firing up the laptop or switching on the TV (presumably after slipping on my favourite cardigan and M&S slippers).

The thing is, though, I think we're all just getting more used to technology and multi-tasking. I frequently watch TV at home with the laptop on my knees, perhaps doing a bit of web surfing if the programme I'm viewing gets a bit boring. And the first thing I do in the morning when I come downstairs (before putting the kettle on) is check my emails on my iPhone.

Now I may not have resorted to texting someone else in the house, but I will admit to having on occasion phoned from upstairs to see if the other half in the kitchen has got lunch ready. Shocking, I know.

They don't make 'em like this any more...

So I don't think age comes into it. I have an elderly aunt who bought a laptop, took lessons on how to use the web and is now a highly proficient silver surfer. And I've recently introduced my parents to the delights of multichannel, high-definition TV and they couldn't be happier.

So let's not beat ourselves up about our 21st-century habits. Technology can be infuriating, especially when it doesn't work properly, but it can also be liberating. Wi-fi lets me work on the laptop in the garden, or stream music on Spotify through my iPhone. And if I can't be in the office, I can still work on the web from anywhere in the world.

Did we manage in the past without all the gadgets of modern day living? Yes, of course we did. But let's be honest, making things with old coat hangers and washing-up bottles wasn't half as much fun, whatever James May says.

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.