OBSESSING ABOUT ADDICTION

screamThe insanely addictive Rubik’s Cube celebrated its 40th birthday recently which got me thinking about faddy obsessions. The rise in gadgets is being attributed to the rise in technology addiction despite the warnings that such gadgets could have a significant impact on mental health on down the line.  Experts stress the importance of taking a ‘digital detox’ to remedy their obsession but I can’t remember anyone suggesting a Rubik’s detox, despite its obsessive attributes that claimed hours, months, years even of young lives trying to solve the cube.   Is the concern more about electronic devices and less about obsessive addiction?

A few months ago Missy found the ancient cube on a shelf in my cousin’s bedroom. Terence has long since flown the nest and has made his own nest, complete with family across the water but many favourite toys remain behind. While Aunty B and I chatted, Missy became completely enthralled with the cube the whole evening and was disappointed to be told she couldn’t take it with her because it was a keepsake, a throwback to my cousin’s youthful days, at a time when hours and days were spent trying to solve the puzzle. Had she taken it home however, I have no doubt she would have become mesmerised by it in the same way young kids these days are mesmerised by tablets and smart phones.

Google has made an electronic version of the infamous Cube. It works just like the original cube, apart from the fact you can’t peel the coloured stickers off as it is made of pixels but you can turn all six of the toy’s axes and turn it to different sides for a better view. To compare it to the real thing you will have to have a go at it but Missy wants the real thing. It seems there is nothing that can beat the fun or the frustration of having a real tangible Rubik’s Cube in your hand.  Who knows, it could become the most wanted toy again this year.

Still, the technological era gives any toy a run for its money. Missy is all excited about a new update on Mine craft.  For anyone who is not au fait with Mine craft, it is a video game of creativity, survival and adventure. So Missy tells me. I have peeked over Missy’s shoulder while she has been engrossed in her Mine craft world but I don’t get it. Everything is square, the monsters, the land, the animals, the faces, everything. I can’t make head or tail of it but Missy is all tingle-tangled patiently waiting for the new update. Is it time to start worrying about addiction?

I think not. Last week it was a skipping rope, another blast from the past though I don’t think skipping ropes ever disappeared from the market.  It is much more colourful looking than the one I once owned with wooden handles. Missy’s bright pink handles plays music and over the last week she hasn’t left it down. She has learnt some cool moves, adding the trampoline in for special effect.  This week she is obsessing over Loom bands, tiny multi-coloured elastic that make pretty rainbow bracelets so I think with every new fad comes some sort of a compulsion. In another fifty years perhaps digital technology will have wiped out everything that hasn’t got buttons and broadband attached to it but I still think there is joy to be had in simpler things. If Missy was only interested in Mine Craft I think then I would have a case to worry but the pressure is off for now thanks to her fascination with the Rubik’s Cube, her skipping rope and elastic bands.

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