Like having a tamagotchi, but instead of leaving it at home while you go to school, you stay home and it goes to school for you. That particular ‘toy’ may not be the best example as I was a bit older and missed the craze at the time. But wasn’t surprised to see recreations of people in adulthood mimicking their behaviour as a child with one. Literally dropping everything and rushing home from school to ‘feed it’ or find it had died. Probably a strange compliance test at the time, to see who would prioritise technology over real life. Enough it turns out. I too have arranged things around television when younger, so although didn’t engage with the tamagotchi craze, I was taken by technology and arranging your schedule around it. As many now have to, or choose willingly to.
But the new and slightly weirder piece of tech for this particular article, is the AV.1 robot. By a company called No Isolation. Sounds all friendly and benign doesn’t it? And has already been implimented in the UK, with more on the horizon. And its purpose? For attending school in place of children who for various reasons, cannot attend themselves, with the idea being that they can still take part in the lesson, and ‘be part of it’ remotely. Like I said, sounds all friendly and benign on the face of it. But as with many things, I like to give a bit of extra thought to these type of things.
Aside from the fact that if a child is too ill to attend school is still expected to learn and take part like everyone else from their sickbed, being a bit weird. It’s the fact there will be a constant electronic link, sometimes visual (as that is not compulsory apparently, only audio), between the child and the school. Which can and probably will be monitored by a third party. Also keep in mind, any device provided by the state through schools to families is owned by them, and they get to listen to what they want, record what they want, and can check the device any time they want. But it is an extra link directly into the home, through the child, rather than just being a direct link for the child to the school and teachers. They really do need to maintain the childrens constant indoctination don’t they? Off sick and can’t cope? No problem, we’ll install a system so that you will never feel behind or left out – oh, yes, that does mean you will be constantly monitored, and assessed, and judged, and expected to perform as per requirement and timetable. Perhaps overlooking that many of those things are what people struggle with, but by enforcing them at home as well as in the compulsory institutions, you just make it so there is nowhere to go to get away from it. If you can’t cope with school, then having it in your house everyday may not be the best solution and can cause a whole host of other anxiety issues directly within what should be a ‘safe space’. But maybe that’s just me that sees it like that.
Either way, having something mechanical to be a stand in for your physical presence is odd to me. Because while it appears to be a stand in, you are required mentally to be there, logged in and giving it your energy and attention. Many adults and children struggle with zoom meetings, and interactions of that nature being constantly required. It seems that although it’s not you being there physically, the draining aspect of what it requires is too much. People can gain energy from being around other people, recharging and bouncing off each other. It can help to get you through a day, or not for some. But the compulsory nature of school anyway bothers me, and how they have tried to structure family life around it. Catchment areas, grades, expectations, financial requirements, scrutiny, rules, restrictions and punishments. And that’s just school and a fraction of how much it dictates in a child’s life, and parents. It’s such an intrusive and unhealthy relationship the establishment has with people and their lives. It seems more obvious now than ever.