05/08/2013 11:13 BST | Updated 03/10/2013 06:12 BST

The Curse of the Touch-Screen Tablet


"I don't want one," I distinctively remember saying three months after the iPhone 3 came out. Back then, I was perfectly satisfied with my ageing Samsung, completely believing that I had no need to access my emails, the internet and goodness knows what else through a technological device which didn't even appear to have manual buttons. However, that was three years ago before the attractions of Facebook and Twitter came luring into our lives, social media networks which, it turns out, are quite handy tools for a journalist.

So, I now have one. An iPhone. Yes, I can download emails in seconds and follow breaking news on countless different apps, and I can even find my way around London using its Sat Nav device. Admittedly, it did blow my mind when a friend told me that she had created a two-minute movie via a collection of photos and music from her phone for a friend's birthday party trailer. Amazing. Though I'm just fine watching from afar, I'd rather not be shown the hassle involved in creating it.

Although having emails and internet on hand 24/7 has, I confess, been a massive help to my life in recent years, it still saddens me slightly that technology is fast taking over our everyday lives. After the iPhone came the iPad (yes, I've got one of these too). The iPad is brilliant for travelling as it generally takes up less room than a laptop, but again, I try only to use it for the necessity of retrieving emails and an internet connection when abroad. Indeed, access to emails when out of the country appears a crucial need for most friends and colleagues too. When emailing a fellow journalist last week, I received an automatic reply informing me that they were away until the end of the month. Despite this, I nevertheless found a reply sitting in my inbox less than an hour later. Holiday or not, anything's possible with a Blackberry.

News this week coming from Ofcom, the communications regulator, stated that over a quarter of British households currently own at least one touch-screen tablet, highlighting that children even use the devices for homework and communicating with friends. Gone are the days of catching up with school chums playing hopscotch in the park, it seems. Following this, whilst on holiday last month it struck me just how influential iPhones, iPads and technology in general has evolved on an international scale. Sitting at a local taverna, I spotted no less than five tablet devices balancing on the corners of dining tables. "Right guys, iPads away!" exclaimed Dennis from New York, who was on a family holiday and staying at an apartment near us. The audible sigh of disappointment coming from his children was evident - it was too much to bear.

It didn't stop there, though. After an invitation to a nine-year olds birthday party in Greece, I gave Anna's parents €20 for her to spend on whatever she wished, not knowing what Greek children are into these days. "Thanks," said Anna after receiving the card, "I'm saving up for an iPad." Of course, I thought. I should have guessed.

Having given into the iPhone as well as the iPad, the latest peer pressure to come my way is the Kindle. But the limit stops here. Turn in the excitement of handling a newly released, beautifully structured book in favour of reading it from yet another screen? I couldn't do it. Nor could I read The Times from my iPad on the train into London. Compared to the blurred breaking news stories that I can retrieve from Twitter, nothing beats the thrill of reading from print. Newspapers win me over every time.