I grew up in Australia at the end of the Second World War. I knew most of the people in our street who were parents of the friends I played with. My mother sewed clothes for some of them. During the 45 years I lived in various parts of Australia, I continued the custom of greeting people I met if they looked non-threatening. I've heard it said that primitive cultures are friendly. But when society develops and becomes overcrowded, people are more insular and don't greet each other.
That happened when I arrived in England, all alone and seeking a job. Strangers walked by on the street with their eyes averted. I soon became used to that way of approach. We only speak to people we know. Now, I greet regular walkers and neighbors when I see them. At least I have some real human contact.
A YouGov poll of more than 2,000 consumers found the average UK household now owns 7.4 internet devices and four in 10 homes bought a tablet in the last year.
Smartphones are the most common internet-enabled device, at 1.7 per household, followed by laptops (1.3) and tablets (1.2).
Four in 10 households now own one tablet, one fifth have two, and 11 per cent own three or more.
In our flat, I use a computer to write and look up information. Even my use of the internet takes up too much time away from my husband. He has a basic mobile phone (not a smart one), in case of emergency.
Use of the internet has changed the basic polite nature of personal contact. With obscurity, people think they can say whatever they please on Twitter or Facebook.
The internet frees malicious people to say things to virtual strangers they would never dare to say if they met them face to face.
However, the media contact has many benefits. A UK lecturer in media communication at Birmingham City University believes that social media gives us a connection with each other that we are all craving.
Wouldn't it be better to go outside and chat to someone? Ask a neighbor how they are? Talk to each other about things that concern us?
At the moment, my husband is batting cancer and I'm in such pain I can hardly walk. We just manage to take care of each other every day. I'm not likely to chat about that to someone online. But, if I met a kind soul who knew about our problems, I could share my concerns and maybe their words of advice would give me inspiration to carry on.
There must be so many people out there who need our consideration. Don't let the internet change our basic humanity.
Do you spend more time using the internet than talking to real people? Do you long for human contact?