We sat down with the Co-Author of The Plano Adventures series, Dr. Mo Dirani, to ask about his thoughts on device dependency and his inspiration behind Out of Order.
1. Out of Order touches on the subject of device dependency. Have you seen/experienced this first hand yourself?
Yes. Me, and almost everyone around us. Just like the residents of Machiville, you just need to head to your local mall to see kids and parents glued to their screens. Just this afternoon as I was walking around the mall across my office, I saw a family having lunch. But instead of eating, all of them were staring at their phones! The children were watching YouTube videos and their parents were on their phones too. If you walk around the streets too, you’ll find almost everybody scrolling through their phones, texting, swiping. I find it unsurprising that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently published some screen time guidelines for children and parents. Everyone should check it out.
2. The robots in the book go on strike. What would you do if our devices shut down on us for a full day?
Ah, like a wi-fi shutdown? I’d definitely take advantage of it and take a well-needed rest! I’d probably meditate, maybe even head to the gym. I’d also spend the day reading some of my favourite books, and catching up with beloved friends and family.
3. Almost everyone has WhatsApp today. In Out of Order, we see the citizens of Machiville talking to each other using their phones, and not personally to each other! What are your thoughts on an increasingly digitally wired society?
In today’s digitally wired society, everyone spends the majority of their time on their phones. So, I’m concerned about the issue of loneliness and social isolation. It’s now become a global public health issue too. We should all put our phones down every now and then and talk to each other! Interact!
4. Technology is here to stay. No doubt, it’s fun, informative and entertaining, but what is one thing that you miss about the time before the advent of digitalisation?
I am old enough to remember the world without internet and mobile phones (haha). The one thing I miss most is real human connection, chatting to friends and family in person rather than through a screen. It is also painful to see that kids spend little to no time outdoors playing. I remember that the first thing that we did as kids after school was to play outside until the sun set. Nowadays kids go home to use their phones until it’s bedtime!
5. The Plano Adventures series is a children’s book that touches on the heavy subject of the pervading consequences of technology in society. What do you hope to convey to young readers through the entire book series?
Ultimately the power to change is your hands. Just like the last ingredient in the clear vision, MyPower, it’s up to you to be in control and do what’s right for your eyes. Tech is great, but use it for the tool it is, and do not allow it to make a tool out of you, says Dr. Mo Dirani.
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