When technology isn't the answer

Technology and the Internet can be an amazing resource, but it can also get you into trouble or cause problems.

Theodora Dallas found this to her cost this week. She was jailed for six months after looking up a defendant on Google, then telling the rest of the jury she was sitting on what she found – a clear case of contempt of court.

So when does it pay to use technology and when should you realise it's time to put down the computer, smartphone and tablet and steer well clear?

Socialising

Arranging real-life meetings with your mates on Facebook is one thing, but sitting at home on a webcam chatting to your friend who lives next door is another. As is emailing your colleague at the next desk instead of just speaking to them.

Hanging out in a video chartroom on Google+ may have got a boost last week when David Beckham did it, but there's no substitute for real face time- not the Apple version – with your pals down the pub, at a gig or in the cinema. And what's wrong with a good old fashioned board game around the table on a Saturday night rather than playing those "social" games on your favourite virtual network while in your pyjamas?

Buying clothes

OK, we all know you can't try new clobber on before you buy it online, that’s a given. But it’s not the only reason to head to the high street instead when following fashion. Just look at all the stores closing down because they’re losing custom.

Now it's not just about getting the right size either, because co-ordinating your outfits and accessories isn’t easy when ordering from six different websites, each with pictures that could do with a pop-up version to see the exact pattern or colouring. Not to mention you learn almost nothing about the feel or thickness of the cloth from a photo.

Having a real assistant on hand to tell you what you look like from the back or side, or that your hair colour just doesn’t work with that shade of brown is a bonus. Most importantly, nothing beats the feeling of rummaging through piles of reduced clothes on the floor or hung on lines of rails before bagging that sale bargain you find squashed in a corner.

Betting


It might be quick and easy to load up a betting app on your smartphone or log on to a gambling website but where's the excitement in that? Your local betting shop can throw up far more than a winner on the horses. Packed with colourful characters ready to share a tip or two, handing over that slip and standing there watching the screen to see if your gee-gee romps to victory is a feeling that cannot be recreated in the virtual world.

Plus you can't beat seeing that lovely wad of cash you've won nestling in your hands rather than on a screen as numbers used for an electronic transfer.

Splitting up

Let's get this straight. Telling a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife that it's over via email, text message or even worse – by changing your social network status – is the coward's way out. So we don't blame them if they use the same technology to get their own back on you.

If you can't let them down gently face-to-face then at least call them… from a phone – not via Skype on your webcam. OK, you might still be using a mobile but at least it shows you care. Well obviously you don't care or you wouldn't be dumping them in the first place, but at least it's a start.

Pub quiz


Gone are the days of co-opting the local bespectacled brainbox onto your team in a bid to win that pot of cash. Now it's all about having the person who can most sneakily search their Wikipedia app under the table or speak to Siri through their Apple iPhone 4S for the answer while still cunningly looking like they're chatting to a team-mate.

Using smartphone technology to win is just cheating! Plain and simple. No excuses. Do you not think they’ve spotted the numerous toilet trips, not caused by the one soft drink you’re nursing?

Instead why not brush up on your history, geography and reality television beforehand so you know the answer without having to resort to the mobile Internet and risk pub-lic quiz humiliation.

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