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Meet the McMillans. They're like a lot of families -- young, unmarried, with two kids, a boy and a girl -- with one notable exception: They live every day like it's 1986. Not in some vague, listen-to-The Bangles-and-wear-some-Spandex kind of way, but in a manner that is deliberate and drastic and all-encompassing. The McMillans, at home, have given up all technology that was introduced to the world after 1986.

Yes. Which means: phones, but no iPhones. Videos, but no DVDs. Video games, but no Xboxes. Photos, but no Instagrams. TV, but no cable. For a year that started in April, the Toronto Sun reports in a profile of the '80s-tastic Canadians, the McMillans have been doing their banking in person. They've been entertaining themselves with books. They took a family road trip this summer, and navigated using paper maps -- and kept the kids entertained with coloring books and stickers.

And their excellent adventure doesn't end with technology alone. Blair McMillan, family patriarch, has doubled down on his Back to the Future lifestyle: For one very major thing, he wears a mullet. ("Business in front, party in the back,? he explains.) His kids do, too.

So. Yes. You might be asking why a family that is not currently the subject of an M. Night Shyamalan movie would adopt a lifestyle that is as aggressively retrograde as this one. You might also be wondering whether this is a hoax or, at the very least, a Balloon Boy-style publicity ploy. It is neither, Blair McMillan insists. While, yes, he's considering producing a documentary and/or writing a book about his year of living fluorescently, the broader point of the technological cutoff, McMillan says, has been to reclaim some of his family life from technology. (And it's been working, he insists. The kids, probably because they're so young -- 5 and 2 --have been cooperative with the drastic lifestyle change. The "project just to get closer and reunite the family," McMillan says, has been "working out awesome.")

The experiment started, he notes, with something that will make the McMillans familiar to a lot of families: a vague sense that gadgets were cheating their children of their childhoods. Earlier this year, Blair McMillan says, he was hanging out outside the house, and he asked his 5-year-old son Trey to join him. Trey refused. He was too busy with his iPad.

?That?s kind of when it hit me," Blair tells the Sun, "because I?m like, wow, when I was a kid, I lived outside."

That's when Blair and the family matriarch, Morgan, decided to drastically de-techify their lives. They gave up their cell phones. They deleted their Facebook accounts. They cut the cable. They established a box for visitors to stash their phones, tablets, and other gadgets while hanging out in the McMillan home. And they dealt, in the process, with friends and family and business associates who (reasonably) questioned their newfound lifestyle choices. While Morgan uses a computer at work, Blair, he says, has taken things farther -- to the extent that he's lost business. (Imagine if you were reliant on fax machines for document transmissions). And he's had trouble getting more work, as well, because so many workplaces now only accept job applications online.

Then again, Blair points out, the cost of living is reduced when you're not paying for cable and Internet and data plans. "It?s way cheaper," Blair says. Plus, "everybody just gives me stuff."

So why 1986, you ask, as opposed to, say, the perfectly regressable years that were 1985 and 1987? Because 1986 was the year both Blair and Morgan were born. ?We?re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it?s like," Blair explains. One concession they've kept to the contemporary world, however: their car. The McMillans, before April 2013 and after it, have driven a 2010 Kia. But -- 1986! -- they don't use GPS.

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If their vehicle is newer than an '86, it is a publicity stunt.

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Atari Jaguar came out in 1993 so they won't be able to experience true gaming with 64 bits :no:

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he asked his 5-year-old son Trey to join him. Trey refused. He was too busy with his iPad.

  What the heck is a 5-year-old boy doing with his own iPad?

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Everytime I see somebody say "I wish it was the 80's" or something I always reply. 

 

"If you want it to be like the 80's, lose the ?600 Smartphone, and get AIDS". Heard it in a comic standup.

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  What the heck is a 5-year-old boy doing with his own iPad?

Not exactly uncommon. My ex's little brother had one. Technically it was his parents but the only person who played it was him because he hogged it and they had a second newer model. He would throw fits if he wasn't allowed to bring it into restaurants because "he got bored." Then they would just give him one of their iPhones and let him play with that instead. ###### me off all the time because the kid had no manners, lied constantly, and always got his way anyway. Of course, not my kid so I couldn't do/say anything though my ex knew I didn't like it. She yelled at me more than once saying there was nothing wrong with spoiling a child like that.

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I see the point at what they are doing, but I can see it having problems as the kids get older and move out into a world filled with modern technology. Unless they stay in the 80's as well, they will have quite a jump into modern world at school, college, or at work.

 

Ideally a family can live in today's tech world and just limit the time and exposure kids have on gadgets, not shunning it all together.

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That's an illogical reaction to your kid being too busy with his iPad (that he shouldn't have imo). "That's it Honey, we're going back to the 80's!"

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I admire this effort.

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Well, for one thing, an '86 car will be a lot easier to maintain, so long as parts are available

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Well, for one thing, an '86 car will be a lot easier to maintain, so long as parts are available

That's why I think this is a stunt.

 

If technology ruling their lives was an issue, then limit exposure, don't revert to irrelevant stages in the past which could very easily harm your children's learning about the real world and adopting to society.

 

A DVD player isn't going to rule your life vs. rabbit ears and a TV.  It is the same disruption either way.

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That's an illogical reaction to your kid being too busy with his iPad (that he shouldn't have imo). "That's it Honey, we're going back to the 80's!"

Heh, yeah.

 

If my daughter did that, you can be damn sure it wouldn't happen again, or she would be a miserable little girl.

 

Sounds like the parents haven't figured out parenting yet.

 

(Hint: it doesn't require going retro with technology)

 

Or, its a publicity stunt, which is far more likely.

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buhh

 

 

I WENT TO LIVE IN THE FUTURE 

 

2080 PERHAPS  

 

i went a world drowning  in technology :P

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just think of all the money saved with no cable bill, no cell phone bill!!

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I hope they set up a dial up BBS so I can play door games with them.

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I shun humans past 1986.

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I shun music past 1986 :p

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I shun humans past 1986.

 

Aside from my Wife who was born in 1986, I agree. Although it could very well be 'Get off my lawn' syndrome; I'm open to it.

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Sounds like the parents haven't figured out parenting yet.

 

(Hint: it doesn't require going retro with technology)

 

I agree. You don't have to go to this extreme to limit technology in children (and adults) and draw the family closer together.

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Every generation says this.

 

Right now, it's video games and gadgets that are cheating kids out of childhood. Before that, it was rock and roll music. Before that, it was pinball machines. Before that, it was kids who sat inside to read instead of playing outside. It's nothing new, and I'm sure we'll be complaining that our kids don't have childhood anymore.

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Every generation says this.

 

Right now, it's video games and gadgets that are cheating kids out of childhood. Before that, it was rock and roll music. Before that, it was pinball machines. Before that, it was kids who sat inside to read instead of playing outside. It's nothing new, and I'm sure we'll be complaining that our kids don't have childhood anymore.

 

soooo true

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Reading something from Yahoo.com made me feel like I was in 1997 again.

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Are they also shunning post 1986 medical care?

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Bogus... This is no different than someone not watching TV for a year on a bet (although more drastic/stupid). I thought this was like some weird quasi-religious paranoid luddite thing. That would have been interesting.

 

BTW, 1986 would've sucked without cable. They're even living in a 1986 that is worse than the original 1986. It's disgusting... :)

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I propose a 'Neowin parties like it's 1999' month. Dig out your Pentium II-based PC running Win98 or iMac G3 running MacOS 8.5, your 56k modem and rock on! :p

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