Switching off can be dangerous in a switched-on world

Have your say

Ever sneaked a look at the cricket or football scores while you’re supposed to be working?

Checked Facebook and your Twitter feed when you should actually have been taking care of business?

The whole world does it. And the whole world accepts that the whole world does it.

That natural inclination to nosiness and to use every means possible to find out what’s happening NOW is part of modern life.

But it was ever thus.

The blokes who used to walk round running tracks at football matches and hook the big numbers on the perimeter walls to give us half-time scores were the 1960s equivalent of Sky Sports News.

Back then ‘smart-phone’ meant a nice new olive-green handset with a revolving dial and a curly cable in the hall at home.

Communication was different in those days but even then we were addicts waiting for a drug.

Many of us are encouraged, requested to keep up with events, to check e-mails with our multi-layered multi-tasking mindset.

If we’d had the capability back then would we have lapped up Twitter and the other techy tricks of today?

Of course we would.

Why wait for Sam Leitch’s old-style bulletin at 4.55pm if you can have Geoff Stelling and the lads describing every cough and corner in every game from 12.45?

That’s why there has to be some sympathy for Sheffield councillor David Barker currently being pilloried for checking the Yorkshire cricket score on his phone while listening to a council debate on the Rotherham child-abuse scandal.

He should have known that was a pretty dim thing to do and he has since acknowledged as much.

But people are so desperate to vent fury at a system that allowed men to entice, groom and abuse 12-year-old girls that they will lash out at anything remotely connected to it.

I don’t know David Barker but he did what we have all been doing for years now, probably without thinking about it. The real villains are those who sexually used 1,400 children over 16 years, not a councillor who chose the wrong moment to check a cricket score.

David Barker is guilty of thoughtlessess, no more than that. Give him a break.