In 1983, BBC’s Newsnight aired a report on what they classified as “computer addicts”. This marked the beginnings of home computing, where platforms like the Commodore were becoming popular among a niche audience of nerds and tech enthusiasts. The report highlighted the daily habits of these early adopters, showcasing how they integrated computers into their daily lives. One individual, Chris Carter, was shown using his computer both at work and in his free time, dedicating 20-40 hours a week behind the keyboard. Despite his passion for computing, his wife expressed concerns about the impact it had on their relationship, as she hardly saw him due to his computer usage.

Another individual, businessman Graham Hawker, was depicted as being consumed by his latest videogame, forsaking the outdoors for the virtual world on his computer screen. The report painted a picture of individuals who were deeply engrossed in their computers and videogames, to the point where it affected their daily lives. While the voiceover identified a beautiful summer day outside, Graham was focused on navigating his way through a virtual world to rescue a princess. This behavior hinted at a deeper obsession with computer usage, one that went beyond mere hobby and into the realm of addiction.

An Insight into the Past

Despite the humorous tone of the report, it offered a fascinating look into the mindset of a generation just beginning to understand the potential impact of computers on their lives. While computer addiction was not a widely recognized concept at the time, the individuals featured in the report displayed behaviors that hinted at a deeper passion for their machines. This early glimpse into the world of home computing sheds light on how technology has evolved over the years, and how our relationship with it has transformed.

As we look back on these early days of home computing, it’s clear that technology has come a long way since then. The once-nerdy hobby of using computers has now become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, with advancements in technology shaping the way we work, communicate, and entertain ourselves. While the individuals in the report may have been ahead of their time in embracing computers, their experiences serve as a reminder of the potential risks and rewards that come with our increasingly digital world. As we navigate the complexities of modern technology, it’s important to reflect on the past and learn from those who paved the way for the digital age we live in today.


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