Watch video above: An Ontario family is returning to the 21st century after spending a year in 1986. Minna Rhee reports.
TORONTO – The days of sporting a mullet, using a VCR, a tape player and dialing rotary phones are over for a Guelph, Ont. family a year after traveling back in time to endure a 1986 lifestyle change.
“We just thought it would be good for the kids to experience basically what we experienced as kids without all the technological distractions,” said 27-year-old Blair McMillan, whose wife Morgan Patey and their two sons Trey, five and Denton, three, began the 80s family project on April 27 last year.
One of the key aspects of the challenge was to unplug from all of their technologically advanced devices.
“Before they were really into the tablet and things like that,” said Patey of her children. “I think now they just figured out how to get along better, communicate with each other.”
“They figured out that mom and dad spend more time with them. We go outside more. We’re more spur-of-the-moment.”
The family admits it wasn’t easy transitioning from handheld devices to listening to Wham! and AC/DC on cassette tapes.
“Before we started I was a stress case. I wasn’t too impressed about doing it and then he topped it off with a mullet and a stache,” Patey said.
“Now I’m used to it. After a couple months, it got easier and it just became our lifestyle.”
McMillan believes the 80s flashback brought their family closer together and made them realize how life may actually be better without technology.
“I thought it would be a good challenge for us,” McMillan said. “As much as our kids were guilty of just being able to use the phones, it’s our fault because we gave it to them.”
“On a nice day now, even we’re aware of it. We won’t sit in front of the TV or on our iPhone. We’ll be outside with the kids.”
Although the 80s lifestyle change may be over, the family hopes to relieve their cherished memories by documenting their experiences online.
“We filmed some of the footage but that’s kind of our future plan is to write a book or something like that or blog about it once we’re back online.”
And what about the mullet?
“Yeah, Morgan has fallen in love with it.”