”You work in a job you hate, to buy stuff that you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like”- Fight Club
As we hurtle down life’s expressway at breakneck speed,embracing modern technologies
and consumerism becomes the reigning deity in the temples of the Indian middle class; there is perhaps a need to pause and reflect. Pause to reflect that while our lifespans are getting longer, assisted largely by advancements in medicines, everything else is getting shorter – from our childhood to our tempers. Today’s age of instant gratification, one night stands and living on credit has brought with it more than it’s share of woes. If
one was to enter an average family home in the evening, chances are that all the members of the family would be staring at some kind of a screen viz, TV, laptop, computer, tab or a smart phone.
The ease with which today’s children handle gadgets and understand technology has made them the darling of advertisers. The children’s’ ‘Pester Power’ has ensured that by the time they start school they become ‘Brand Conscious’. By ages 10 – 12, they decide laptops/ TVs/ mob phones for their parents and grandparents and as they enter their early teens they pick the family holiday destinations.
Our generation is now caught in a vicious cycle wherein, peer pressure forces a child to
throw a tantrum for a particular gadget or junk food or a piece of clothing. The parent in turn, burdened by guilt of not spending enough time with the child relents. There is therefore a need to examine the impact of modern technology on our lives especially
our children, whether school going or young professionals.
Children are the truest reflection of the society as they are innocent and don’t hesitate to show their true selves but sadly, their innocent childhood is diminishing rather quickly for the society is addicting them unhealthy means. The schools face a major crises today as the children are exposed to unsuitable content on various mediums. There are many
instances of children getting access to adult content and porn before they reach middle school. These children curious and unaware, spread it to their peers, which in turn instigates their curiosity.
Today’s kids are using media more than ever. TV, Radio, Movies, video games, cell phones
and computer technologies have created exciting new opportunities and drawbacks.
The time spent on media has significantly decreased the amount of time available for
pursuing other healthy activities such as sports, cultural activities. It has become difficult for them to distinguish fantasy from reality as they are not mature enough. According to studies excessive TV viewing causes depression in children. The effect gets worse by the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Kids who watched more TV experiences problems in comprehension. A study reveals that 70% of kids between ages of 10 to 13 own smartphones and this increases to 90% by the age 14. The radiations
produced by smartphone affects the brain development. The pros and cons of increased
dependence on internet are:-
Online games help develop peripheral vision, but less physical activity causes
obesity and other disorders.
Decision making and problem solving skills develops, but increase risk of social isolation, anxiety etc.
The increasing use of drugs in school and easy availability of things like pen-hookahs and similar things is a major concern. The school is certainly not a medium for exposure to these things.
Google is their ultimate friend. All projects and answers are edited versions of Wikipedia
pages. We have made them dependent on calculators, internet and such easy solutions, where they have, for sure, lessened the use of their most unique parts the brain and soul.
The ‘now’ generation usually has a lot of complaints and disappointments vis-a-vis the
‘next’ generation but they fail to understand their own role in this plight. What we give them today is what they give us tomorrow.
“Millennials are the most stressed out generation in the history of mankind” NIHM report states.
And the reports aren’t much surprising actually. Gone are the days when earnings of one person were enough to keep the whole family contended. The hunger for
fame, power, higher social status, excessive wealth is what is eating up the newer generation. One would say that our world today is far more peaceful than it was
before. But in reality intolerance towards the ones who are not like the majority is rising. There is this fake uptrend of pretentious chauvinism in our country where people are misguided so that they are not able to distinguish between right and wrong.
There is unlimited information available in this era, but rarely are these checked for
their genuineness. Media has a huge influence on the human psychology and behavior. The latest example is the Saharanpur riot of July this year. 2000 good men decided to destroy a village and kill four innocent people just because a 17 year old “allegedly”
shared a meme. The youth is brain washed to perform horrendous activities in the name of “peace” and religion. Evil games like “The Blue Whale Challenge” are surfacing on the internet. This game persuades a person to suicide in just 50 steps, which involve waking up at odd hours and causing self harm.
The Young Professionals
Restless, frustrated, and discontent is how the generation often feels. The world is turning its colors towards modernity. Losing the intent and content is the expanding trend.
Young professionals are a part of the race to stand out in their own different ways. The new peers believe that to show up in a party, the basic necessities are drinking and smoking to burst stress. Overlooking the later ill effects young people are numerously influenced. While they hate their long sitting jobs, they have lost the intent to follow their passion and work for it; they like it better served in the plate rather than running to achieve it. The long weekday working hours are not enough for the professionals to take the burden, the laptops open back on the weekend, which reduces the interaction between families and maintains an incessant stress. They can’t find a satisfying way to connect with themselves, other people, or the world.
So it brings us to the most important questions “it is the generation forward, or is it”?
The Way Forward
The excessive use of gadgets while destroying family life, is also affecting our children physical, physiological and psychological well being. Long hours spent on gadgets adversely affects their eyesight and posture. The reduction in actual social interaction also has a long term impact on their social well being. Usage of social media driven emoticons and abbreviations is also impairing our younger generations language skills and perhaps are ability to express ourselves.
We all are perhaps aware of the issues highlighted in the article and small incremental steps by each member of a family is perhaps the way forward. Albert Einstein once remarked “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only
means”. All parents need to remember that they need to lead by example by reducing their mobile usage especially during meal times and make a conscious effort to interact and communicate with all members of the family.
The need of the hour therefore is possibly introspection, self restraint and leading by
example as parents and teachers. Few suggestions that may be borne in mind are listed below:-
Parents should make sure to limit screen usage to one or two hours a day, includes,
smartphone, TV, computers etc.
Encourage kids for family meals & communication.
Look for quality apps that promote vocabulary, mathematical and science concepts.
Keep these devices out of the bedroom.
As parents, we all need to stay informed and be aware of the possible side effects of
these devices while educating our kids.
The article is not for once suggesting that we turn our backs to technology or become cave dwellers. By putting limits on technology usage and being aware of the negative
consequences of overuse, families can regain their sense of balance, while harnessing the positive effects of technology.