The decade ahead will bring a seaping change in our life style. Convergence & Interfacing of devices (such as telephone, TV, computers, Camera, Clock etc), Speech interface (as against keyboard & mouse), cheap networking & supercomputing in miniature devices will revolutionize the way we will, conduct our business & live our day to day life. Is it a Real progress ?
Recently I met a friend (after several years) at an Airport lounge and he seemed very anxious. I enquired what is wrong with him and he said “There is no Signal and he is feeling helpless”. I told him take my phone and make calls to whomsoever you want. He said calling features are working but he is unable to see whatsapp and facebook. I told him when we were in college we had no phones but we were happier . Isnt It ? I shared some old stories and jokes and he felt a bit relieved.
Welcome to 21st Century. Smartphones and computers were meant to save our time and improve productivity. But we seemed to have become slaves of Digital devices. There are various attractions one experiences like computer games, films etc and then one reaches a stage where this becomes a world to some . These persons have become victims of a new disease called Internet addiction disorder (IAD). Like any other disease this also can be treated if diagnosed early. Some popular symptoms are giving up social or physical activities , , fantasies or dreams about unreal persons/things and then mental agony leading to Depression. In some serious cases victim even commits suicide which we have seen in “Blue Whale gaming episode”.
Another variant of this issue is committing crimes using internet. This tendency exists mostly in young users, The entire limitless, seamless world of the internet is now available to the youth of today at a very early stage. The youth is most fascinated by adventures or thrilling and exciting things. Today it is possible to become a hero with least risk incurred and by simply sitting at home and working from one’s personal computer Needless to say that such situations increase the parents’ concern and responsibility.
Is there any remedy ? yes. We need to understand why we use gadgets, A) Use only when necessary, B) use for purposes of communication and entertainment as against becoming an addict and being enslaved by them. 2 hours in a working day can be tried as no internet period. Gradually increase it to 4 hours. I know a friend who says I don’t use internet on Sundays. Only incoming calling is allowed. One has to find own balance to become a responsible user – not a smart user. Ideally schools should include a workshop on “Cyber etiquettes and ethics” when students pass 6th standard. We need to enjoy outdoor activities, nature , arts and keep internet away during this joyful phase.
Ultimately we must understand that we must love people and use devices. We seemed to have reversed the usage. We love devices and seem to enjoy using people.
Author is an IT entrepreneur, author and Digital Literacy activist