To tech, or not to tech!

Dristy Rahman asks, are attachments with personal gadgets addiction or pleasure pursuits?

breenThat includes cellphones and laptops as well. Can you imagine the irony of this? I mean I am writing on a laptop right now and chances are you might be reading the e-paper version of this as well. I love the already contradicting hypocrisy that I am about to address.

I have a friend who in everyone’s eye is a snob because he shows off his iPhones. Well, if you have it then flaunt it, right? The young and trendy generation of today judge themselves on the basis of gadgets they own. It is a matter of social class and social acceptance these days. The popularity of gadgets among youth has ensured that newer and trendier gadgets are introduced very passing day. The addiction of gadgets among all is such that it has become unthinkable of a life without a technological device. The effect of these has been tremendous, and it is often debated that whether the impact that it has made on the youth is a positive or negative one.

Last month, I was freaking out because I got 114 likes on my Facebook profile picture instead of the usual 286. I was depressed, heartbroken, and was on the verge of deactivating my Facebook account. I thought, I was losing friends, popularity, and I was no longer ‘liked’ by people. My friends did their best to generate likes, but it was all in vein. We were all equally upset, so we stopped taking pictures and gave up socialising. We mostly sulked in our group chats, trying to get to the bottom of this sudden fall in post reach and conspiring to bring in more likes by commenting on each other’s photos.

At first, we blamed it on Ramadan, then we blamed our age. Finally we found out the truth; Mark Zuckerberg decided to change its settings and so our posts were not appearing on other people’s newsfeeds at all. That’s when I realised how badly I require validation and attention from people in order to function properly. I was not alone in this, so that made me happy. However, there’s no denying the fact that we all need social media acceptance to feel good. We like it when someone acknowledges us and we feel happy. God forbid if I don’t get the targeted reach, I go crazy. So does everyone I know. Social media matters!

This brings us to the influence it has on our behaviour. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, everything has made our life so connected to the virtual world where we constantly want to prove ourselves and make it look like we are content with our life. A stranger calls me pretty on social media and I’ll think about it the entire day. I don’t get any comments on my picture, I’ll whine about how ugly I look the entire day. So, what I am trying to say is it’s embarrassingly true that our mood, behaviour, and self-judgment depend on how the world sees us on social media. Thanks to all those latest gadgets that made us this way. Oh, and not to forget, the access to internet. What a blissful curse!

Video games and computer games have influenced the youth the most. Several researches indicate that these games can have a positive effect on the youth’s mind. For children younger than preschool age, electronic devices may help to stimulate the senses and imagination. Some technological usage may help to enhance listening ability, sound detection, and speech delivery. Electronic devices and games may encourage cognitive learning and the development of analytical skills. This may in turn help children build innovative thinking and investigation skills, strategic thinking, and creativity. However, these games and virtual dependence may also result in the child getting absolutely isolated from the society. There is a tendency to get engrossed in the games, and often take over our family or social commitments.

From cell phones to television sets, from multimedia gaming units to simulators everything is a gadget in one form or the other and had brought the world inside one’s pocket. The cell phones specially the smart-phones have played a revolutionary role in the life of people. On one hand the phone has become a necessity these days on the other it has everything at just a click away. Games, music, movies, networking, emails, internet and even calling, everything is just a matter of a few keys. The children these days do not indulge in social circles, but engage in social networking sites. They do not go out to play, but have the latest play stations. They do not have hobbies, but addiction.

It is believed that the present generation of teens is leading, more or less, a robotic life. They are the slaves to the electronic gadgets. Craving for a charging point is much more than that for food even after having skipped a meal. I feel just how the panic over a dying phone is bigger than the panic of my exam results getting out! That doesn’t necessarily mean the youth can’t socialize anymore due to these. Yes, I do admit they post every trivial detail on social media, but this has nothing to do with real life connections. An excess of anything is bad. The real question here is — how much is too much?  Are the youth addicted to using gadgets? Can they not at all survive without a phone? –They can. They just prefer not to.

On the other hand, it’s a different scenario for the children. As they got access to technology at an early age, the addiction, well I’d rather call it ‘technological dependence’ is higher than adults. They are more likely to gain weight as outdoor sports get replaced with play-stations at home. They tend to get irritated at the slightest of things and might result in a messy, unorganized routine; late nights and late mornings with weariness all day long.  A report reveals that people don’t even realize that their children are addicted to internet and gadgets.

The biggest problem that we see parents facing is the control over their children’s activities. No one monitors what their children are watching over the internet. It’s crazy how the other day I heard a somewhat 12 year old kid discussing Game of Thrones with his friends. I didn’t even know how to chat on messenger when I was 12! Owning the best gadgets and being the one who has access to the dark side of the internet is considered dope these days. You automatically become the cool kid. Hence, the fascination towards it.

Now, all of these don’t mean we should all just sit at home and not use the provided resources and the advancements in technologies. As we know ‘with great power come great responsibilities,’ all we expect the future of our country to use this blessing, the growing technology in our favour and to do great things for the world and for you.

 

Drifty Raman is a blunt rationalist who likes to drown herself in positivity and a progressive outlook on life.

 

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