Friday, November 8, 2013

The misuse of technology

The last few years have seen the upsurge in the use of technology specially the electronic gadgets. This trend has been more among the teens and the youth. The introduction of internet and mobile is considered to be the key innovations due to the use of scientific principles of the 21st century. Initially all were fascinated by the use of these inventions but of late it appears as the electronic gadgets are playing havoc with the human race. The people are not just using them but have become slaves of these gadgets and there is a seriously growing addiction of mobiles, tabs etc. People have divergent views about the issue but many of them have started noticing the negative impact of excessive use caused by different factors. I am reminded of two incidents reported in the newspapers that many children are getting involved in certain undesirable activities because of the misuse of mobiles and other such items. There have been a number of cases reported when the young lives were lost due to the carelessness on their part while driving or even walking on the roads. A cartoon in a newspaper says that even a newly born child learns to handle mobile before speaking and grows with that accordingly. The excessive use of mobiles and the laptops etc has widened the gap already increasing at a fast pace. The children keep themselves engaged in playing games or chatting with so called friends, most of them who are perhaps unknown to them. The time which should have been used in some creative thinking is wasted in the search of virtual happiness. This word virtual has become very popular nowadays. Initially, it was thought to be alright but now it is becoming a problem for many, the gravity of which has yet not been realized. I may appear to be taking an extreme stand on this topic but the fact is that last few years have made human beings a machine because there is no human touch in most of the work people do using these gadgets. The maximum impact of the technology has been on the youth and the school going children have become the victim of this. The newspaper reports related to this are an eye opener for all of us. The parents and teachers are struggling in controlling the negative impact of the misuse of mobiles and ipads etc. I was surprised to see the advertisement of a computer program in which a child asks an adult about the mass of a body on a particular planet. The mother appears on the screen and tells the correct answer because one particular program elicits a quick answer. It may appear to be a wonderful tool to many but to me this is a problem because the child might remember the value but would not understand why and how. His (own) thinking and creativity would not get an opportunity to be applied because the answer is already there.
The other negative aspect is that the mobiles are not being used only for the sake of communication but these have become the tools for instant photography and that has also contributed to the misuse of these tools. It is not only the students who are affected by this onslaught but even the adults including the teachers are also the victims of this technology. The quality of research has not been spared by the use of internet rather in most of the countries it has deteriorated because in many a cases the text and the information are copied from different sites. This may not be true in all cases but most of the time people are able to present a paper within no time because the same is a ‘cut and paste’ from here and there which is easily available on the internet. Does this not prove that the thinking which is very important for the cause of creativity has been curtailed because the human mind is screened by the visuals available on the net? For better learning and creativity the process of thinking is very important.
Many parents have expressed their anxiety regarding the time spent (wasted) in the use of mobile and laptops etc. The children keep chatting with each other even in the late nights which do not only hamper their studies during that time but also their schedule of eating or sleep. Many children just pretend to be studying till the parents are awake and around them but the moment they go to sleep, children start their activity of misusing these gadgets. I have not been able to understand the importance and use of the mobile for the school going children rather it has become a major cause of indiscipline in the schools whether the children are able to sneak the mobiles to the school or not. At times morphed photographs of the girls are uploaded on the so called social sites which put the girls in an awkward situation which has forced some of them to take extreme steps. There have been number of cases in which the children fell prey to anti social elements and were at the verge of running away from the truth. The use of mobiles has also given people an opportunity to tell a lie very conveniently because the location told by the person may not be true as told to the parents or to somebody else. Different governments in India are promoting the use of mobiles in the rural areas by giving them discounts and subsidies. The person who used to spend the money earned during the day on providing the food to his/her family now spends a significant amount on the use of mobile. Also the productivity at the work place has decreased because many a times the workers are found talking and chatting on the phone. It would be interesting to see if a survey is conducted how much time is wasted during the working hours on the use of mobiles.

  The seriousness of the problem has multiplied because of weak laws to stop the misuse of the technology. We do not have any strategy to ensure that the children who are not supposed to be the part of some social sites are stopped from doing that. The governments come into action only when their own interests are attacked but are least bothered to take stringent action when some individuals are targeted on the social sites. There have been cases when the school going children placed derogatory comments targeting the teacher and this was viewed by the entire school community and other people as well. Some people say that this is one way to express your frustration but abusing somebody specially your teachers is not the right way of doing that. In these it becomes difficult to identify the culprit which encourages other children to do the same. This does not happen with teachers only but there are many innocent children who also become the victim of the same and as mentioned above specially the girls.
In the end, I would like to request all concerned to take critical view of the present situation and the problems contributed by the misuse of the technology and take corrective measures at the earliest. Also, our great minds and the future of the nation should be saved from becoming the slaves of the technology so that their creativity blooms and the explore their originality.