"Technology may open up many avenues but it also opens up some that can’t be avoided. It is just like fire in front of a toddler, sooner or later the learning will be dealt in the hard way."
"The technology has slowly made the use of one’s own brain so redundant that it’s affecting the children’s capacity to learn and grasp things."
“Is that the new Angry birds game that launched last week, its cool na”, as I hear this from my youngest cousin brother, who’s an adorable chubby boy studying in ninth grade, I grind my teeth with anger and try to reply with a smile. It’s my mistake to play a game in front of him on my Smartphone. It’s another one of his countless innuendos to ask me my phone. Five minutes after watching intently at my phone and making the doe eyes of the Shrek kitty, he won my phone with a big frown from me. I got a few calls before the battery got drained, every time I completed my call, he will be eager enough to take the phone back from me. After the battery got totally drained, he promptly connected it to a charger, switched on the phone and started playing back on.
It’s not uncommon nowadays to see kids behaving like predators to catch the next Smartphone of a family member seen on sight. It feels good to see the children use technology in a friendly and proper way. I have a cousin brother and a nephew both falling in the same age group. But there are certain traits of them that upset me and most of my family members. Older members who do not take technology as seriously as our generation frown upon me for sometimes not giving my phone or PC and rebuking their request to play or use my phone. They think of me as arrogant and selfish but they do not truly know the ill effects of technology and how it is affecting the children of today’s generation. The children of today are shunning playgrounds to play on gaming consoles and gaming arcades and slowly they are losing the harms of the real world. Geeks and nerds may sound cool today but these could give rise to bigger problems to those who do not socialize much. Social media has replaced the actual society for them.
The children used to love me, I was their rockstar a year or two ago. We used to be good buddies, watched television together and the kids occasionally asked for my phone to play a game or watch a clip or hear a song. They had slowly started to use internet search engines like Google and Yahoo to answer my questions which they didn't know. They used to be very good kids who had a brush with technology. They used to play games on my computer with me sometimes. Slowly they grew addicted to it, over the time, the requests turned to tantrums, the bonhomie became noise and the usage amplified. The kids were no longer the same. What used to be my time with them turned sour as all our conversations would be about the new game or the new funny clip or the new trailer launched on web. Is this the cost of technology on childhood, that kids be glued to screens all the time, trying to find the world in it, whereas the world outside is waiting for them to come and explore it. These cousins of mine haven’t trekked a hill yet, they haven’t bathed in river yet, they seldom play sports at a ground near their house. The worst part of it is, both are obese and sport a pot belly each, whenever I meet them during my visits to their home, I am bombarded with questions of the trending stuff on web. When I ask, ‘what is the capital of France’, I get answered that they don’t know, upon pushing to try and answer it, they answer, ‘Rome’. When I get angry, they quietly ask to use Google to tell the answer, yes that’s good that you are using Google to find the answer. But why use Google in the first place, when you have it in your text books.
The technology has slowly made the use of one’s own brain so redundant that it’s affecting the children’s capacity to learn and grasp things. When will they learn if not now, the childhood is the age when one learns and understands stuff the most. In these formative years, the total dependency on technology can be negative on their cognitive senses. Most children nowadays wear glasses, are obese and glued to a screen, doesn't matter the size. Books have become kindle, dictionaries and encyclopedias have become Google. It feels good when a child doesn't bother you with his questions all the time, ask for help with his projects instead prepares his own slides and projects on his own computer without any help. But then again, do you know, how much he learns from it, the projects and assignments in today’s date are search, find, copy and paste and voila, your project is ready. Where is the learning in this? The children know and use the web t their disposal nowadays, who knows what they watch when you are not around. Do all parents check the history of the browser when their child gets off from the phone or the computer? The answer is NO.
Most children under the age of fifteen and even some below the age of ten years have Facebook profiles with fake date of births, my cousin brother and nephew have one each. And sometimes they give me headache with their posts and use of social media. Some dumb people even create profiles for their children so that they could connect with their relatives and family. But that cute chat with his Grandpa or Uncle may slowly convert to group chats with strangers and people with fake profiles. There are so many cyber crimes involving small children and teenagers happening in today’s date, most of them are due to the negligence and nascence of the kids. Wouldn’t it give you the chills that the HOT DUDE777 who chats with your 13 year old bright, sweet daughter is actually a sociopath or pedophile who she will be meeting on a date next week. Technology may open up many avenues but it also opens up some that can’t be avoided. It is just like fire in front of a toddler, sooner or later the learning will be dealt in the hard way.
I grew up in a village, later was sent away to a boarding school and spent most of my time away from home. I was born in the nineties and have seen the world transform in front of my eyes, yes I am a gamer, I like gaming but I also spend time working out and basketball or cricket. But the children nowadays find cycling tiresome and play temple run and subway surfer all the time on phones and tablets. They take more interest in virtual world than the real world. The alarming rate at which obesity and poor eyesight is increasing among the current generation of children is mostly due to the affinity to a screen and fast food. The Gen Y lives in Computers and smartphones but eventually there is a life outside of the box, call me old fashioned but one should have the best of both worlds and as parents it should be our duty to ensure that.
NB: This post has been written as part of the Women's Web - eKavach 'This Digi-Parenting Life' campaign (http://www.yourekavach.com/)