Internet illsThe internet is here to stay, and thus we need to redress the problems systematically.
The internet has come a long way. Many of us will remember a time in the early noughties when sending letters by post was still the norm, and receiving an email was a novelty. From its infancy some 20 years ago to the present, the pace at which technological change has made advancements has taken many by surprise. Few held mobile devices, and even fewer had access to the world wide web. Mobile phones, primarily developed as a tool of communication replacing the outdated fixed landlines, have now metamorphosed into a micro-computing device enabling us to carry out a host of functions from paying one’s bills and booking a travel ticket to education and even entertainment. The non-exhaustive list can extend to satiate users’ fancies.
Without the internet, the devices would be akin to paperweights. It is now a world dominated by the internet; this ubiquitous presence that manifests itself as an indispensable part of our day to day life has successfully masked itself as a benign boon companion. But behind this approachable front lies a luring quality that users find unable to let go of. Despite its multi-dimensional application, the ills of the internet have, on balance, entrenched a more visible negative impact on our mental wellbeing.
The pandemic has only exacerbated the mental health issue which had been lurking around for some time. Children have had to bear the brunt of this bizarre situation we find ourselves in; with schools shutting down and the internet providing the only alternative to fulfilling educational needs, screen time for students increased alarmingly almost overnight. And with handheld devices connected to the internet easily available, children passively submit to the distractions offered by various social media platforms from the comfort of their homes to overcome boredom. This has had a lasting impact on their social and cognitive development.
The internet and social media are here to stay. This brings us to the need to redress the problems sensibly and systematically. There is no room for a knee-jerk reaction to the existing situation, but allotting time segments for the children to use mobiles or laptops to entertain themselves could be a start. And encouraging them to read in the traditional sense could spur their creative burst. It is easier said than done to contain the damage that has permeated our lives so wholesomely.
It is now time to revive the charm of interactive human conversation, albeit in the confines of our homes for now. Where the living rooms livened up with gossip from our interaction with the world beyond the boundaries of homes, they are now victims of internet connections. People living in the same house shut themselves behind closed doors permitting the nemesis to take hold of our consciousness and to be sucked into mindless scrolling and browsing. As the old maxim goes, too much of anything is bad. It still holds. Using it to our advantage may propel us to lead a more fulfilling life beyond the trappings of excessive screen time. For all its ills, the world beyond the internet is unmistakably inefficient and unreal.