Mobile proliferation is at an all-time high in the country. On the surface, the internet and mobile technology seem to be bringing the world closer. It is now easy for us to connect with a stranger halfway across the world. But the truth is that excessive use of technology is also creating a deep chasm between us and our loved ones. While it is easy to pick up the phone and text a friend, visiting an ailing friend and making her a warm mug of tea has started to look like an unusual approach. It is high time we start considering the fallout of excessive use of technology. Traditional Indian support systems such as the large extended family and a number of close friends are now getting eroded even as the internet starts to intrude in our social relations and interactions.
Jealous of The Smartphone
A recent survey in Germany says that one out of four women is jealous of their partners’ smartphones. This phenomenon is certainly not restricted to Europe or other countries. Indian women, urban women in particular, are finding themselves increasingly sidelined as their partners focus their attention on their mobile phones. This phenomenon is called phubbing – formed by the combination of the words phone and snubbing. It is not only romance that is dying at the altar of mobile technology. In a traditionally family-centric society such as India, it seems likely that mobile phone addiction slowly translates inter numerous conditions particularly loneliness and depression. The need to advertise or show off on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is increasingly becoming a compulsion.
The Dark Side of Technology
One of the easiest examples that demonstrate the fact that we are increasingly divorced from our families and beloved ones are the spate of blue whale deaths that have occurred in this country. Young children and teenagers routinely go through vulnerable phases where the presence of parents, close friends, teachers, and guides is a very important role. The fact that the Blue Whale challenge and other such self-harm inducing games come through the Internet, highlights the void that is now creeping into the life of young adults. Initially, when the first Blue Whale deaths had occurred in the country there had been a lot of talk about drafting suitable legislation but not much has been done on this front. Parents too may suffer from a lack of awareness about controls that can be exercised. News reports suggest that going by the number of Google searches, India is the top country at risk of such self-harm inducing games and challenges.
Selfie Deaths Capital
The deaths induced by this Blue Whale Challenge are proof that we are distanced from our friends and family in an unprecedented way and technology is largely to blame. It is also proof that the growth of technology is making us increasingly careless and reckless too. News reports from last year suggest that India has been home to over 60 percent of all the selfie-related deaths occurring between March 2014 and September 2016. A selfie death is one where a person guys in the attempts to capture an image of himself or herself through mobile device. It has been reported that between 76 and 127 selfie related death occurred in this period. While the use of mobile technology in the country is certainly burgeoning the fallouts in the form of selfie death commonly known as Killfie is now a very worrying trend. So much so, that the Government of Maharashtra is now considering listing 15 dangerous selfie sites where caution needs to be exercised. The Union Transport Minister has now taken to issuing warnings that selfie attempts during driving may cost us our lives.
What is the solution?
We live in a time where the use of technology has permeated our lives to the extent that living without the smartphone or the Internet looks impossible. Technology is a great guide; it makes our lives better but only when used responsibly. If we are determined to improve the quality of our lives, however, it is very important that we put away the smartphone the iPod the laptop and all these devices and spend quality time without friends and dear ones. Unplugging ourselves not easy but the value of human interaction, human touch, real laughter, one to one learning etc. cannot be undermined. While there is quite a bit of help available, the solution to this great challenge has to be implemented by each of us who wields technology and mobile devices.