IT and the Youth

Introduction: Just about two to three decades back, in the developing countries, letters used to be a primary means of communication and one used to look forward to a postman bringing a letter from near and dear ones. Those aspiring for jobs, used to apply by sending their resume by post and anxiously wait for an interview call and if successful, for an appointment letter thereafter. Needless to say, the transition time used to vary from three days to three weeks depending on the distance. 

Making communications across the seas was far and few and a very costly affair which only a few could really afford. Now, with the invasion of Internet, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. facilitated by Information Technology ; with a click of a button, you can communicate with another person not only in your country but across the globe and that too with no or minimal cost. Come to think of it, some of us do not even write on a regular basis and use pen only to jot down a few points, if required in a meeting, or for signing a bill or a bank-cheque. Even that will be a passé in the coming years with the introduction of smart cards. All this is attributable to the IT revolution which has been absorbed at a very fast rate across the world.

Technology is undoubtedly helpful but it is also causing some major issues in today’s generation of children and teenagers. Being addicted to a Play Station, constantly texting, posting on Facebook is exactly what most of the children and teenagers do for many hours a day, every single day of their secluded lives. Children spend nearly 40 hours a week in such activities in the US and other developed countries. These addictions are definitely unhealthy and a major cause of concern for the family, doctors and the society as a whole.

Some Facts

World’s technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 Exabyte in 1986 to some 5 zettabytes in 2014. This is the informational equivalent to 1.25 stacks of CD-ROM from the earth to the moon in 2007, and the equivalent of 4,500 stacks of printed books from the earth to the Sun in 2014. World’s effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes of information in 1986and some 3100 Exabyte in 2017.

The world’s technological capacity to compute information with humanly guided general-purpose computers has grown astronomically. We are about to enter the era when desk-top computers and lap tops shall soon be extinct and replaced by wristbands, palm-top mobiles, in which instead of typing, you can dictate information or use blue tooth for instant transfer of data across many devices.

The Effects of Technology on Children: Today we live in an era where young children can be seen playing with their caretaker’s phones, I-Pads or I-Pods, generally not engaging with the world around them. This is considered extremely normal because we have created a world based on the constant need for technology. 

In days to come, to do simple arithmetic functions like addition/deletion or multiplication, children will have to depend on gadgets as their minds may not be able to calculate. Already students refer to ‘Google Guru’ to find correct spellings for certain words.

Effects of Technology on Our Society: It has become very easy for a person to make air or train reservations and interact with bank for any financial transaction. People do not have to stand in a queue to pay telephone or electricity bills. They do not even have to go to the market to buy a thing as most of the items are available through ‘online shopping.’ This on an average makes them save two to three hours every day. But the flip side of this is that people are becoming lazy and aloof day by day. They do not interact with others and share love, happiness or solve problems mutually. Is it really desirable, as mankind is considered to be a social animal?

Another aspect of concern is that a person is so glued to his mobile phone that while crossing road or driving, he ignores traffic thus, at times meets with a fatal accident. Of late at home too, there is very little interaction among family members. Though they may be living under the same roof, each one is busy with mobile, computers or television.

This ultimately leads to increase in communication gap, lack of understanding and empathy. Needless to mention that this also has serious ill- effect on health due to long hours of sitting on couch or chair with incorrect posture and constant exposure of eyes to blue light. There are reports of increasing problem of low back ache, eyes problem and insomnia among people who follow this pattern of life style.

Potential Effects of Developing Technology: Technology has been created by the human race to enhance its ability to learn and grow as a collective group. Humans taper these tools, created through technological process, to their uniquely specific needs. Technology, when used in a morally sound way, can have immense benefits that help a culture grow and develop effectively as demonstrated by the society in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. However, technology can be a double edged weapon, in the sense that it has the power to destroy, if used inappropriately.

Conclusion: Information Technological advancements no doubt have benefited our society in many ways and there is a need to use it to do things more efficiently. There are no signs of slowing down of the way the data is being used but do we really need so much of trash to handle every day in our life and suffer with information overload?  No doubt that at some point of time, we wanted to handle data more efficiently but in turn the expectation for a faster response has increased which in turn has led to uncalled for stress. If the mind remains too much occupied 24×7, where is the time for it to rest and think of something more beneficial or innovative?

How does it really matter what others are doing to pass their time or how do they look, as the present youth is most of the time engaged in such in fructose updates. If the trend is not arrested now, we are going to have major social and emotional problems leading to stress, loneliness, and inattentiveness.

By: Brigadier Anil Kumar Garg

A veteran from Indian Army, commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery, was an Air OP Pilot and Flying Instructor. He is M Phil. and has a Masters’ degree in Management. He has had several instructional and command assignments in his service career. He was one of the pioneers to establish UN Mission in Angola in 1989. After an innings with the BSF, he served as the Director of an education establishment and has been a Rotary President.

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