Few years back I came across a documentary, “Love Child“. The documentary is based on a heart wrenching incident where a South Korean couple starved their 3-month old daughter to death because they were addicted to an online video game. Do you know what is the irony of the story? In the game they were addicted to, they were nurturing their virtual child while they left their real child unattended.
The game ‘Prius’ allowed them to create virtual characters of themselves as if they have a new life, after certain levels in the game they would be awarded with a child whom they would be parents for. A virtual reality game made them forget their real life’s responsibilities for a 12 hour stretch starving their baby to death. The state in which the child was found by the police in their apartment not only shocked the entire nation of South Korea but many other people around the world were left to wonder how much technology can effect us.
Parenthood is considered sacred in South Korea, hence it is not culture but the addiction to ‘technology’ which is the main culprit. This is just one story, there are numerous others.
Advent of internet, advancement in technology are the greatest achievements man has ever made, truly letting us do more in less time. Technology is not confined to internet, mobile, computer or other high-tech inventions, but any invention that can improve our life-style falls under the umbrella of technology, like airplanes, washing machines etc .,
Majority of our every day tasks have some connection with technology. We cannot step out of our homes without mobile phone – we loose connectivity, we cannot navigate, we cannot even remember important dates without reminders.
It may not have been so obvious during the early stages of the development of technology, but our technology-driven world has taken a toll on today’s relationships. The use, and now dependency on cell phones, tablets and computers that our society faces today has changed the way we live. While there are many advantages of it, we cannot escape the negative effects of technology.
- Lack of socializing: We are so engrossed in our smart phones that we barely feel the need to socialize. We are able to talk, exchange feelings with anyone around the world in the blink of an eye making us totally forget what it is to have a fun evening with friends in a patio.
- Lack of physical activity: Cars, grinders, washing machines helped us save time but deprived us of physical activity. Video games erased the need of playgrounds confining our kids to play indoors. The second major reason to obesity to over-eating is ‘not exercising’…
- Loneliness: Reduced interactions with people in office, at home is increasing at an alarming rate making people very busy with their virtual lives. While we are in a party we find it convenient to stare at our mobile, earphones with music on we commute, slowly we will find ourselves to have fallen victim to loneliness.
- Reduced Empathy: This might sound untrue, but according to psychologists more population is becoming self-centered and selfish, making us less altruistic. Our anger levels have increased, carelessly we say “Get lost” or “Don’t ever talk to me again” forgetting that gadgets can be used and thrown, not people.
- Deteriorated Health: Continuous exposure to radiations emitted by screens of gadgets cause harm to eyes. Over exposure leads to head aches, migraines. Wrong postures lead to neck injuries, cervical spine or even can damage parts of brain.
Aforesaid are very much inter-related. They can effect our family, social interactions and relationships very negatively increasing stress. As we run out of time spending our precious life with lifeless gadgets we cannot engage time into useful activities or even self !
At this juncture I want to share something that disturbs me when I hear it from my colleagues and friends – cellphone distracted parenting. As both husband and wife are working, they don’t get time to deal with tantrums of their kids . The most opted resort is to engage kid with a cellphone. Parents take pride saying, “He/She knows how to browse for favorite videos to play them”. Usage of gadgets at such tender age deteriorates brain growth. Studies also reveal that such kids play less with other kids, eat high levels of sugar and grow up depressed.
Environmental damage, increase of global temperature are warning us of getting deprived of a place to live. Air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, industrial waste are disrupting ecology. Heard of the word “technotrash” ? Waste produced from outdated or damaged electronics contains hazardous materials gets disposed making the environment unsafe.
I am in no way against technology or down-playing how awesome it is. I love being part of the generation who saw many strides in technology. We know exactly how it is to live with and without technology. Without the current technology you couldn’t be reading this article. While being thankful to technology to have helped us have this seamless life, it would be wise to not fall prey to it so much that we stop to live, live in the true sense appreciating our relationships, lovely people around.
Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow