TAKE NOTE OF CYBER SENSE – IT’S VITAL

I was just navigating through the week and reading all the articles once again before starting my “Final Views” on the topic “Cyber Sense.” 

In the Mega Article, Prabhjot, gave an excellent introduction of the topic “Cyber Sense” with few Dos & Don’ts reflecting on her personal lifestyle. She concluded with a catchy statement –

“Get some ‘real life;’ not a ‘cyber life.'”    

The very next day, I mentioned about few ways of how proper use of internet can be so helpful to voice ourselves and earn a name worldwide.  

Thaddeus, encouraged us to take time out from social media and have meaningful relationships in the real world. His catch line was –

“We’ve become the most connected disconnected society in history.”  

Ruth, warned us about all the evil practices prevailed in a cyber world.

Avinash, wrote how to draw a line wisely while using internet.

Finally, yesterday Khristina alerted us about the adverse effects of technology on our physical as well as psychological health when we constantly overuse it.

Technology advancement is good. It’s for the benefit of mankind. Mankind is the master and technology is the servant. But when the mankind allows technology to be their master and becomes its slaves, things started to go haywire.

So be careful on the cyber world.

Stay Blessed!!!

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WHY TECHNOLOGY SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME

(Picture Source: “Energy Medicine Clinic“)

I read an alarming article in The Washington Post the other day – and it rattled me even more because not many people are talking about it.

Let me explain.

In an article titled, “‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine”, writer Lindsey Bever writes: HERE.

The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.

That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone — the way millions do for hours every day. Over time, researchers say, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery.

What this essentially means is the farther you bend your head, your neck is responsible for holding that much more weight of your head, almost 30 kilos if your head is tilted at 60 degrees.

If that does not alarm you, I don’t know what will. What scares me even more is that most people (including me) understand this, and yet it does not make a difference to them.

This is, of course, just a tiny portion of consequences that being tech savvy brings. There are some other worthy contenders, the most recent being: Taking inordinate number of selfies is now a psychological condition. Another deep-rooted (and unsettling) dilemma is the increasing lack of physical communication that social media has brought about. No one wants to talk face to face these days!

See, it is obvious that no one can stop the technology tsunami age that we are going through. But instead of blindly going with the flow, are you one of those who will swim against the tide?

This is something I am thinking about today.

(How do you swim against the tide? Have ideas? Share them in the comments section below. Would love to connect with you.)

PARADOX OF CYBER

Everything under the sun involves some “paradox.” Whatever we see, do and the way we live – all have paradox in them. Every existing thing has both “negative and positive” sides. Similarly, ‘CYBER’ also involves PARADOX.

As a person who has lived in the “pre-Cyber age” and in the “Cyber age”, I often get to hear from the rest of the generation that, “Cyber is bad”. Of course they are right up to some extent but along with that we cannot deny the goodness of Cyber. Cyber is a milestone with regards to the development of nations and humanity.

Because of this Cyber power, India is the 7th Super power globally (Find HERE). Research says, IT and the ITES industry has been the 5th largest contributor to Indian GDP in 2015 and we all know that every profession intensely depends on Cyber power. In 2016, Cyber power has become one of the basic needs of human survival. Now-a-days, if we lose our cell phone, then before seeking someone’s help or putting it into the police diary we take the help of another cell phone to ring the lost one, so that we get to recognize where the lost phone is. Without good food, good clothes and good house we try to adjust ourselves for few days but when it comes to the matter of bad network for some hours we fail to adjust. This is shows how the Power of Cyber has been deeply rooted into the human life today.

We all know that when something good goes on evil also follows it. The same thing is also happening with the power of Cyber today. Good people are using the power of Cyber for the development of humankind and bad people are using the same power for the destruction of humankind. But as a Cyber-savvy generation what can we do now? How can we navigate Cyber and our life in the midst of Good and Evil?

I also struggle in maintaining Godliness and Purity in my life as a Cyber-savvy man. Most of the times when we try to navigate to certain official sites, unintentionally some nuisance links/sites pop up which is really an embarrassing factor. Days back when I went to my travel agent to book my train ticket we had a very embarrassing experience. As my travel agent was booking my journey ticket suddenly a pornographic content popped-up in the advertisement space, which he was unable to delete or hide.

Since our childhood we knew that, ‘iPhones’ are the most secure phones which cannot be hacked easily but as per the last news update we see that ‘iPhones’ are most easily hacked by the terrorist and freaky groups.

But I want to tell you there are also ways to maintain Godliness, Purity and Perfection while using the Cyber power.

  1. Draw A Line:

Few days back while I was struggling for the solution to cyber evil, I found an awesome answer from the lecture of my favorite Christian Apologist Rev. Dr. Ravi Zacharias. His answer to cyber evil is to “Draw A Line”, which influenced me a lot. It’s not to quit from Cyber use but to draw a line while using the Cyber power. And that’s true indeed. We cannot stop accessing to cyber but what we can do is, “we can draw a line”. When we access internet of course some bad contents will come up, some nuisance will text you for dating, some of your FB friends will tag you to adult/bad contents. But don’t worry! You have a solution – block those sites, delete those nuisance friends from your FB account. We cannot stop evil but we can protect ourselves from getting into evil ways.

In our personal and professional life, we have some ‘DO’s’ and ‘DON’T’s’. We have maintained some boundaries in our choices, life style and a lot more. We have to maintain the same attitude while using Social Media/Cyber Power. We have to say “NO” to some chats and weblinks.

  1. It’s Social Media:

Often time, we knowingly forget that we are on Social sites. My browsing/posting/chatting is not personal because I am in a Public domain where there is 101% guarantee that my contents can be misused by some freaky personality. Especially, some crazy guys post their intimate scenes with their mates in Facebook. I don’t know why and on what context they post such pictures but the most dangerous fact is that because of such nuisance sometimes our image on Social media is highly hampered. Even though we haven’t done anything wrong but someone else’s wrong deeds cuts our nose and others take us wrongly. So the best solution to such problem is un-friend those people who is knowingly posting embarrassing stuffs. Because we have learnt that “Prevention is better than Cure”.

  1. Miscommunication:

You might be thinking that why I am using the term “Miscommunication” when we are dealing with the best weapon of Communication! But I can prove you that now-a-days the best weapon of Communication – Cyber Power has become a medium of Miscommunication too. How? The dictionary interpretation of “Miscommunication” is “An interaction between two parties in which information was not communicated as desired”. And this is what happening today, even though India is the 2nd largest Facebook user globally and the facebook population in India is 142 million (@ rate of 69 million daily users). We believe that my Facebook friend is real and whatever information s/he is giving is true. But few days later we realize that, the person with whom I was in intimate chat is not the same one whom I was expecting. I was in chat with a FAKE Account holder. Yes, that’s what is happening today. Since our childhood we haven’t heard about Cyber Crime, Cyber Cell, Cyber laws etc. But today because of these sorts of fake accounts many boys/girls are abducted every day. The biggest number of crime cases fought today are CYBER CRIME cases. At the advent of every new month some new CYBER LAWS are put in place in order to prevent cyber crime.

So in the midst of this Cyber Paradox, let’s not forget one thing – “If God has given you the wisdom and knowledge to deal with cyber power, HE will also take an account from you regarding this on the Judgment Day.  

Don’t try to live by the sword (cyber evil), else that sword (cyber evil) will kill you one day…

Avinash Das

HAVING A CYBER-SENSE

It was in the latter half of the 1990s that the inclination towards digital media took place, which can be technically termed as ‘Internet Explosion’. This brought about a change, as in the global context and the scientific and governmental research was transformed to a commercial and consumer market. Communication became susceptible and it seemed that the world was within our grasp. Through this international boundaries were diminished which enforced online services to thrive. Thus, a new era of civilization came into being.

However benefited are we depending upon our new best friend, the Internet, the chances of getting trapped in the World Wide Web cannot be negotiated. We have learnt about several forms of evil practices that exist in the cyber world and what leads to them. Similarly, we have come across the manner in which we can establish ourselves and make a name. But very few of us know how to differentiate between the good content and bad content on the internet. We know what evil out in the cyber world is but we are unable to segregate it from the good.

In case of social networking sites we find youngsters and people new to the uses of the internet, accepting requests from every other individual happening to be unknown to them. It’s good to befriend new people and get to know them but who knows you may find a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. Therefore, before accepting requests from new people, do a background search of their profiles and see to it whether you have a mutual friend or not. Talk to the mutual friend if there is one and get to know who is sending you a request. If you don’t have one, then don’t accept. At least make sure the person is a known face. But if you find the profile trustworthy do accept the request and maintain a certain distance at first which includes not sharing your private information. It is better to have several conversations on general matters before having a smooth friendship.

Even while you shop online, chances of getting duped are high. Therefore, before purchasing a product, go through the reviews of the product. The most recent ones are the best to guide you through. It would be beneficial if you at least compare the prices of a product on other sites before purchasing.

If a minor, by which I mean one who is not an adult, is accessing the internet, I would say that parental guidance is a must in this area. Every system at home should have internet filters which would prevent the child from accessing adult content. Moreover, focus should be given to develop an attitude that would make them aware of the evils. Schools can play a part in this and equip the students by holding sessions regarding developing a cyber-sense. Therefore, the ill effects of the internet can be avoided in this way.

Everything in the cyber world works on trust, so it’s a choice that we have to make, the choice of setting our standards and having an eye of a keen observer.

UNPLUGGING FROM SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERFICIALITY

There’s a new phenomenon out there and if you haven’t heard of it yet then you’ve probably been living under a rock. They are called “selfies”. Now this new phenomenon, as I said, probably needs no introduction but basically, it consists of taking a picture of yourself with your camera phone and usually involves posting it to some social media outlet like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. I used to think that these “selfies” were simply a manifestation of our extremely ego-centric cultures. However, I think that it comes from something deeper, something just as human a desire as selfishness yet more noble. I believe it comes from the desire to be “seen” and “known”, a kind of need for intimacy and care.

To illustrate, one day, I updated a status on Facebook with something that was important to me when I was having one of those not-so-good days. Upon checking the day after, it had not one “like” or comment, and I was crushed. It had most probably become buried underneath the meaningless fluff appearing on others’ newsfeeds. No one had seen me in my time of vulnerability. I felt utterly alone. Suddenly, my mind jumped to a few friends of mine on social media who are notorious for oversharing and instead of judging them, I now had a new perspective, they just want to know that someone out there cared, that someone could see them.

Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with social media, selfies, and the like in and of themselves but I propose we seek to cultivate intimacy, closeness and vulnerability in relationships. Social media can be a dangerous pseudo-replacement for these meaningful relationships. We’ve become the most connected disconnected society in history. We’re one click or message away from chatting with friends hours away and yet have, I believe, much fewer meaningful friendships than our ancestors. The only antidote to the “selfie sensation” is to intentionally seek to be open and honest with friends, sharing in life’s pains and joys with them in such a way that makes social media an enrichment to existing relationships instead of an artificial sweetener that masks the bitterness of a supposedly “connected” yet isolated life.

So go and genuinely and meaningfully connect with friends over a cup of tea, a delicious meal, or an evening stroll, intentionally avoiding the temporary satisfaction of superficial social media interactions. Find that friend who “overshares”, give them a call or message them directly, and show them that you “see” them.  Use social media to enrich and expand pre-existing relationships instead of masking the emptiness inside with the artificial catharsis of an emotional vent.

An old proverb says, “The fool gives full vent to his spirit, but the wise man quietly holds it back.” I would add, “And shares his burden with a trusted friend.” In the social media age, we have relationships that are “a mile wide and an inch deep” but it will take intentional effort and sacrifice to flip that on its head and have relationships that are, with every inch, “miles deep”.

RIGHT USES OF INTERNET CAN EARN A NAME FOR YOU AND MAKE YOU FAMOUS

We live in two worlds these days; a real world and a virtual world. Real world is difficult to live in and earning a name is a matter of pain, suffering, failures, financial crisis etc., but virtual world is easy and cost effective, even free. We may or may not find people around us of everyday life in the virtual world. But the population of virtual world is very big though lesser than the population of real world. Let me clarify what I am talking about.

Internet has become a world wide phenomenon. And it has created a virtual world to connect one real person with another real person virtually. There are many famous personalities in the web world who were not at all famous in the real world. Some have become famous in the real world after becoming renowned virtually in the web world. The virtual world has given me a name too. Now many people came to know me, my activities, my articles, and my designs etc., world wide in this virtual web world.

Now the question is ‘how to become famous in this virtual world?’ Many are there who don’t know how to go about it; for them I have brought some ‘helps’ which are as follows:

1. Create a Website: Do you know that we can have our own websites free of cost? There are many webhosting companies who give web spaces free of cost. I have websites in, webs.com, wordpress.com, blogger.com, bravenet.com and there are many more webhosting companies who are providing websites to people free of cost. We can simply create a website and start posting articles, pictures, videos, blog posts etc. Who knows one day we will become so famous that I will also come to know many. We can also earn through our websites though I haven’t earned as yet through my websites.

2. Join a Social Network: There are many social networking sites which give a web space to create a profile of ourselves with our pictures in it. They also provide pages to post our feelings, emotions, information and advertisements etc. I am in many social networking sites. Those are facebook.com, care2.com, and myspace.com and so on. There are many other Social networking sites which we can find for ourselves to join and become a known face world wide.

3. Join a Writers Community: I found it the best as I am a writer. There are many writers’ communities or webzines where we can publish all our articles written by us free of cost. I am in triond.com, searchwarp.com, writerscafe.org. These writers’ communities give us a status, name and even helps us to make be famous.

4. Upload videos & pictures in Specific communities: There are sites which give us opportunity to upload our arts, designs or photographs and videos. These sites are youtube.com, flickr.com, photobucket.com and many more which we can find in the web world if we search. This is the easiest way of becoming famous as we all know pictures and videos speak to people’s mind more than the words.

Friends! So let’s be famous.

LIFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

I woke up one morning and the first thing I did was to check whatsapp and habitually I opened facebook then and started to browse my news feed. There was nothing special – some people had changed their profile pictures, others had checked in somewhere, there were some who moved to a different city or were travelling somewhere, some more had some posts related to politics happening in World and so on. Just when I thought I would now wear my shoes and go for a jog – my friend from US pinged on whatsapp. I realized that this the only time I could chat with her, so I started chatting with her. It went on and on – I missed my morning jog. Now it was time to rush to work. While I was travelling I had decided to open my laptop and organize my thoughts a bit for urgent meetings throughout the day. As I was about to do that – I noticed a facebook notification of an old college friend. She had shared some memory from the past which included a bunch of us hanging out in some pub in Bangalore. It brought back a million memories and compulsively I pinged her and there went an hour of chat.

This is something that used to happen to me every day, I would miss out on real things because I just cannot get away from my phone. My phone would never get charged completely, because I could not stay without my phone for a couple of hours. It is like having a relationship with the phone itself. I would miss out on – morning walks, meeting friends in person, workouts in gym, organizing my work, playing with my dog and so on.

Once my son was born, I had to take some resolutions to reduce my relationship with my phone.

  • I would not spend more than half an hour a day browsing facebook – I actually started timing it.
  • I would use whatsapp only to coordinate meetings with friends (who I can meet). The resolution was to have real relationships with people instead of phone.
  • I would call my relatives once in a while – not just depend on whatsapp chats
  • Fix a time of the day when I am available for chats. Don’t just stop doing what you have planned because you just have to check whatsapp every now and then.
  • Switch off your mobile data for some time during the day when you really need peace of mind.

I am not against Social media. I love it. I love the fact that it is so easy to stay in touch with the people I want to stay in touch with. But I have got over 1200 friends on facebook – Do I want to stay in touch with all of them? I started to filter people between relatives, close friends, acquaintance etc.

I now realize it is so important to organize your social media. If it gets you, it gets you.

Following are the consequences of being too involved with your phone and my suggestions on how to deal with it.

  1. Feeling jealous/envious of your facebook friends – “Didn’t she just go Maldives for a vacation? And now she is in Hawaii. How on earth does she get time and money to go for international vacation every 3 months” said one of my close friends. We were talking about another common acquaintance. Looking at all the goody goody pictures of people you are hardly in touch with gives a feeling that – whole world is having fun and living a perfect life but me. It is a very obvious feeling.

Reality is quite different. Just like you post your goody goody pictures and nice status updates to the world, others do it too. If you had a horrible fight with your spouse – would you make it a status update? No. If your spouse took you out for a date or gave you a gift – would you make a post about it? Maybe. So that’s the answer – just as you like to share good things about your life, others do the same. 

  1. Virtual competition / peer pressure – “Bhabhi, can you please like my profile picture? I really need 500 likes.” Said my sister-in-law. I “liked” her picture but it didn’t make any sense to me. Apparently, she and her friends are usually in a competition of maximum likes.

Recently, I read that a 17 year old boy killed himself while taking a selfie. He wanted to take a “cool” selfie on a railway track with an approaching train from behind. He got run over by the train. Apparently, he was in a competition with his friend who took similar selfie and he wanted to take a selfie that became more popular than that of his friend.

This kind of peer pressure is more common among youngsters. Teenagers have this craze to be popular, cool, funny and all that. It is normal, it is a fact of the age. And social media makes it very easy to measure the coolness or popularity – by number of likes, number of comments, number of followers, number of tweets etc. 

  1. Cyber crime – “You know what, my facebook and gmail account got hacked. I have no idea and there is hell lot of confidential information on both the accounts. I am so worried. I do not know what to do” said a friend of mine. This is also getting quite common. The fact that all our banking information, confidential chats, pictures and almost everything is on google mostly, it makes it very vulnerable in case of hacks.

Cyber crime is not just limited to hacks. It is much more than that and it is getting extremely dangerous. There are terrorists who are using social media more and more to get their missions done. There are small level of criminals who are busy fooling people by taking their credit card information, account information and stealing away money. There are pedophiles who are constantly out there looking for vulnerable kids that they can aim at.

To solve this, there is cyber police and many other softwares to keep watch over your phone and computer. But most importantly, use your common sense. Everybody in facebook friend list is not a friend. Use your common sense – what kind of meaning can be drawn out of your posts and tweets? Use your common sense while accepting a friend request. 

  1. Addiction to phone – Try not to have a relationship with your phone. There are people out there who are your real friends and real family. Visit them, call them, hang out with them, talk to them – chatting doesn’t count. My dad always said “Phone should be used only to communicate important information. It is not a substitute for real person to person meeting”. I never understood him a few years back but now I realize the value of this.

Get some “real life”; not a “cyber life.”