Cyberworld! The word is synonymous with a plethora of options that previously thought impossible are now possible. Though cyber options have eased our lives to a great extent, there are some grim realities associated with it. With people adopting the cyber life in great numbers, the hold on real life is slowly slipping away. When I was reading today’s Times of India newspaper, I was shocked to learn of a few cases wherein young adolescents barely in their teens wanted to take their own lives when their parents told them to shut down their smartphones and adopt other healthy activities. Though I too am a part of the ‘Smartphone Generation’, thankfully due to an upbringing that laid stress on physical activities, I do not experience excess ‘Withdrawal Symptoms’ when I put my Smartphone away. The ToI report mentioned a worrying statistic. A 2013 India study on about 1,000 adolescents in Mumbai found that while 0.7% could be called addicts, nearly a quarter (24.8%) were “possible addicts”. This statistic is troublesome for a country with a young demographic population.
Cyber-addiction has reached such an extent that de-addiction clinics have been established by institutions such as AIIMS and NIMHANS to tackle the crisis. I have friends on Facebook (FB) who get solace when they have reached a certain number of likes or have a thousand plus band of followers. When I ask them whether they even personally know the number of friends they have on FB, they respond in the negative. Even having a huge number of friends you don’t know or haven’t even met online is hailed at times as a great achievement. In the midst of all of this, the human touch is slowly fading away.
Noted spiritual master and speaker Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said, “A sense of wonder among kids is slowly disappearing. When you wanted to know something earlier about nature, you searched for it in the sands and mud of nature enjoying its bounty. But now you have Google which can show you anything you wish to see. You click and you get it. That’s a lot of power in a person’s hand. Without proper guidance and control, this can lead to humans becoming robotic drones than human beings. After all if there is no being how you can be called a human?”
Of course, to say that I am a ‘Doodh ka Dhula’ and completely away from technology would be stupid and hypocritical. Yes, I do use a smartphone more frequently these days due to my work commitment. But thanks to my association with sports and outdoor trips, there are still many occasions when nature enthralls me. When I experience the real life and not the Viral life put in front of me by Google. My trips to Dharamshala, Tiruvannamalai and Pondicherry have been avenues where I could experience nature in its magnificence free from artificial technology.
Of course to halt the course of technology and digitization is next to impossible. But it’s crucial that we learn to ‘Log Out’ when necessary and take up alternate activities to ascend to a state of bliss by working with our inner technology. Otherwise, a grim future devoid of humaneness awaits us.
P.S. For the benefit of the readers, I’ve attached the link to Sadhguru’s article below. Hope it gives you deep insight as it has given me.