By: Haroon Rashid Bhat
As the rapid advancement of science and technology accelerates, humans are not content to live only in the real world. We find ourselves traveling from the real to the virtual world frequently more than ever. The virtual world has already become part of our daily routine. Modern man coined the term “Digital World” to identify this human progression. No doubt, these inventions make our life comfortable to great extent but the excessive use of modern gadgets like smartphones, laptops, etc imbalanced the whole social environment of our homes/families. Instead of listening to stories from grandparents now, children prefer to play with smartphones.
Young, old even kids have become so obsessed with smartphones that they hardly get any time for interaction. Family members sitting in different rooms or sharing the same room, sitting at different corners with their smartphones or tabs is the common site in every household. The situation has become so worse that people don’t hesitate using smartphones while attending any mourning or burial or funeral ceremony. Even I have seen the recently uploaded video on social media where a person was sitting on the remaining stone of the grave, scrolling his Facebook page without caring about the sanctity of the graveyard. This trend is not in any way good for our society.
This virtual world is distancing our younger generation from the real world, their lives have become dull. Furthermore, this attitude leads to the scarcity of moral values, cooperation, mutual respect, tolerance emotions, love, and affection among the young generation. Also, excess time on smartphones means a lack of in person contact with friends and family. Face-to-face time is traded off for huge amounts of time chatting online with strangers. These interactions are shallow and do not lead to any real human connection. Over time, this can result in feelings of loneliness and depression.
Besides its impact on our social life, it also has a very serious consequence on our health. Using the mobile phone during mealtimes becomes another tendency. This distractive eating habit leads to multiple health problems. There is a fine line between healthy and compulsive mobile use. Depending too heavily on a device can lead to a mobile addiction. A scholarly journal published by the National Library of Medicine reports that 6.3% of the overall population is addicted to their smartphone. The pattern of abuse is greatest among those under 30, with an average of 16% of adolescents addicted. This obsessive use of a smartphone leads the Psychological problems like Sleep deficit, Lower concentration, Creativity blocks, Anxiety, Reduced cognition, Stress, Loneliness, Insecurity Impaired relationships, Poor grades, and disorders.
For a teen, having a cell phone is like being a kid in a candy store. With app stores offering a never-ending array of options, it is easy to see how teens get addicted to their phones. During the teen years, the brain is still under construction. The teen’s brain is more vulnerable to things that could lead to an addiction, like video games and social media. Now the million-dollar question is whether to become the mute spectator or to do something for reformation? Certainly not, humans have the capacity to bring back the positive change in the system. In this regard, the family as the much-needed institution can play a significant role.
Elders follow certain actions and principles, and children may naturally inherit the value system from them. Children learn the lessons of ethics and morality under the guidance of their elders. If something goes against the family values, the elders rectify it immediately, ensuring that the family’s values are not compromised. Elders of the family can be the repository of knowledge and wisdom. Grandparents with vast experience, judgment, and knowledge can guide an individual in transforming his/her life. This is all possible when they avoid the excessive use of modern gadgets. Almighty Allah (SWT) has bestowed human beings the faculty of reasoning, the capacity for introspection, and proper understanding of making the comparison of two different situations- good or bad. So, it is high time to bring positive changes in our attitude and make good use of modern gadgets.
Parents should follow the Guidelines to Reduce Teenager Smartphone Addiction:
· Set limits on time for phone use.
· Set up screen-free periods during the day, with a place for the phone to be stored during that time.
· Tell the teen the phone will be shut off if their grades drop.
· Fix the time to shut down their cell phone at a certain time each night.
· Keep communication open and bring up any concerns if you think they might be bullied on social media.
· Suggest your teen to take breaks from their cell phone to enjoy an outdoor activity.
· Limit the types of social media platforms they can use.
(Author is a teacher and Columnist. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)