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Posts Tagged ‘Internet Addiction’

Hapless parents who are always rushing from pillar to post to make the two ends meet carry a lovely responsibility on their tender shoulders – that of bringing up kids.

Families have shrunk. Technology has sneaked into the family space. Most parents themselves have one sibling each, and they also happen to be equally busy chasing their own dreams. The desire to enjoy independence from parents has led to the current trend of singular families. Kids no longer have the luxury of curling up in bed with the family seniors and listening to juicy stories and fables from the distant past.

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Often, hassled parents, already bearing the guilt of not being able to spend enough quality time with their kids, get into a conflict with kids over such inane matters as the choice of their friends, the dress they wish to wear in their free time, and the shows they insist on watching on a TV or on an iPad. Arbitration facilities provided by family seniors in the past have all but vanished.

Fed by cartoon or game characters which shoot to kill, the kids gradually start believing themselves to be invincible. They take violence and physical intimidation against others to be a normal behaviour. The resultant chaos in the society is for all of us to see and brood upon.

kids tom and jerry

Pick up an old soft movie like The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins, and present day kids could be forgiven for looking at these askance. Put on an animation movie and you find an immediate arousal of interest.

Minimizing Screen Time, Maximizing Values

For hapless parents, there are two basic challenges. One, that of minimizing Screen Time, weaning away kids from gadgets and involving them in outdoor activities. Two, that of imparting them the values which would last them a life time.

No meal can be consumed unless a cartoon movie is not playing on the iPad perched on the dining table. The threat of changing the WiFi password alone works to bring about a semblance of discipline in the house.

kids-chhota-bheem

Gone are the days when family seniors used to control all the entertainment appliances in the house. Now the kids’ wish and expertise rules supreme. At schools, gone are the days of detention and punishment. In quite a few cases, teachers get the flak for not treating the kids right.

One does not resent the kids their present state. One merely wants them to be better prepared to face the harsh realities of life, as and when they need to forgo the sheltered lifestyle they take for granted. In some cases, stay in a hostel might help. In others, a special course to use the right side of the brain might help.

kids-brighter_minds

Perhaps it is time to consciously revert back to the joint family system, wherever feasible. Perhaps it is time to be soft as well as stern while dealing with kids. Perhaps it makes sense for them to get exposed to some sort of deprivation in life. A walk through a slum. Stories of kids who do not get to attend school. Gifting toys to poor children.

The corporate world has already woken up to the need of a woman employee to spend more quality time with her kids. Maternity leaves are getting extended. Paternity leaves are already a norm in the advanced countries. More options centered around flexible hours are being offered. Yet, much more can and needs to be done.

kids-panchtantra

In all cases, an outdoor sports activity helps. An addiction to reading books also helps. Even on internet, there is no dearth of such offerings as Aesop’s Fables and the Panchatantra.

What is essential is a strong connection with the real world and an exposure to the slice of virtual world which is steeped in ethics, morals and values.

(Notes:

  1. All illustrations are courtesy the world wide web.
  2. Brighter Minds is an educational initiative to equip every child with tools and methods to enhance cognitive functioning for achieving personal excellence, and instill confidence in oneself)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/on-the-children-by-khalil-gibran

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/kids-with-a-western-mind-and-an-eastern-heart

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/goofy-kids-p-g-wodehouse-and-some-spiritual-tenets)

 

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ashokbhatia

Santa Inc is an undisputed leader in the Happiness Industry, committed to spreadingSanta Elf_ornament cheer and hearty laughter all over the universe. With its headquarters at Island-222 on Kepler-22b, its top-line boasts of zillions of smiles and cheer all over.

With operations slated to increase at an annual compounded growth rate of 30%, it is on the look out for smart and tech-savvy elves who would be:

  • Able to demonstrate hi-tech toys and gizmos like smart phones, i-Pads, apps of all kinds, notebooks and fablets to the current generation of tiny tots.
  • Would assist Santa Claus in motivating kids to exchange their previous years’ gizmos with more conventional toys like dolls, train sets, racing cars, bikes and board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, etc., thereby reviving their interest in traditional means of entertainment.
  • Elves who charm TV and internet-addicted bleary-eyed kids into playing more of outdoor games and can wean…

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Homo sapiens these days have a serious challenge on hand – that of being unable to ‘switch off.’ Connectivity has become omnipresent. Technology rules the mind and, to some extent, the heart. The result is a disconnect with the real world, steady deterioration in the quantum of quality time available with the near and dear ones, burn-outs, fatigue and an early onset of lifestyle related diseases. Increasingly, we appear to be becoming slaves to technology.  

The following antidotes might help those amongst us who happen to be a part of this rapidly growing tribe.

  •  Learning to Unplug: Out of the twenty-four hours we have in a day, we can surely carve out a time niche where we can just be ourselves. Heavens will not fall. Our business, or the companies we work for, would not collapse. If we set our mind to this, we can do it.
  • Renewing Ourselves: Setting aside a time for yoga, meditation, light exercises and simply pursuing aTechnology MEDITATION-ENTREPRENEUR-SUCCEED simple hobby would help. Being connected to the external world – watching TV, for example – would provide only temporary relief. Real relaxation would swell up from inside us – once we start doing something that makes us internally happy.
  • In-sourcing: One thing we cannot outsource to technology is mindfulness – being aware that we are aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Attempting an ‘in-sourcing’ of this kind has a great therapeutic effect on our system. Short bouts of meditation or deep breathing achieve precisely this.
  • Being Wiser: Every moment, we are flooded with data. Every day, we face a tsunami of information. Wisdom lies in sifting through this haze and differentiating between the important issues and the urgent ones. Nassin Taleb, author of The Black Swan, says: “Big data may mean more information, but it also means more false information.” Wisdom alone can ensure that we follow a balanced direction in life.
  • Thinking before Wishing: The option to remain connected 24 x 7 and the deluge of information available at the click of a mouse is making us lazy cats which have had an overdose of rich cream. We need to critically evaluate the wish-list of our lives and reset our priorities in a conscious manner. Chasing rainbows is fine, but the real challenge lies in deciding the colors of our individual rainbows.
  • Being Vigilant: Sci-fi spine chillers tumbling out of the Hollywood dream factory project a scary picture forTechnology smart Home_ipadandiphone us. Our lives could soon spin out of our own control. One threat – to our privacy – has already manifested itself. Another looming large on the horizon is that of our smart gadgets going beyond running our homes. These could soon start aspiring, conspiring and colluding to control our lives. Vigilance is highly recommended!

Life is much like a driving experience. The vehicle we drive and the gadgets at our disposal are becoming smarter with each passing year. We are trying to navigate our way on the autobahns of our lives through an enveloping fog of information which becomes denser with each passing milestone.   

The only way out is to have sharper responses, a stronger will power, an intuitive capability to forecast others’ behavior, a higher level of vigilance and a quiet time for ourselves. The bliss of switching off our gadgets and enjoying a real sunset over the lush green fields that whizz past us is simply waiting to be experienced. So is the joy of rolling up the car windows and listening to the soothing strains of a Beethoven symphony wafting out of the music system. As darkness falls, the fog lamps of wisdom enable us to drive our way through life safely and enjoyably.

As our gadgets become smarter, let us not get dumber. Let us not be slaves to technology!

Related post:  https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all

(Images courtesy www)

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Santa Inc is an undisputed leader in the Happiness Industry, committed to spreadingSanta Elf_ornament cheer and hearty laughter all over the universe. With its headquarters at Island-222 on Kepler-22b, its top-line boasts of zillions of smiles and cheer all over.

With operations slated to increase at an annual compounded growth rate of 30%, it is on the look out for smart and tech-savvy elves who would be:

  • Able to demonstrate hi-tech toys and gizmos like smart phones, i-Pads, apps of all kinds, notebooks and fablets to the current generation of tiny tots.
  • Would assist Santa Claus in motivating kids to exchange their previous years’ gizmos with more conventional toys like dolls, train sets, racing cars, bikes and board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, etc., thereby reviving their interest in traditional means of entertainment.
  • Elves who charm TV and internet-addicted bleary-eyed kids into playing more of outdoor games and can wean them off junk foods can expect faster promotions and better recognition. Those who make it to the top five of this group of elves could enjoy special dinner sessions with the founder Santa Claus himself. 
  • Aspirants should have had value-based education in any discipline from any institute of repute, with a CGPA ranging between 5.01 and 5.99. The company encourages aspirants who score higher on their Emotional and Moral Quotients.
  • Preference will be given to those who have had at least five years’ hands-on experience in any of the following industries: FMCG, Hospitality, IT, Logistics, Packing & Forwarding, Animal Husbandry, Entertainment, Toys and Vehicle/Sleigh Maintenance.
  • Aspirants should be familiar with at least five languages out of the several which are spoken on the planet referred to as Earth. Knowledge of languages spoken on other planets is desirable.
  • Should be willing to travel anywhere in the universe at a short notice. Prior exposure to inter-galactic or inter-planetary travel would help.
  • An ideal elf would be one with a pleasing personality. He/she would be without any family encumbrances, and shall possess the ability to work under high-stress situations.
  • Candidature of those possessing a Good Conduct Certificate from Rev. Aubrey Upjohn, Miss Tomlinson or Miss Mapleton shall be accorded higher priority.
  • Aspirants who have spent time with such Plumsville kids as Thos, Ogden Ford, Seabury, Edwin and Peggy Mainwaring are unlikely to be considered.
  • Prior experience in riding sleighs, sliding down chimneys and taking care of reindeers with care and compassion would be highly desirable.

Those interested in this exciting career opportunity are welcome to log on to hohoho.santaclaus.org and post their brief bios within fifteen Earth-days. Short-listed aspirants would be contacted by our Chief Elf Officer’s staff with further details of our screening process.

To those who are selected and decide to come on board, Santa Inc shall provide a three-month rigorous induction-cum-training program. A personal surety and bond of at least three years will need to be signed by those selected.

Canvassing in any form is strictly discouraged. Those making telephonic inquiries by calling up our Planetary Headquarters on Earth at its North Pole would run the risk of getting disqualified.

Santa Inc is an equal opportunity employer. Its remuneration packages compare favorably with the rest of the Happiness Industry anywhere in the universe.

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We appear to be headed for two new challenges to our mental equipoise in this century – Nomophobia and Noconnphobia! The fear of being out of mobile contact, that is, NoMobile-Phobia, is already well-recognized. The significance of the other, NoConnectivity-Phobia, is perhaps yet to dawn on most of us!

Our addiction to mobile phones and internet knows no bounds. Six years back, I was working with a company in a very senior position. A night before I was to be wheeled into an operation theatre for a cardiac surgery, I was furiously making calls to my team members to ensure that things were handled right when I was away from work for some time. My distressed daughter ended up confiscating the mobile phone, leading me to a feeling of utter loneliness and helplessness. It was as if my world had collapsed!

While recovering over the next four weeks, the ring tone of the mobile phone kept ringing in my ears, even though the equipment was nowhere around. My family ensured I could not lay my hands on it; otherwise, they felt, and rightly so, that I shall again get hooked on to it!

Surrounded by Gizmos!

Mobile phones are now everywhere. We go to a restaurant, and find that the friends who have met only to have a decent time together are instead glued to their individual mobile phones, chatting away merrily with those who are not physically present. On the roads, we find young and old alike walking absent-mindedly, talking on their mobile phone, quite oblivious to the traffic whizzing past and around them. Two-wheeler riders continue driving with an eye on the road while talking to someone far away, with a mobile phone wedged between their hunched up shoulder and an ear. With the arrival of blue tooth, the hunched shoulder has disappeared, but not the ingrained habit of using this all-pervasive gadget while driving.

Travel in a train and chances are that all the passengers are calling up their near and dear ones at the same time, prompting us to avoid the cacophony by taking a stroll down the crowded aisle. Visit a family and just as we start relishing a cup of tea with them, a shrill ring tone distracts one of the host’s party and we start wondering when the conversation in the drawing-room shall resume. Attend a management talk by an eminent expert, only to be interrupted by someone’s mobile ringing loud and clear, leaving the hapless expert clueless and the audience twiddling its thumbs. Even group meditation sessions are not free from this scourge.

When we call up a person on his mobile, we seldom bother if it is an appropriate time for him to have a conversation. If he does not pick up the phone in four or five rings, we conclude that he is being rude and arrogant; the poor guy might just be having a quiet candle-light Valentine Day dinner with his fiancée!

Internet is Fast Catching Up

Same is the case with internet accessibility. It appears to have assumed the same significance in our lives as oxygen which is vital to our survival. Withdraw it and the person withers away like a plant which has not been watered for quite some time. Ask any bleary-eyed child why he is looking tired and sleepy and the reason could well be that the only book he was working on the previous night was Facebook!  The realization that there is a real world out there – which is not the same as the virtual world – is difficult to come by.

According to a 2008 study in the UK, 53% of cell users there suffer from Nomophobia. It is not too different when compared to the stress we feel when we visit a dentist, start a new job or get jitters on our wedding day!

The day is not far off when some of us would be so lost in our technical gizmos that we may end up having to ‘Google’ ourselves to find who and where we are! With the convergence of voice and data services, we may soon end up getting mini-sim-cards planted in our skulls, much like the character of Neo played by Keanu Reeves in the ‘Matrix’ series of movies a decade back.

Just like the advent of the internal combustion engine changed our lifestyles forever, easy availability of connectivity is contributing towards making our civilization even more sedentary. The onslaught of lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular complications is getting further speeded up with our addiction to internet. Our transition time – from being a couch potato at home to becoming a patient in a psychiatrist’s couch – is possibly getting shorter.

Enjoying Freedom with Responsibility

It is not my case that newer technologies are bad. Thanks to social networking, distances have shrunk – physically as well as mentally. A virtual democracy of information has led to grouping of like-minded individuals. Regimes world over are waking up to the potential as well as the power of internet, as we have seen in the case of the ‘Arab Spring’ and also in the recent case of a brutal gang rape case in Delhi.

We have enviable options today to remain connected with the world, but there is an overload of information. We need a higher level of maturity and wisdom to be able to moderate its usage in our day-to-day lives. We need a higher degree of inner strength to be able to sift between what is relevant and truly beneficial for us, and whom we associate and network with. It is up to us to enjoy this new-found freedom with responsibility.

We have to take a conscious call whether we wish to use the technology to our advantage, or to become slaves to it, 24 x 7! Yes, it is not easy to switch off our smart phones, I-pads, tablets and laptops. But there is no other way but to do so at select times during the day. Let us give our gadgets some well deserved rest.  Overcoming Nomophobia and Noconnphobia is not as hard as it sounds!

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