Sep 01, 2015 | Tarni Khurana (@tarni_k)

1970’s- hockey, cricket, soccer, chess were the favourite kiddo games. They enjoyed playing hide and seek, reading storybooks in groups. It was the Age of Wisdom.

2000’s- children still prefer the same set of games, but with a slight change in the playground, the playground which has shifted from the open to the Apple and Google Play store. There’s a lot of hiding and yet a world out there - seeking, sharing, liking and retweeting. Welcome to the World of Digital Obsession, the Age of Information and Communication.

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People of 90’s era could never have thought of a wave that could bring about such a tremendous change in our lives and the real world. Flow of information, communication, technology could leave you insane with its rapid pace of development. The world of technology has become a unique entity so much so that it runs parallel and simultaneous to the real world. However, just as a sword hanging in the battlefield, it is double-edged and has both- advantages and disadvantages associated with it.

Talking about world of social media, it has brought about an unconscious change in our personality. A lot of people just feel, act and perform because they ought to declare it on the social web.There has been a sudden upsurge in announcing one’s whereabouts on social media and therefore, declaring has taken a step ahead than doing.

“I do so much of it because I want to declare it” and not because “I really want to do it so I declare a part of it”.

Also, the tradition of Selfie is the output of one such great ideology.

The digital world has for sure expanded the platform of interaction and communication however, it has also marred the whole process. More than 40 percent of people prefer communication over web than in real time largely because mode of edit and rephrase is completely absent in the real world. You might see people communicating exceptionally well across the web; however, they lose the same flow of spontaneity in real time. May be, because in the real world an individual cannot fill the blank spaces with ‘lol’‘hmm’,’yaa’ and ‘ttyl’.

Dan Cobley, Managing Director of Google UK, said: “The web has revolutionised the way we share information. But helping young people navigate the online world safely and confidently remains an ongoing challenge. So, with an advantage of going global we are also pressed down by the need to keep a vigilant eye on what kind of information is shared and made viral on the internet.”

In A Recent Conversation With My Teacher

I learnt that the world of writing is no different. With the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook, Watsapp, Twitter- the digital world has also given birth to sign-language, slangs and self proclaimed short-forms. The poor lady was distressed by the liberties teenagers have taken with language and expression. She noticed a dozen of answer sheets with words such as ‘okie’‘gonna’‘pls’‘k’‘u’ and what not. It almost took 2 rounds of coffee to calm her senses. Of course, the world of expression has got under a huge change but there has been a chain of reactions to it and we can not ignore the fact that humans who are in continuous interaction with the digital world too have been affected by it.

The Psychological Picture Is No Different

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As a social and entertainment platform, the digital world has acted as a mode of escapism. People easily slip from real to the virtual world because there is a sense of gratification and acceptance associated with it. There is an illusion that failure of relationships in real world can be compensated with relationships on the social web. Hence, an individual escapes from the real life into the illusional world of communication on the social networking sites with friends, friend’s friends, not so friends and just friends….

But the question is are we really communicating productively?
Is the process of communication satisfying?

On the other hand, youngsters too seek refreshment, adventure and excitement in the world of videogames rather than world of outdoor games and physical activity. As a result, in its absence, people are completely out of sync with reality.

“Recent studies now validate the reality of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). IAD can cause tremors, shivers, nausea and anxiety in some addicts. Many professionals now consider IAD analogous to substance abuse. They include it among other pathological behaviors such as gambling and eating disorders. Try removing a young "gamer" from a video game in a hurry. You will discover how difficult it is to break the attachment between the teen and the screen.”- Dr. Bernard Luskin

When a young brain is exposed to digital world for long, it undergoes a chemical changes and some of the changes are irreversible.

“If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviours and call them attention-deficit disorder.”- Susan Greenfield

A recent study shows that more than 85 percent of our life is circled around technology. A tech-savvy individual spends almost 8 hours interacting with his computer screen.

Wait Here, Pause For A Second And Reflect - Where Are We Heading?

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As an individual, I have no case against digital-social media and technology. Of course, it has simplified human life in inexplicable ways. The world has compressed into one global village where information can be shared at a button’s click. There hasn’t been a sphere left unaltered by the digital world.

But the question is to what extent are we willing to submerge ourselves in the humdrum of technology.

In fact, people who live by the world of technology suddenly feel lost and ripped off their digital counterparts. A sense of nothingness hovers over them. Solitude, introspection, barefoot walk in the open field has become so archaic. People might not even remember the last time they indulged in one of those activities. Unbelievably, there has been a complete shift in one’s personality and let’s admit it, not all changes are friendly and easily acceptable.

It’s high time we draw a distinction between the real and the virtual-real. Here’s a quick review as to how we can minimize the adverse overlapping between the two:

  1. Keep your workspaces and your resting areas distinct and separate from one another.
  2. Never carry your laptops or working screen to the dining area. Keep that time exclusively for enjoying your meals.
  3. No matter what, always take out time for family and friends in the real world. They deserve it.
  4. Indulge in outdoor sports and physical activities. They offer a much needed break from the working schedule.
  5. In case you are too much of a gaming addict, restrict your time video gaming hours and keep narrowing them at a gradual pace. Until and unless you are willing to keep a check on yourself, nobody else can. 
  6. Take out time for relaxation. Connect to an old friend or a mentor over a cup of coffee. It’s blissful to relive the old days.
  7. If you are in the field of engineering and technology, make sure you schedule your tasks or use time management techniques such as pomodoro. You surely don’t want to get stuck with the screen all day long.
  8. Most important of all, take out time for yourself without your gadgets hanging around. Learn to be in state of solitude than loneliness. Meditate, go for walk or a may be a long drive or pick up any classic read. Indulge in any recreational activity that you enjoy. I’m sure that would get you smiling..

The whole point in performing such tasks is to make a room for yourself in the real world.The digital technological forces are overpowering and resourceful; they cannot be escaped.Therefore, as an individual we don’t need to turn away from technology, but rather develop a conscious, balanced and a healthy relationship with them.

Let us not be drowned in the quagmire of technology and social media.

Let us drive the world of technology and not be driven by it.

Tarni Khurana (@tarni_k)

Content writer at Statusbrew. Wordsmith and an amateur artist.