In the age of “Digital Amnesia”

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Rohan, my 15 year old nephew was pacing up and down when I returned from work. Being the concerned aunt I was, I immediately asked him the reason for his unnatural behavior. His response astounded me as well as irked me, the Wi-Fi connection was not working!

Rohan isn’t alone. There are many children or adults who resort to such behavior. The advancing technology is surely a boon for us but it has also brought in a lot of unrest and negative behavior amongst the masses, “digital amnesia” seems to be one such issue which houses itself in many individuals. A leading newspaper describes this condition as the negative behavior shown by an individual when he/she isn’t able to connect to the digital world due to some unavoidable circumstances, for instance, the Wi-Fi stops functioning, the data pack in one’s mobile phone is exhausted, or there is no working internet service provider in the vicinity.   Such individuals who are mostly hooked to the digital world soon start alienating themselves from the real world; children, teenagers show lack of interest in daily activities, they even resort to truancy. They turn oblivious of their surroundings. Thus it becomes imperative for parents/elders to try and wean their wards off this evil.

Many a time at restaurants, malls, or even at homes, young children are found to be hooked onto iPad, tablets or other smart devices with parents paying zero heed to it. Mothers, when questioned about this activity of their children, plead helplessness as to this alone seems to be something that keeps their children busy and them undisturbed. Feeding children while playing nursery rhymes or cartoons on smart phones or tablets seem to be the trend these days, to a certain extent it is helpful but one must take care that children do not get acclimatized to such behavior. Excessive use of anything is harmful and technology is no exception.

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Alluring activities in the digital world is turning individuals into escapists, as in, they evade real life interactions, conversations or discussions. X-box, PSPs, etc are interfering with our family time, if adults find themselves buried in their phones or other gadgets, children replicate their behavior soon. Weekends/holidays are times when the entire family should indulge in constructive activities; dinner time is the only hour when the entire family gets the opportunity to be in each other’s company, hence this valuable time needs to be utilized.

Digital amnesia is fast spreading its net, hence it is important that we as parents/elders take control of it. It is necessary to discipline oneself in using the internet time as our behavior gets reflected in our children’. We cannot turn a blind eye to the ever changing and ever evolving technology but we can surely dissuade ourselves as well as our near and dear ones from getting victimized by it. ‘We should control technology and not the other way round.’

Children should be taught the boon and the bane of technology so that they can use it wisely and develop into responsible netizens.

About the Author

Joyadrita Raghavendran

Joyadrita completed her Masters in English Literature from Calcutta University. After 6 year long stint in the corporate world she chose to become a full time mom to her lovely daughter, Anshika Raghavendran. When she is not writing, she is busy cooking or spending valuable time with her favourites.

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