It is time to check them out before they ruin themselves! The technological toy in their hand looks like a friend but basically it has put them on the road to nowhere!
I suggest that before you read the story just have a look at the picture which is from Budhal in district Rajouri and it will adequately describe what I’m going to tell you subsequently in the story. The children who should be with the books and studying in their homes are sitting on a makeshift wall with eyes fixed on the screen. Obviously they would not be listening to lectures by a teacher on the online class because to them that is a headache and boring but a nonsensical video uploaded by someone, a source of entertainment!
‘We have been driven nuts by technology and simply cannot get over the obsession of being on the mobile phone gazing into the screen with wingers remotely controlling the happenings on the video that has been downloaded. Are we slaves to technology? By the look of things we definitely are. The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free. Don’t we realize the same? If we do not then we should because we are passing the same to our kids also? People who smile while they are alone used to be called insane, until we invented smartphones and social media, that is what a lay man like me would think. The people may argue that connectivity is a necessity without which simply one cannot survive in today’s world, agreed in this regard because it is a digital world and it keeps us close to everyone but considering it as salvation, it perhaps will have no appreciable saving effect upon humanity. Today, humans are now only more technology-dependent – not more happy – not more wise nor more enlightened than they were 6000 years ago.
Technology has given us forays into many avenues in life and we also do say that if it is available then why not use it but still the fact is that we can live without technology, but not without people! Sensible use of mobile is appreciable but not an absurd one as we tend to do and are passing the buck on to our children who spend considerable amount of time on it and thus wasting time as well as energy.
The last one and a half years have been bad for humanity. In fact very bad and has hit the children the heaviest because on the educational front they have been thrown on the back foot. Thus digital education has caught on like never before. There was no other way out. The teachers and the students did their best but never were the desired results produced. Despite having the technology at our disposal and syllabus being complete still the children preferred not to appear in the exams. Agreed that the safety and the security aspect had to be kept upper most in the mind but there were other reasons too and that clearly pertained to being underprepared and this predicament was more so in the rural areas. If it is taken in one way the teachers did try their best and gave it their best possible shot but the children accumulated and assimilated nothing. Flashing of notes, online classes face to face on zooms or recorded lectures were meaningless since the accumulation and assimilation was nothing to nil and as such most of the children in rural areas do not like to study and those who show inclination to study need teachers to be with them and the technical wizardry available like smart mobile phones is more for entertainment purposes. We all know we are human when a beautiful image appearing on television/computer/smartphone/tab screen appears more alive than a living being. Basically, it is stupidity but they still like it. The more aware parents in urban areas do stop their children from spending time on mobiles but in the rural base the parents do not show the kind of interest. They believe that their child is studying but do not check out as to what he/she is doing!
When the online classes started very few children in the rural areas had mobile classes after the covid-19 invasion and invariably the complaint to the teachers was that they had to use the phones of their parents (with their fathers) as there was only one phone available in the house. Therefore everything depended on the father being at home. The problem was genuine and with the virus unrelenting and also uncertainty of classes opening the parents had no option but to buy the instruments for their children and the result was that screen consumption did increase but not for studies! The experts in the form of child psychiatrists have been saying beware of your kid’s screen consumption time,- it’s a matter of life and death of psychological life and psychological death. Raise them in a way that they do not lose their sense of community in the fake crowd of hashtags and emojis. This awareness is not in the rural areas! Today’s children do not need disturbances to disrupt their peace of mind, they are doing it themselves quite well. Bad idea but it is true in all respects! In other words smartphones are definitely smarter than them to be able to keep them addicted to it. But they do not realize it but when they do, it would be curtains on the life of attaining knowledge!
To be honest phones are neither good nor bad, they are just lifeless machines that were invented to serve humankind, yet humankind, with their everlasting stupidity have turned this communication marvel into psychological suicide. In this world one cannot goof it up on the technology front because he/she would have to live with a tag of being primitive and no child would like that be it rural/urban. Indeed it is a necessity but not to an extent that we spend a large part of twenty four hours on it. It is happening in the rural areas which is not a good sign at all.
No one in rural areas is going to tell the following to the parents of the kids, that the very existence of social media is predicated on humankind’s primitive drive of attention seeking. And when they successfully monetize your attention, they end up with bagfuls of money and you end up with a screwed up mental state. And if we don’t do anything about it now, the next generation will be a generation of mentally unstable glass creatures. It’s going to happen or rather it is happening. Till online classes and virtual lectures it is all very good but thereafter it’s all nuisance like sitting in a pre-decided rendezvous in the village along with their phones and yapping about, in other words wasting time. What has been taught online is conveniently forgotten and there is no interest whatsoever shown in tasks given by the teachers and instead the social media option is taken to flash videos that there is no time to play and only studies? As such even in class room face off studies the home work is a necessity! It is the parents who have to do that but who will tell that in the rural areas?
The children in rural areas have to be told that It is okay to own a technology, what is not okay is to be owned by technology. The parents have to be made aware of it. Technology is not good or bad, for it knows no ethics and principles. The prime directive of all gadgets, Is to obey algorithms without scruples. The problem is not technology, the real disease is human recklessness, which is rampant in modern society. Your phone is not ruining your peace, You yourself are doing it all. A society oblivious to moderation, In time causes its own downfall. Power is power only when used with caution, if used wildly all power is poison. The urban parents have begun to realize but the rural people are still away from it. Competing in the modern day world is all very good but it has to be on the other fronts through books and being inquisitive, trying to innovate and explore with your own mind and acumen and intelligence. Technology should be used as a support system and not as a life support system which has become the tendency now! Yes modernizing villages is a great concept and villages are getting that look, it augurs well for the future but the kids need to be roped in as they are definitely not on the right track especially so with the mobile phones in their hand!