Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Jan 2019 09:53:01

JUST because her mother scolded for her disturbing addiction to mobile phone, a fourteen-year-old girl in Mumbai locked herself up in the bathroom for a long time. When the parents broke open the door, they found the girl hanging from the roof, but fortunately alive. But in three more days, the girl succumbed, leaving the family in a pool of grief and also repentence. In the past some time, a few more such cases had come to light -- of youngsters killing themselves because they were barred by the family from using mobile phones beyond sensible limits. This has confronted the larger society with a very serious issue of the fatal trap of technology in which countless people from young generations find themselves caught. And most unfortunately, this fatal affliction is a global phenomenon causing serious concern in most societies. If social leaders do not come together seeking a solution to this issue, the larger human society may see terrible effects of the technological affliction on massive scales.

There also are other ill-effects technology is causing on the people who get into excessive use of various gadgets. These ill-effects fall in various categories including physical wellness, serious psychological disorders, social isolation that leads to an inexplicable mental irritation on a continued basis ...! Studies have shown that excessive use of mobile phones leads to sever neck-pain as the unusual tilt of the neck distorts muscular balance. Excessive use of mouse to manage computer operations is known to cause a tennis-elbow-type syndrome for which medical science has now only one response -- stop using the mouse. ...! Excessive use of computer, or mobile phones also is known to have caused serious optical disorders in people.

In spite of all these ugly realities, a systematic response to the challenging is not forthcoming from the larger human society around the world. This is very intriguing, to say the least. A failure on this count is very likely to lead the human society to a bigger mess from which any genuine redemption will be difficult in the long run. Somehow, leaders of human societies are yet to see the dangers posed by the excessive use of computer or mobile technology to a shocking degree of addiction.

There are reasons to believe that a lot of youngsters get trapped in technology addiction because of loosening of family values on massive scales. Though there still would be exceptions, most youngsters who get into the fatal technological trap belong to homes in which family values have not sustained themselves for whatever reasons. In all those families, there still could be one or two persons who care for family values but are in sort of a minority, their calls for sanity getting ignored by others. Another reason of this degradation could be a reduced influence of religion -- not dogma -- on the young minds, which, too, could be traced to failure of the family elders to retain a proper check on the activities and engagements of their youngsters.

We realise that this is our bounden duty to put in a word of serious caution and concern about the addictive levels of use of mobile or computer technologies. This challenge, therefore, requires a deeper thought and a more serious application of human genius to save younger generations from the ill-effects of technology. Yet, we insist that this is not an attempt to campaign against technology; this is an effort to raise a rightful alarm against its abuse and its ill-effects. The actual sociological challenge is perhaps in firming up of family values and moral influences on young minds. And the beginning of that response will come only if leaders and thinkers in human societies across the world rise to look for an answer.

A proper study of the situation may spring forth a totally different set of reasons, but the grief is that such studies are not taking place in appropriate measure as the larger society keeps suffering from suicides like that of the 14-year-old reported from Mumbai, for example, and other places not only in India but also elsewhere in the world.