Happy Diwali – Celebrating The Light Within
It’s interesting how technology can today be considered both – one of the greatest boons as well as one of the greatest banes – of our times. As a concept, it presents itself as an interesting oxymoron related to the human brain – responsible for progress and regress! Life seems impossible without the convenience of our modern devices, which have us mesmerized, gawking non-stop into the screens of its various avatars – smartphones, computers – like desktops, lap-tops, tablets, etc., video-game consoles… and let’s not forget the old faithful – television!
Be it work or play or leisure – all roads lead to the screen! Over the past two decades, we have been getting increasingly dependent, consumed by, and even addicted to, various tech-devices. Did you know, as per the latest global statistics, people average 7 hours of screen-time per day (thereby showing an increase of nearly 50 minutes per day, since 2013)! We are constantly glued to our screens – be it passively (watching TV or reading); interactively (gaming and internet-browsing); for work and content creation; or for communicating (video-chatting, social media, WhatsApp and other messenger services).
The prolonged use of watching TV, binge-playing video games, online shopping, online gambling, surfing social media – all culminates into an addictive ‘digital drug’ for our now over-stimulated brains. This addiction, which leads us into living a negative lifestyle, has cost us our health – physically, socially and psychologically.
With adults and children increasingly opting for online/virtual experiences, compared to real-life experiences, one is left wondering if our technological proclivity is morphing our very instincts – from that of being social animals to becoming stand-alone, tech-addicts. Ironically, the very technological progress that we pride our human intelligence on, seems to be turning into the anti-thesis of humanity itself!
Those who grew up in the 70s and 80s often reminisce those tech-free times when humans were smarter than their phones and gaming was done in person, in the outdoors… when the spinal cord was more active than its electronic counterpart… when ‘stress’ was not a constant medical condition. Isn’t it counter-intuitive that the very technological inventions which were meant to convenience us have in fact, blitzed us into a more-hectic-than-ever life!
But blaming technology for our current woes would be like blaming the gun for murder. It is the uncanny incapability of us humans to check ourselves when we cross the line from ‘use’ to ‘overuse / misuse’ and finally to ‘abuse’. We have proven this across various genres – drugs, food, alcohol, and now we are abusing or over-dosing on technology.
Truth is – we need to take charge of our lives – and that will only happen when we start screening our screen-time! Experts say adults should limit their screen-time (outside of work) to less than two hours per day. Any time beyond that which you would typically spend on screens, should instead be spent participating in physical activity. The American Academy of Paediatrics discourages use by children younger than two years of age and recommends limiting older children’s (up to twelve years) screen-time to no more than one or two hours a day.
Tech-addiction is very real – it is as potent and as harmful as any other addiction. It would serve you and your loved ones well to be cognizant of your screen-time and to take steps to nip in the bud this new-age evil, which has been slowly but surely making its way into our lives. For more information, do read up the informative article on ‘Tech-Addiction’ by our columnist, Psychologist Mehezabin Dordi (Pg. 14) and do mail us your queries.
Have a good weekend!