Digital Dilemma

Dear Readers,

The alarming increase in the accelerating digital addiction is more real than most of us are willing to acknowledge. There’s an increasing pathological over-use of the internet, where liking an Insta or Facebook post or retweeting a Tweet (now X) takes precedence over real life people and experiences, where children learn to swipe before they learn to speak!

We’re too digitally entranced to notice life passing us by in all its splendour, even as the screen-obsession holds our eyeballs ransom to its virtual allure. We are more than willing to pass up real-life encounters for cyber-stimulations. What is even more unfortunate is when we do show up in real time, we are still glued to the screen – how often do you find yourself having to chide your children, friends or spouse to “put down that damned phone,” during meals or family time, or even during planned get-togethers with loved ones?

This growing lack of interest in real life events, coupled with the preference to stay blissfully ensconced in the virtual world, is as scary as it is harmful. Internet / Social Media addiction has been formally diagnosed as a mental disorder. Termed Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), this psychosocial disorder dims your personality, and is characterized by a lack of patience, isolation, food and emotional disorders, body image issues, social awkwardness, weakening of relationships, poor physical health and low self-esteem. Addicts end up losing jobs and having no careers and no personal lives as they veer towards depression, anxiety, ADHD, stress, family/relationship issues, etc.

The alluring illusion of ‘virtual companionship’ is ironic – we virtually ‘connect’ with people globally, at the cost of ignoring those right in front of us! We need to mindfully arrest this unfortunate social and psychological malady. While social media is now ingrained as an essential part of our personal and professional lives, indulging in intermittent-digital-fasting or detoxing (going for set periods of time, like a few hours, or a day or more, without logging on to any social media platform), would prove helpful in the long run.

The need of the hour is to take back control, reduce the virtual clutter and redeem our peace and place in the real world… to look down less into the screen and look up more at those in front of us, with appreciation and gratitude, in real time.

Have a good weekend!

– Anahita

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