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Lost in a virtual world

Sanjana BS, May 14, 2014, DHNS :

Awkward silence

addictive: Most youngsters are hooked to their phones all the time.

Ever since social apps have come in the way of youngsters, many parents and relatives feel they don’t know their kid anymore.

Friends become the life for these people who are hooked onto their phones, laptops and other gadgets for most of the day. Ask many youngsters around and they are no longer aware of what their family is upto. They tend to skip weddings and other family gatherings just to spend more time with their friends. As ironic as it sounds, these friends have gotten close to them only recently.

Vidisha, a first-year biotech student, feels otherwise. “I think it is increasing socialising in a way. I agree that people tend to stick to their mobiles and laptops but they are making new friends through these means. Whatsapp and Facebook play the stepping stones in this aspect.”

In support of this statement is a teacher and psychologist Shany Sunny who feels that socialising is not affected. It is socialising skills that are affected. “Young people today live in a virtual world. It is a multi-faceted issue. Parents have less time for their kids, so the kids automatically switch to the internet to get attention, approval and recognition. They surround themselves in the virtual world with people the same age, though they don’t know appropriate social etiquette and how to behave when they come across people of different age groups.”

What about parents and relatives feeling distanced from their children? “Well, they need to invent new ways to be with their young ones. For example, in our culture, a lot of indoor games were played which included many members in the family. All this has come to a stop now because a joint family from the earlier days has disintegrated into nuclear families. Also, these days, both the parents are working and both come home late while their kid comes in early.”

“He or she doesn’t have anyone to talk to at the moment so they turn to the internet. Even during the weekend, parents only communicate in a passive manner by taking the kids out, there is no active communication happening there. With the virtual world your connections are unlimited. The number of friends are so many and judgments are very less compared to the real world. In any social networking site, we have the liberty to edit, delete and create new identities. For instance, it gives a very shy person a more relaxed environment to connect with people.

The virtual world provides instant gratification, when compared with the actual world,” she concludes.

Thinking on a rather different note, service delivery manager Bhargav K Phaneendra says, “During our childhood, in summer holidays, we used to play outside on the field. Today, they still play all through the day and night as well but in front of the idiot box. Technology has made gaming so advanced and real that kids would love to spend more time in front of the gaming console rather than sweating it out on the field.

Today, I can proudly say I have more friends because of playing cricket regularly and I can surely say these youngsters cannot make those many friends in a lifetime.” Aishwarya Bhatkal, a first-year communication student, does believe technology reduces socialising among youngsters.

“For instance, I have cousins all over the world. It’s fun to catch up while we meet, but because of Whatsapp we’re so in touch that we have no new and exciting information to share. It is the same with Facebook. Also, once you are glued to your devices, you will forget how to live in reality,” she says. In an era where letters are replaced by emails, people believe that technology should take a slower effect on youngsters. With situations like these arising, we know how and why awkward silences occur.


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