Kick the digital fix

Kick the digital fix

‘Excessive use of tabs, smartphones and PlayStation is not permitted in this house. Those who violate this rule have to relinquish using these gadgets for a month.’ I am sure there are many irate women like me who would be more than willing to put a signboard like this in every nook and corner of the house including the wash room!

The grown up men who go into a zealous overdrive the moment they hear a beep from their phones should especially be kept away from using gadgets at home. The obvious excuse of ‘Oh I think it’s my boss who has sent a Whatsapp message’ should be willfully ignored by the wife as most often this is just a pretext to reach for the phone and chat with the various groups he may be a part of.

A group on organic farming keeps sending updates to my husband on how to sow a seed, benefits of eating vegetables sans chemicals etc. I keep wondering why my husband is part of such a group when he has negligible interest towards gardening? “One of my friends who owns an organic farm started this group and I could not say no when he asked me to join it. It’s just a group on the virtual platform, it doesn’t require me to go and till the fields,” he says. Well, it seems like nothing is impossible on the virtual platform. I am not exaggerating when I say that most of us are on the verge of becoming ‘digital slaves’
I recently noticed that our local pharmacy store, whose owner took pride in the fact that he had hundreds of loyal customers, now bore a deserted look. When I voiced my concern, he gave me a sardonic smile and said, “Ma’am, there are just a handful of people like you who take the pains to come to our shop. Others send me a Whatsapp message or post a picture of the prescription. I deliver the required medicines to the doorstep”.

This left me wondering if my maid too had fallen prey to the Whatsapp mania. My doubt was cleared the next day when she excitedly told me, “Yes akka, I have whaat-is-app on my phone.” “But why do you need Whatsapp and do you know how to use it?” “No akka. I don’t know to type in Kannada but I can send pictures and videos of my kids to my husband who works in another town. You see, he has Airtel 3G on his phone and he says Whaatissapp helps him stay close to us”.

Phew! Technology does have its advantages, I willfully admit. Technology can be our friend and guide if used moderately. However, our excessive dependence on mobiles/ smartphones has deprived us in enjoying the simple pleasures of life. For instance, I saw a family of 4 in a restaurant recently who had buried their heads deep into their cellphones/ tabs. It seemed like the arrival of the waiter was an intrusion on their privacy!

Families sit together to dine but in reality they are more engrossed in checking messages on their cell phones and updating their status message on Facebook which may read: “Dining with family at a fancy restaurant.” Why are we in such a tearing hurry to post a message like this when the purpose of such an outing is to spend quality time with our loved ones? Digital technology has divided families and made friends to interact more on the virtual world than the real one. It’s time we get over this digital fixation.

Try putting that phone/tab away for some time. Strike a conversation with your loved ones and you will realise that a tete-a-tete can be much more stimulating and refreshing than sharing messages on a social media platform.

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