Life without power

ELECTRIC EXCITEMENT

Life without power

Addicted: Teens are hooked on to electronic gadgets.Two hours of unscheduled power cuts are bad enough at a stretch. But try and imagine going without electricity in the City for a week? Unthinkable, say most teenagers who are wired up to their cellphones, i-pods or pads, televisions, computers, DVDs videos and all the accoutrement of new age entertainment 24/7 with brief lulls in between.

“Youngsters need swiftly changing, sensational, high stimulating entertainment to satisfy their restive attention and fulfil their young lives. Take that away and the average tech-addicted teen is bound to feel at a loss, bored, unsettled, frustrated, aimless, and disconnected. They need to message, tweet or log on to networking sites several times a day,” says student counsellor Rita Farias.

But seriously, how would teens pass their time if they were cut off from electricity for an extended period of time? Joshua Selvaraj says that he would engage in activities that he currently doesn’t find enough time for. “I would probably spend more time outdoors, go for coffee with friends or even read and help with household chores. I would also have more time to explore my new found interest in cooking and baking.” It’s a hobby he has developed watching his mom in the kitchen. He may also expand his repertoire from basic cakes and lemon/chilly chicken variations to more exotic recipes.

“I usually go nuts when the power goes off, waiting for it to return. But I realise now that it is pretty pathetic,” says Roxanne Mascarehanas. “No electricity for an entire week would be an ideal time to go for walks with friends instead of tweeting or messaging them, riding a bike, going for a drive, taking a nap, playing an outdoor game or indoor game like cards or monopoly or even chilling out with a sing-song session. After dark, I could amuse myself by reading a book or writing a letter by candlelight. Come to think of it, there are plenty of things one can do without being wired to electricity,” she exclaims.
Rita believes that such a high investment of time and energy in electronic entertainment can have problematic effects on young people’s growth. Deprived of it, they can go through a kind of withdrawal, not knowing what to do with themselves since they have come to passively depend on external electronic sources for entertainment and stimulation rather than their own imagination and resources.

“We tend to become not only creatures of habit, but captives of habit,” she says. Complicit in this influence she feels, is the role of parents who provide and permit every new form of electronic gadget at home.

“Today, young people spend less time interacting with parents and more time electronically hooked up in their rooms. And naturally in school too, they will find lessons and traditional classroom instruction boring in comparison to the electronic fix they get at home. It’s impossible to compete with the exciting virtual world for their attention.”

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