Where Computer is god and internet the umbilical cord
By Sumit Raina
Chat Online, tickets Online, books Online, banking online, mail Online, dating Online, travel Online, jobs online, shopping online, gaming online, socialising online, cinema online - everything in this world seems to be going online. Don’t be surprised : people may marry, pray or even eat or drink online in the not-too distant future. It may sound absurd, but remember who could have imagined a hundred years ago that we could locate our homes from a satellite in outer space and see them on a computer monitor.
Yes, amazing things have happened with the launch of the internet. No need to stand in long queues in the hot summer to book railway or bus tickets. We can now do banking online at the click of a button. Books from the whole world are up for grabs online, that too for free. Postal mail has really become a thing of the past. Now we have faster, accurate and simpler email. Online video tutorials have made education easy and accessible to everyone. Sitting in the comfort of our home, we can attend the lecture of a professor in Harvard. We can video chat with our friends anywhere in the world. In simpler words, distances do not matter in this internet world. Listing these benefits, one may reach the conclusion that the internet has changed our lives for the better.
But wait a minute, anything in excess can lead to problems; even an intake of large doses of sugar can give rise to diabetes. Look at the internet generation. Most youngsters spend hours on the so-called social networking sites, be it Orkut, Face-book or Twitter, without realizing how much it can affect their mental and physical growth. People have got so addicted to their virtual life that they forget there is more to life than just sitting in front of a plastic box.
Children at a young age have got cut off from their parents, friends and relatives. They now prefer online gaming in the air-conditioned rooms of their homes to sweating it out on the play- ground. How can they learn the importance of team spirit and physical exercise? Studies have shown that people who spend more time on the internet are more likely to suffer form physical and mental sickness. Students are suffering a lack of concentration due to the addiction to the social networking sites. People spend hours of office hours together just updating their Facebook or Orkut status, thus decreasing productivity.
No doubt, the internet helps us keep in touch with friends but there is no substitute for human interaction. Now people prefer sending e-cards or scraps on birthdays or marriages. Friendship has become e-friendship. Just as an enormous wealth of knowledge is available on the internet, a huge quantity of pornography is freely available on the internet. It affects the moral fabric of society.
In short, we have lost the human touch. We were born to live in a society, not in some virtual world where people fake their identities. After all, we are not robots. We have feelings and emotions which a programmed computer can never understand. We cannot live in our virtual fantasy world ignoring the real world. We need to realise that we have invented the internet technology; we are the masters and should not become slaves to this technology. We should not allow it to work for us. The internet is a wonderful technology but it needs to be used wisely.
( The Hindu, dated 14-11-2010, Sunday issue, p. 14 by Sumit Raina )