It’s the time of cyber revolution, at the end of which comes a civilisation hooked into gadgets, moving away from face-to-face conversations and getting involved in a hyped reality. Mobile technology is the real game-changer in the creation of the world, but the hidden truth is that there would be no smart phones without internet revolution. Probably due to the grave concern about youth being hopelessly addicted to internet, many debates are happening.
A few years ago, internet addiction was titled a mental disorder. Now, it is increasing; thanks to the telecom companies which are competing strongly with each other. The launch of Reliance Jio has created ripples in the technology and internet ecosystem. Free voice calls and unlimited data have forced other network providers to jump into the fray with matching offers. Now, that rings a louder alarm. The sirens of porn sites and other internet based commercial sites will lure youngsters to eye-catching pleasures.
A generation co-existing with internet is being offered a corrupt wonderland to explore. Earlier, the high-priced internet connection acted as a deterrent and a blessing in disguise. But with the latest revolution, internet addiction will become more rampant than ever before. “Internet has become a way of life. Kids nowadays are digital natives, because they are born into technology, which has become a way of socialisation and information repository. So even if telecom providers come out with attractive offers and free and fast availability, there is always going to be a section which will abuse and overuse it.
“Several parents come to me with the complaint that children are hooked to their cell phones all the time. With such offers, such cases will be increasing. Although it is a sad reality, we have to train youngsters to control internet usage,” says Dr C.J. John, psychiatrist in Kochi Medical Trust. Sumi Thomas, a Kochi-based mother of two, shares her opinion, “I don’t think it is an isolated problem nor I believe that internet alone will corrupt a child. It is a reality and I personally accept it as a parent. My nine-year-old daughter, who uses a tab, is tactfully restricted to use the internet and I do not let her access internet-based applications without my supervision. That doesn’t mean that I don’t give her a space. She uses it for her gaming and educational purposes. The only way to tackle internet addiction is by keeping the conversation alive with the child and channelising their mind to effective using during their formative years itself. As a parent, it’s about keeping my children safe. When I was young, our older generation blamed the TV that had the potential to corrupt our mind. The blame point changes from time to time.”
But for techies in the town, this is a boon for sure; they have more options than ever. “Even though we had broadband, speed and data availability has always limited us in using the potential of internet-based services and more. Now, the volume of data availability offered by telecom providers gives us more options for downloading data at a faster rate. With Jio, the perception of internet has changed from data to value-added service, but the surge in addiction will only be seen in the initial phase,” says Hrishikesh Bhaskaran, a software engineer and owner of a start-up based in Kochi.