The Joy of Real Togetherness

With the advent of digital media, there’s been a slow by steady increase in its usage by the masses. In fact, in the last few years especially, there’s been an alarmingly fast encroachment of gadgets into our daily lives to an extent that we are unable to function normally without them. I can tell you myself that I cannot go a day without my phone, Kindle and Internet. And that’s not healthy in the least.

Recent studies show us that this unhealthy attachment to digital goods is affecting both our physical as well as mental health, and not in a good way, but adversely. Just the other day, I stumbled upon this link on Facebook, which led to a collection of photos of couple in bed while engaged in some form of digital interaction, except, the photographer had removed the gadget from their hands. The blank, dead-eyed looks on their faces were frankly, alarming. From off the top of my head (I’m too lazy right now to Google this), joint pain, disruption of sleep patterns due to drop in melatonin levels, narcissism, and addiction are just a few of the adverse effects that we experience from forming an unhealthy attachment to he digital world.

But other than the direct harm it causes, have you noticed how we seem to have grown apart as families in the last few years? We all seem to have a gadget in our hands at all times, and cant even seem to be able take to effort to set it down at meal times, let alone to spend sometime talking to our families. We have become so addicted to the unknown next-big-thing that might be just one click away, that we have forgotten to keep up with our fellow human beings in the process. And yes, there will be people who say that the Internet has in fact brought us all closer together. Which is true, and I completely agree (otherwise I would never have friends who live all the way across the word in Denmark). But while it has brought closer the people who are physically eons away, it has driven away those who are in close proximity. It has reduced physical human contact. It has slowly infiltrated its way into the time spent simply talking to our best friends, or chatting with our mums while helping her wash the vessels, or sitting quietly with our fathers and watching a bee sitting on a flower in the garden.

As with all of man’s follies, its only now, when half the damage has been done, that we’re waking up to reality and realising the gross error that we’ve committed. And we’re scrambling for ways to set thing right, while also not letting go of the technological advancement that we’ve come to enjoy. Basically, we need to find a point of balance and stick to it.

There are many ways to do so – sitting with grandparents and listening to their stories, find some joint activity that you can do with each of your parents/kids, ban gadgets at the dinner table, have a family game night every week, etc. But I also think its important to remember the good that technology has done for us. There are those who would say that we should completely shun these new fangled things whose cons are more than their pros (not true). But that’s the other end of the spectrum. Like I mentioned earlier, we need to find a place of balance. Its not going to be easy, its not going to come overnight, but it we’ll get there in the end. Baby steps – that’s the key.

This post is part of an activity for Kissan India.

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