By Shah Hussain
Young folk are rightly considered to be the “X-factor” behind any given nation’s success. While phrases referring to the youth like “Long-term assets”, “Productive resources” and “architects of a nation” are clichés, but these carry and hold an important truth. However, if not dealt with care, they are susceptible to various perils ,which if overlooked can put their life and careers in jeopardy. This has a searing resonance in terms of the uses and misuses of technology.
Every one is well aware about the positives of technology – almost in the nature of a boon which has revamped the face of the modern world. But, there is a dark side too. Even an average person cannot repudiate technology’s incessant and cornucopian benefits, but the truth is that the duo of internet and westernization (in their negative senses) is subjugating us through every possible means, in every possible way.
Considering the society we are living in, I do not feel reluctant to say that the technology and internet-revolution is a new severe headache. Tech-fi world or a new peppy, innovative and advanced world, as we might call it to justify the dwindling moral, social and ethical standard of teenagers (in particular) and people of all ages (in general), these tech gadgets are more pernicious than being enabling tools for our youngsters. This constitutes our new reality. Alas!
All this has a bearing on Kashmir’s “X- Factor”. Not a single day passes when I don’t see a bunch of young lads, posing in peculiar styles, much analogous to modeling assignments. These are issues that should capture the attention and concern of society.
Our X factor’s strong predilection towards fashion, unquenchable thirst for social, music-mania, profligate spending on superfluous things due to their strong zeal for fashion and being true-blue Bollywood and Hollywood fans, far-off from faith and values has left them snowed under the hefty burden of ultra westernization.
Be it public parks or a tourist spot, be it roads or any other place, our teenagers, youth,
dressed in colorful attires, holding DSLR’s and smartphones in their hands, dilly-dally about every-which way, clicking, capturing, chatting, chanting, and a lot of other stuff only to orchestrate their social networking profiles (oftentimes), which, in turn, gives them a sense of complacency. Not even a single place is being spared: not even washrooms! (Hope a storm is not brewing!)
I am in my mid twenties, well aware about the harum-scarum activities done by the youth over internet, which, of course, has adverse effects. Our respected members of society ought to feel pity for these spring chickens being consumed by this sweet poison. Youngsters loitering around with tech devices, wasting hours on social networking sites, unnecessary-sometimes beyond the limit chatting, gossiping, bullying is what concerns me. All this undoubtedly leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. I have come across so many teenagers who suffer from an inferiority complex, only because his fellow mates look more stylish or has more followers, making them compete against each other in terms of maximum number of likes and comments on the De-Social (social networking planets).
Even guys from less privileged families are not willing to be at the background. They push their parents to buy them smart phones, clothes and other trendy accessories in vogue. Nowadays, there is a new trend: DSLR’s on rent and even small boys go Dutch with their money for the sake of an amateur photo shoot in order to impress others on social networks.
What concerns me is that while we are globally connected but are also mentally disturbed with a declining rate of interpersonal social attachment. Social life has been left in tatters and credit goes to social networks. The young generation, in particular, is so enamored to the technology that their graph of family-Interaction has drastically come down, which as a reflex has umpteen number of negative consequences. Studies reveal that difficulties in self-regulation, lack of awareness of repercussions of compromise of privacy and susceptibility to peer pressure are listed as reasons for teenagers’ cavalier attitude towards online risks such as sexting, cyber bullying and exposure to inappropriate content as they navigate the tricky waters of social media.
One can pose the question, what is wrong in doing in all this but let me tell you there is not, provided it is within certain limits, which surely is not the case. Crossing these limits is by no means healthy for youngsters however creating a reasonable balance will be fruitful. Moreover, a society which has been trampled by turmoil and turbulence, where depression and fear is ubiquitous, safety and security is under constant threat, it is imperative for the youth to toil hard, and imbibe moral values and ethics in their universes.
Calculated or bounded freedom for the youth is imperative but at the same time we ought to prevent our young too from abusing this freedom – all for their own welfare. People from all sections of society -parents, teachers, social workers and from all other walks of life- need to come forward and find best possible ways to guide us towards better and prudent balance. It is said, “Every coin has two sides”. The same applies here. What ought to be done now in order to proliferate the benefits of the tech-enabled-modern world but taper off it’s damage at the same time, I conclude with the hope that intellectuals will rise to this profound and peculiar challenge-the sooner the better.
—The author is doing his MBA from the University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: [email protected]