To what extent do mobile phones influence people and their culture? Have we become a society of people under the reign of technology?
--BY RASHMI PANT
Iphone Yoga, an expression I came across while reading an article, made me think twice as there's been rapid advancement in technology and it would not be an exaggeration to state that today we are a part of the generation 'I-phone Yoga'. Limiting our talk time with a friend or family member right next to us, we are more worried about chatting with someone on a messenger app such as Viber or Whattsapp.
If a social media partner does not respond for a while, we burst out in anger ignoring the fact that the person sitting beside us is desperately trying to share a few words with you. This is a particular trait of the young ‘millenials’ of today, who opt to socialize in the virtual world and there is no doubt that the asynchronous communication of today has shifted the established social spheres of the past where the demarcation of work and play spaces had been well defined.
To further exemplify this point, in the context of countries like Nepal where remittance is one of the major contributors to the GDP, a major portion of it is being spent on smart phones, which clearly means that the new generation is rapidly adapting to the new technologies and there are more reports of people having mental and physical symptoms of distress, addiction, dependency and depression.
Despite the fact that today’s technology has many merits, for instance, one’s office can now be a place to bond with the family, one can easily work thousands of miles away from their desk, etc., modern instruments of communication are turning out to be more conflicting with their host of incongruous features and the effect they have on users' feelings. It is constantly becoming a paradoxical source of anxiety and relief, of safety and risk, of connection and disconnection, making the smart phones extremely complex and raising the question about the degree to which these devices are good for humanity.
As time goes by this form of mimicry by the new generation is slowly diluting their interest in culture and values, for instance, if young people do not carry their mobile phones even for a few hours, they feel utterly handicapped and if it keeps on continuing then they will soon be incapable of forming or maintaining relationships without the help of the so called 'Smart Phone' which is making them dumber. It is difficult to say whether mobile phones are inherently good or bad because this is determined by how we use our phones. I believe that mobile phones can be greatly beneficial as they allow us to connect in new ways by allowing us to have a plethora of information at our fingertips at all times and helping us to become more capable than we have ever been. On the other hand, it is undeniable that mobile phones can cause users to be overwhelmed by expectations to stay in contact with others and users can be overwhelmed just by the complexity of the device causing anxiety when we have it and possibly even more anxiety when it is taken away.
Therefore, the relationship that mobile phone users have with their device and the effects these devices have on entire social systems raises the question, to what extent do these devices influence people and their culture? Have we become a society of people under the reign of technology? Not necessarily, but it is important to analyse the effect they have on human behaviour so that we can be the crafters of our own future.
(The writer is Head- HR & Business Planning at Prabhu Bank Limited.)