Home > Ideas > Net loss: Smart technology?

Net loss: Smart technology?

“Acha,look here … stop looking at the phone!” chided Raveen, my nephew.

Achan means Father in malayalam and he’s been calling me that, instead of Uncle, having heard the constant chanting of that word by his older cousin (my son) from the time he was a baby. I am the ever indulgent dad / uncle, always available to play games, share stories or jokes.

We were playing cricket. In the past, the games used to proceed uninterrupted and we would spend time afterwards to chat some more about the proceedings. But these days it was a fight; a small tile-sized device would call for my attention and interrupt the game – the Uncle was enslaved by this device; it drags him away, sometimes permanently. Spending time with him is not so much fun these days.

The expression on his face said it all … I was being a killjoy!

And later, while heading home that I realise that an opportunity has been lost forever. Soon he would be a grown up and would go out of my life permanently – not that he would go away anywhere but he would have other things to do and no time for fun and games with me. He would rather hang out with boys his age; an old Uncle would not be so much fun to have around.

It’s then that I would realise fully the folly of not having given the young fellow my undivided attention. I am sure this drama gets repeated in a million homes – the disgruntled other party being a parent, a spouse, a child or a business associate.

The advent of smart technology has had a terrible effect on social/business interactions – we toggle our attention between the instrument and the people who are with us.

The priority currently seems to be weighted in favour of the virtual:

–          Chatting with a friend on WhatsApp or GTalk

–          Responding to a Status Update on Facebook

–          Reading / responding to an Email

–          Talking to a friend / business associate on the phone

At the expense of the real:

–          Wife who is trying to discuss an important matter since yesterday

–          Child who wants to spend some fun moments with you now

–          Parent who has been hoping to catch your attention for days

–          Friend who is across the table hoping to get a few minutes of undivided attention

Sadly we mess up both – virtual friends are involved in several other interactions at the same time, like you. None of the interactions have any meaning beyond the transient thrill they provide – both parties are drawn into this false web of magic, a world that seems clean, joyful and worry-free; but there is very little beyond that!

Often we swap the real, the important and the relevant for relationships that are superficial and with people who really aren’t the persona they project online; false associations with false people trumping quality time with your loved ones … we are making huge progress, aren’t we?

A wake up call is long overdue for a number of web-dwellers; the net they have been drawn into is sucking the life out of them and they don’t know!

Please don’t see this as a rant against the internet, social media or smart-devices – I have enjoyed the benefits offered by these amazing enablers, both professionally and socially. But aren’t we abusing these privileges?

There is no line drawn and a loved one or a business associate or some important work gets ignored or pushed to second place by the lure of online life!

I plead guilty! My nephew made a strong point today when he confiscated my phone for the duration of the game.

Can’t we be proactive and act sensibly – do we have to wait till someone takes such drastic action?  

What is the lure? Is it that the people around us are boring and all the fun people are elsewhere – so we make a pretense of being physically available with the boring set while extracting pleasure by staying in touch online with the fun people you really want to be with!

Are we so self-centered that our pleasure and concerns come first always?  Isn’t it essential that we switch off the phone or keep it aside when we are with friends and family? There was a time, and not so long ago, when lived without mobile phones or email:

–          Business happened

–          People spoke with each other,

–          Children got attention from their parents and friends,

–          News got conveyed.

–          Life went on normally

Are we getting smarter? 

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  1. Lijo
    July 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Real life scenario…Very thoughtful to have brought up this point. Like, like.

    • JayadevM
      July 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you, Lijo!

      Good to hear from you … and glad that you could relate to it.

  2. July 2, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Hi Jayadev

    Very True. Smart Phones have become the latest addiction in socitey that is binding us to the virtual world and making us less available to our loved ones. And as you said we are losing out on so many precious moments in life. Very thought provoking post

    • JayadevM
      July 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Hi Jayasree

      You said it. Thank you for the visit and for your support.

  3. Anita Ravikumar
    July 2, 2012 at 8:55 am

    True words indeed JM. we all know this in our inner minds and yet keep on with the same behaviour till we realize time has passed us by and we cant bring back the precious moments we have lost.A nice reminder and very well put!

    • JayadevM
      July 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Anita

      Good to see you comment.

      Yes, ruing after missing the opportunity is such a waste … most of us need to get our priorities straight.

      Thank you for the support

  4. Jamy
    July 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Extremely relevant indeed Jay! No doubt and I have to plead guilty too at times and am trying to change for the better.. actually much better now than maybe a year back!!

    • JayadevM
      July 3, 2012 at 4:20 am

      Aren’t we all guilty, Jamy? Change we must.

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