Guest column | Excessive use of mobiles ring in trouble for youth | punjab$htcity | Hindustan Times
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Guest column | Excessive use of mobiles ring in trouble for youth

The terror of the online Blue Whale game, which is taking a toll on young lives across the world, including India, is the result of the possession of cell phones by teenagers.

punjab Updated: Sep 10, 2017 10:35 IST
The mobile phone has become a social tool. From students to housewives, from an officer to a labourer, every section of society is under its influence.
The mobile phone has become a social tool. From students to housewives, from an officer to a labourer, every section of society is under its influence. (Getty images/istock photo)

The terror of the online Blue Whale game, which is taking a toll on young lives across the world, including India, is the result of the possession of cell phones by teenagers. Such devices have induced school and college children to play this deadly game, resulting in suicides. The cell phone is undoubtedly one of the wonderful inventions of modern times but this incredible technology has made our life convenient as well as complicated.

When the cell phone revolution started in the late ’90s, nobody could visualise its powerful impact on society and social values. Initially, it was only a communication device but today it has become a part of our existence. For many, life holds no meaning without a phone in the hand.

The mobile phone has become a social tool. From students to housewives, from an officer to a labourer, every section of society is under its influence.

Till May 2017, there were an estimated 934 million subscribers of cell phone internet services. More than 95% of India’s youth own cell phones.

Till May 2017, there were an estimated 934 million subscribers of cell phone internet services. More than 95% of India’s youth own cell phones.

More than any other section of society, the cell phone revolution has taken a toll on the younger generation. The youth have adopted an anytime, anyplace, anywhere mobile communication culture, where time and place is no hindrance and resultantly the use of cell phones has become an obsession. This obsession takes the form of rebellion when parents try to curb its use within reasonable limits. The urge to reply to messages or surf the internet is so compulsive that youngsters feel pressurised to stay connected round the clock, leading to sleep disruption.

It’s a common concern among parents that children are spending most of their time on cell phones, affecting their academic grades and health. Students waste most of their time playing games, listening to music, watching videos and reading/replying to messages.

In alien territory

The most damaging part of this overindulgence is that children are losing interest in social interaction. Alienation is increasing. In a room, four roommates may act like strangers without communicating with each other for hours together. Relationships suffer as there is no interaction.

Physical problems are arising from spending long hours on the phone when rest and relief are required for physical and mental health.

The pernicious effect of using cell phones is so destructive that the pocket money the youth used to spend on eating and buying clothes or indulging in common social activities in earlier times, is now being spent on recharging and buying new phones.

Youngsters are betraying the trust and expectations of their parents. They are headed towards the lone parent family system in which one is not accountable to anyone and is the only decision maker. Such behaviour is leading us towards social fragmentation and a decline in moral values, where respect is the core.

A psychological condition growing among most children is NoMo phobia or no mobile phobia. This phobia is the panic condition caused by the loss of the cell phone or lack of credit balance. The symptoms can prove to be so damaging that it can lead to a psychological disorder.

Driving us crazy

Cell phones are a hazard while driving and often lead to accidents. People taking calls or texting while driving are a common sight. They can lead to disastrous consequences. Heavy fines have been imposed to discourage this habit.

Though it’s difficult to control the use of cell phones among the youth, there is a need to ensure its reasonable use. Putting controls on its use may prove counter-productive, therefore it would be better if the youth are made aware about its negative impacts on their mental and physical growth. The role of parents and educational institutions in this is vital. Both play a significant role in shaping attitudes of the younger generation. There is an urgent need for educational institutions to conduct seminars and workshops on social, psychological and physiological negative impacts of the excessive use of cell phone. This needs to be done as a long-term strategy.

Check misuse

Mobile companies also need to play a role in controlling the misuse of cell phones. They have every right to work out innovative packages offering greater value for money but they should not be making profits by compromising on the interest of the younger generation. They should educate the youth about the negative impacts of excessive use of electronic gadgets.

Society needs to wake up to save the youth from the ever-increasing dangers of excessive use of cell phones. Let us contribute to control this menace in whatever way we can before it is too late.

jkajla727@hotmail.com

(The writer is an Indian Revenue Service officer)