For kids who grew up in the 90s, when the Internet was still a futuristic thought and we were still unaware of mobile phones, computers meant playing around with MS Paint and watching a series meant following Vikram Betaal every Sunday on Doordarshan while to communicate with distant relatives or friends we had to use the now-obsolete device called landline. However, we could let our imagination run wild and free as we read Panchatantra, Rabindranath or Harry Potter; we solved mysteries with Tintin and Hardy Boys too. We learnt to be expressive as we wrote letters to connect with our pen pals and spent time meeting our friends.
And then the Internet and ‘cellular’ phones happened to us! These technological wonders caught on with the everyday citizen swiftly. As the age of the Internet dawned on us and our affinity towards mobile devices grew, we unknowingly trod down a path of new discovery beset with its own flaws. Slowly but surely we started to understand these technologies as they became an inseparable part of our lives. On their part – mobile and internet technology advanced leaps & bounds to offer the world in our palms.
Technology takes a toll
Books have been a reflection of the wonder of the human mind. Through books, we have immortalized human history, culture, science, literature, arts and most of what we know today. The written word invigorates the mind; it expands our imagination and makes us breach our boundaries.
Hence, reading is an important and undeniable part of human existence. But as we have evolved technologically, in the new millennium to be specific, somewhere we have lost touch with the reader in us. No, we haven’t lost all the book lovers and bibliophiles but we have endangered our future generations with the overuse of social media and entertainment media platforms in current times. The advancement of the internet and smartphone over the past 10 years has been abrupt and incredibly fast.
It is undeniable that social media has brought a paradigm shift in communication while other media platforms have made entertainment easily available at a cheap value. But our excess dependence on technology has put us in a perpetually distracted mode. Hearing without paying attention, looking at screens while having conversations is commonplace now – we are not really ‘present’ in the present anymore.
All’s not lost
We can’t refuse technology nor can we discard a medium of true knowledge. It is important for us to find the middle ground. While social media helps us easily connect, it leaves us vulnerable to instant gratification and rejection which in the long run affects our mental well-being. Watching your favourite series or movie on a smartphone is visually stimulating entertainment but it’s a one-way street where the medium doesn’t always help us in broadening our thoughts.
However, reading helps us imagine worlds that we have never travelled to seem tangible. For a child, reading books nurtures them to form their own ideas and help in brain development while when a grown-up reads they can calm their mind, instil focus and broaden their outlook with each book. Technology has also created other mediums to enjoy books like audiobooks and e-books.
Reading lets us contemplate which is essential to our lives and we must find time to read each day for our own betterment. After all, a book is a man’s best friend!