India is undergoing a technological revolution, wherein the urban and rural areas are being increasingly exposed to the technological gadgets in the field of entertainment, computing, communications, lifestyle, cameras, health and home use etc.  They have an increased exposure to the everyday life of the common man. Christian Lous Lange, a Norwegian historian, teacher and political scientist said ‘Technology is a useful servant and a dangerous master’. The last few decades have seen a tremendous increase in the number and types of technological gadgets due to improvements in science and technology.

Technology simplifies our life and provides solutions to our day to day life besides providing ease of access to entertainment. In a way, it has become a necessity in our life. A mobile which was a luxury, has now become a necessity because it not only provides the facility for making calls, but it assists in number of other ways such as banking, surfing the internet, video calls, social media, driving directions, fitness tracking, security, and name it and the function is available. It has connected the people across the globe and video calls to friends thousands of miles away are available at the touch of a button. Its utility is not just felt in urban areas, but also in the rural areas for activities such as online education, selling of farm produce, early warning of disasters, weather updates etc.

     However, technology also creates avenues for cyber fraud, illegal activities, creating social unrest, electronic waste and peer pressure. It also leads to addiction to the gadgets which can lead to vision problems, headaches, obesity and increased stress levels. It was once said that the gadgets will free time for its users, however, on the contrary, it has turned out to be the opposite as we have become prisoners of the electronic gadgets, especially the mobile, computer and the television. It has also made the humans habitual of turning to technological devices for all solutions and not applying common sense to simple problems.

           According to a study carried out by Nielsen on the use of smartphones, it has revealed that India has 900 million mobile phone users, out of which 40 million are smartphones. The survey brought out an interesting fact that 50% of these users are under the age of 25 years which implies that a majority of the users are youth. Another survey by Hootsuite has brought out that 42% of Facebook users in India are in the age group of 18-24 years. During this stage of life, the youth are vulnerable to inimical effects of technology and they are glued to the devices which affect physical, mental, emotional and social life. The blue whale is a true example of how technology can drive naive children to harm. Young and innocent children are prone to abuse and exploitation as they are easy prey to unsocial elements. They can be victims of aggression and violence, sexual abuse and commercial exploitation. A report by UNICEF on ‘Children in a digital world’ details the wide range of risks encountered online into three categories – content, contact and conduct risks. It is, therefore, necessary to have parental supervision over the use of technological devices by children.

           With this background, it can be concluded that the outcome of utilization of technology depends on the user. The youth form the majority of the users and they can turn it in favor of the betterment of the life if utilized correctly and optimally. However, the mouldable and delicate nature of the youths makes them vulnerable to the harmful effects of technological devices. It throws open a controversial question – “Is it necessary to monitor the use of devices by the parents?”

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By Col. Ravinder Singh