The World Wide 'Web'
The current era is an internet era. We can book a railway ticket on the internet, answer examinations and even purchase items. Becoming internet-friendly is certainly a matter of pride. However, remember that without appropriate precautions we may get trapped in the enticing World Wide 'Web’. To avoid this, let us understand the hazards of internet abuse.
Internet is an addiction for the new generation
With benefits, modern science has its disadvantages too. Though the internet has opened a whole storehouse of information to the world, it is also true that children are getting increasingly addicted to it. Since internet is now also available on mobiles, today’s generation has access to it day and night.
1. How does internet become an addiction ? : Once they are well-versed with the internet, children use it for getting in touch with their friends and for reducing mental tension. Many children check their SMS’ first thing in the morning. Thereafter, they check the number of ‘Likes’ for their uploaded photographs or comments on ‘Facebook’. The same action is repeated in the night while going to bed. Slowly, the number of hours children spend on the internet rises and later, they become addicted to it. Their behaviour is also adversely affected. They feel restless if accessing the internet is not possible. The grip of this addiction is as harmful as alcohol and drugs. This is known as ‘Internet Addiction Disorder’.
2. Types of internet addiction
2A. Addiction of playing ‘online games’ : While playing various types of online games, children lose awareness about time. Later, they even forget to bathe, study, eat etc. because of these games. In reality, children should play outdoor games collectively on some ground. Instead, they indulge in playing the online games on the internet. It is important for them to learn how to live in the real world rather than in a world of fantasy.
2B. Cyber relationship addiction : Social networking websites, chatting and messaging are used much more in this. It rises to such an extent that children find their ‘online friends’, who they have never met, more important than their family members and other friends.
2C. Information overload : This is a habit where the child constantly indulges in browsing some or the other website or searching some database. This reduces the child’s interaction with his family and friends.
2D. Some other forms of addiction : Purchasing the latest devices repeatedly, spending time on dating websites etc.’
(Daily 'Maharashtra Times', 24.6.2012)
3. The serious form that internet addiction has taken
3A. A large number of children spend time in cyber cafes in the city of Pune alone : Pune is considered to be the ‘Home of education’. The city has a large number of cyber cafes too. Many students spend their time in cyber cafes. The Pune Police conducted a survey of 457 cyber cafes out of a total of 550. They found that 90% of the visitors to these cafes were students. The number of students who spend time there is 1088 ! Of these, 630 students are regular visitors. These students spend an average of 5 hours per visit in these cafes. – Mr Ashok Dhiware, Assistant Police Commissioner, Pune.
(Daily Loksatta, 4.2. 2011)
3B. Fifty percent children in the age group 5 to 11 years are in the clutches of internet : ‘The internet is used in Bharat more for entertainment and less for accessing the information on various subjects. On an average, 30% children surf the internet daily for 5 hours, while some immerse themselves in it. Previously, computers & internet were used for playing various games; but now, some children spend hours together in chatting on the social networking websites such as ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’. A recent survey conducted by ‘Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has concluded that 50% children in the age group 5 to 11 years have come under the clutch of internet.’
(Daily ‘Tarun Bharat, 7.1.2011)
3C. Teenagers in the age group 12 to 15 years are affected the highest : ‘A number of children visit our ‘Muktangan De-addiction Centre’ for relief from internet addiction. We counsel them. The age group we counsel is below 22 years. Maximum number of children belong to the age group of 12 to 15 years. – Ms Mukta Puntambekar, Deputy Director, Muktangan De-addiction Centre.
(Daily Maharashtra Times, 24.6.2012)
Harm caused due to addiction to internet
1. Physical harm : Sitting continuously in front of the computer for browsing internet leads to the following problems.
A. Weakness in the hands and wrists
B. Constant strain on the eyes
C. Pain in the back, neck and head
D. Inadequate sleep
E. Sudden gain or loss of weight
2. Psychological harm
A. Irritation if internet is not available or if disturbed during the use of internet
B. Cannot tolerate criticism on constant use of internet
C. Use of internet for relieving tension instead of resorting to appropriate remedial measures
D. Unnecessary dissipation of energy of the mind because of excessive use of internet
3. Familial harm : Today, children shut themselves up in a room and spend hours together on the internet. Therefore, aspects such as talking to parents freely and understanding each other’s problems do not take place. This is causing decline in familial feelings and love.
4. Academic harm
4A. Neglect of studies
4B. Inability to spontaneously contemplate on a topic : Internet provides information on practically every topic easily. If students want to prepare any topic for writing or a speech, then instead of contemplating on the subject on their own, they browse the internet. The required topic is then copied-pasted, and the topic is thus ready. Then, how is it possible for such children (who do not contemplate on their own) to develop their thinking and writing skills ? Such children then cannot talk for even a few minutes at a stretch on any subject.
5. Financial harm : Unnecessary use of internet leads to the loss of parents’ hard earned money.
6. National harm
6A. Huge national wastage of man-hours : Today, not only children but young adults too indulge in unnecessary internet browsing. Thus, not only do they waste their own time, but lakhs of national man-hours are wasted when we take into account the number of youth indulging in this activity nationwide. There is a need to use this time for development of our country, social service, spiritual practice etc.
6B. Moral degradation of children who are the future citizens of Bharat : ‘What does the young generation do on the internet ? Hiding video files on the computer, visiting obscene websites, downloading film songs, hiding instant messages or deleting them immediately, lying about online dealings, using the computer that is not monitored by the parents etc.
(Daily Loksatta, 26.6.2012)
Dear Children ! Remember that the character of our Nation is built upon the values we nurture. If the Nation loses its character, then within no time it is destroyed !