The internet is one of the world’s most useful inventions. Today we take for granted the speed with which we can get access to information, communicate with people, do monetary transactions from a personal scale to a global and political scale, have a professional and academic life remotely, and of course use it as means of entertainment. It has also allowed us to create devices and gadgets such as laptops and phones which have applications that help us regulate our life.
The recent pandemic has made the use of the internet even more prominent. With people and children not able to go to work/school, the internet allowed them to continue their routine, with social distancing enforced the use of the internet allowed us to remain apart yet emotionally connected and with the internet, we were able to monitor, understand and were informed about the disease and the protocols we have to follow.
Despite these benefits, we often hear people expressing concern about how the internet is making people more glued to their screens while missing out on the life that is moving ahead of them. In 2021, 4.9 billion people (two-thirds of the world’s population) were connected by the internet. India has 658 million internet users (February 2022). In 2019, around 54% of the Indian internet user base was between 20 and 39 years old. Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp are the most popular social media networks in the world (2022) and Google.com is the most popular website worldwide with 45.41 billion total monthly visits (2021).
These numbers don’t have to confirm the worse truths of how gadgets and technology are infiltrating our lives and leading to less physical interaction, internet addiction disorder etc. There can be better ways to use this so that we can benefit from all these and also be cautious so that these become a part of our lives which we can control and not be controlled by them.
Track your time: The use of technology should be done according to our needs. Cutting out technology completely isn’t the solution but knowing when we have to use what medium of technology for what purpose is important.
1. Tech-free zones: There can be some places and times during the day when we refrain from using technology of any kind. It is safe to say that we should take out some time and spend it with family, friends and ourselves where we can focus entirely on the human connection rather than being glued to the screen. This can also extend to the bedroom where we should focus more on sleep than on writing that important email or scrolling through social media apps.
2. Have more face-to-face interaction: Due to Covid it was not possible to meet up with colleagues, friends and family on a regular basis, but with things starting to go back to normal, through precautions we can have more face-to-face meetings and interactions rather than depending on our phones/laptops all the time.
3. Create time for hobbies: One way to detach oneself temporarily from using gadgets is to come up with something interesting and creative to do. It could be 30 mins of our day on things you wanted to do or learn but never found time for.
4. Install apps that are useful: Many people create so many apps that can promote health, wellbeing, and information. These apps can make a difference in your life if you use them to your advantage.
Technology has truly been a revolution for mankind right from the invention of the wheel to the internet. We are capable of doing many things and these inventions should be used for our benefit. As Frances Willard said, “Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul.”