Wednesday, 19 April 2017

This is how technology has changed our children's lifestyle in modern days

Keeping in view the profound demand of technology it has become impossible to segregate human life from technological advancements. There is a cyclical interdependence between society and technology. Whenever such a combination is there, the effect of one substance is felt on the other. Technology has very much revolutionized the lives of everybody included that the lives of sweepers to that of the highly ranked elites in the society. We have embraced the benefits of technology, yet we are least concerned about its negative impacts that are arising from the inappropriate use and over-use. For adults as well as for children technological advancements have hazardous effects. Its impacts on everybody remain unexplored, so efforts must be taken down to explore the negative effects of technology on the most important group of a society: children in general and the children of Pakistan in particular. The number of children in Pakistan using Internet and media is increasing with every passing time. Although the internet and media have made children more social than ever before, however, children should also know the hazardous effects of the internet, and media, because internet contents can influence child’s way of thinking, children can get an access to forbidden sites easily, and video games, as well as media, can make children more violent and less patient

    The internet has a negative impact on the way of thinking of its user, particularly on children. The brain is the most complex organ in the body, and it controls all the functions and interprets the world around us. We define ourselves as human beings because we make us able to do so. An article reports, "The use of technology can change the actual wiring of the brain. More than a third of children under the age of two use mobile media. That number only increases as children age, with 95% of teens 12-17 spending time online. The time spent with technology doesn’t just give children newfangled ways of doing things, it changes the way their brains work."(Psychology Today). As child's belief is shaped by the way of his thinking. Children are ready to collect information from their surroundings, and form beliefs based on that information. In fact, earliest experiences always stick with children for years and continue to influence them well into adulthood. Fiction movies and drama series can badly affect child's beliefs. Once my nephew said, “ Why my God does not give me what I wish when Sanjo's God instantaneously give him whatever he wishes even he never beg like me? I am no more going to like my God because He does not fulfill my needs instantaneously as Sanjo's God.” It clearly shows the intensity of how child’s way of thinking can be changed through dramas. Furthermore, our core beliefs are based on our childhood and early teens' the beliefs. These core beliefs are the strongest factors that shape our personality. One's personality is the only medium through which morality of a person nurtures. Media and the internet can easily change the way a child thinks and this lead to changing one's beliefs. The beliefs that we form early are more rigid, cannot be changed easily. It is obvious to state that changing one’s way of thinking means changing one’s morality and technology is exact doing the same thing.
         The internet has become a medium through which children can access to age restricted contents easily. Allah says, “Do not go near to adultery. Surely it is a shameful deed and evil, opening roads (to other evils)(Surah Isra..17:32).Through childhood to adulthood, the sexuality of a person gradually develops. Until the puberty, children generally do not have enough sexual capacity to being exposed to sexual content. Though development of sexuality is an essential part of the development and maturation of children, but earlier sexualization can negatively affect the morality of a child. Children understand sexuality bit by bit as they grow up and learn from different resources, but the frequency and intensity of the resources on the internet are far greater than other resources. At such a younger age, exposure to sexual can happen on the internet which may have a profound impact on children's behavior towards sex. Today, because children are exposed to sexual contents earlier than ever, they are being sexualized earlier and earlier. Pornographic images and videos are freely available on the internet putting children at risk. BBC has reported that 37% of the internet is made of pornographic materials which are easily available to children hey took this figure from net filtering firm Optenet. (BBC News). With broad access to the internet, curious teens may erroneously or deliberately be exposed to millions of pages having highly sexual content. According to data released by Google, Pakistan tops list top-porn searching countries in 2015(Express Tribune). Before the internet, there was a rare chance where a child had been exposed to pornography Greater involvement in deviant sexual practice particularly rape is highly related to early exposure to pornography. Early exposure to sexual content frequently results in sexual illnesses, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual addiction. Children may learn an extremely dangerous messages from sexual contents such as sex without any responsibility is desirable and acceptable Islam categorically prohibits sex outside of marriage that includes any sort of sexual contacts. Rape cases are also becoming large in number. Last year, 14,850 rape cases were reported according to Dawn News. The frequency and intensity of this menace may increase if the concerned authorities do not take radical steps about the sexual contents available on the internet.  

       Media and video games can increase the risk of violent behavior in children. Actually, the mind of a child is much more sensitive to video games and media than we realize.  A report mentions’ “Children who use computer games and their home Internet for more than four hours do not have the same sense of well-being as those who used that technology for less than an hour.”( Edudemic, 2 May 2015) . Emotional force and undue mental force leads to violent acts. Interactive screen time can affect mood much more than passive screen time. Popular games such as "Call of Duty", "Delta Force" and other games contain a high amount of violent acts. A psychologist, Craig Anderson, reports, “Exposure to violent video games is a causal risk for increased aggressive cognition, aggressive behavior, and decreased prosocial behavior." Children practice what they see, and a high amount of violence can make children more sensitive and fearful about their surroundings. Furthermore, they behave aggressively to any stimuli as they consider themselves besieged by fear. Unfortunately, violence becomes one of the most important forms of entertainment for children, so its consequences is likely to become inevitable. Violent nature of a child tends to search for emotional appeal around child's environment rather than the basic truth of nature. 
           The opposition might also claim that technology has made children more social than ever. The internet offers children to make friends and interact with people from all over the world. Children make friends so easily and immediately using social media. Though through online social media we can meet people from all over the world with much less frequency, but this face-to-face meeting can deprive children of much needed social skills. Children become unable to recognize social cues and gestures of the other people. A study found that children who have less access to electronic devices are better at picking up on emotions and nonverbal cues of photos of faces than children who had too much access to electronic devices. Children use social media as a way to feel popular and just to fit in. Too much dependence on technology alienate children from their family and reduces family closeness. Since moral values can only be taught through love in a much better way, absence family closeness results in the lack of morality. 

     Use of Internet among children is dramatically rising, and inappropriate contents on the internet pose a huge threat. Children are in the developmental stage, therefore the more the children's spend time in front of a computer using the Internet, and playing video games the more will be the possible impact on such children's mental, social, and physical development. In our childhood, we have been taught that morality in Islam includes the concept of a good character, righteousness, and body of moral qualities and virtues as prescribed in the Holy Quran and the other Islamic religious teachings. Unfortunately, our society is losing its morality because media and the internet lead us in the wrong direction from childhood. Our acts, beliefs, and moods are the tools through which we can execute the morality of our religion in the society. Before the wrong beliefs stem rigid and their unwanted and unnecessary desires outreach it is high time made them aware of the proper use of technology.                                                                                          

About Author:

Saleem Shigri.
Chief Financial Officer GSDNB. Studies Management Sciences at LUMS.
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