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Childhood/Teens hood in the “Digital Age”

In her Nobel lecture, Mother Teresa had worriedly expressed, ‘I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why – why is it like that, and the answer was: Because there is no one in the family to receive them. Father and mother are so busy they have no time. Young parents are in some institution and the child takes back to the street and gets involved in something.’

But how is the childhood/teens hood in India at present? Is there any difference from the West? Now childhood/teens hood is in various crisis. We live in the “Digital Age”. Bombard consumerism and imitation of foreign culture and practices have been reshaping our everyday life. Life choices and life styles are the driving forces of today’s trans-modernity. People of almost all ages of all social and economic strata are within this realm and rhythm of consumerism for instant happiness and life satisfaction.

Various studies reveal that children/teens are in mentally crisis and their behavior is violent because of dependence on materials and competition in their day life so far as marks oriented school education is concerned. Our education system has been changed, and it does not work as Sister Nivedita remarked, ‘Education, like growth, must be always from within. Only the inner struggle, only the will of the taught is of avail. Those who think otherwise do so only because they are ignorant of education as a science by itself.’ It is the only effort that makes us advance.  Education does not work for modification of behavior of mutuality and self-respect and respect to others. This career/descent occupation oriented education adversely shapes personality and meaningful life pattern of influence to others. They are separated, self-centred, and they live in a truncated relation in family and outside. Actually, they are out of scope of benefits as they desire. Parents try to console them providing benefits like foods, beverage and smartphone, etc. Their preference of living is alone. They are in virtual relation, and they are addicted to social media, and they are addicted to various adults like behavior in their innocent age. Addiction to alcohol and others, and sexuality has been prioritized in their day to day life. This result shows that the smartphone makes them sexually smart, but they are in mentally disordered. It is dangerous for their future life.

In addition to this trend, COVID-19 pandemic is the new fuel to make them digitally dependent. Virtual or on-line education, and interaction with peers/friends or complete dependence on social media is pushing them into an adverse milieu.

Therefore, parents and senior of each family should be attentive to them, and they should be affectionately and friendly with their juniors. They should teach them about the use of smartphones and should monitor their smartphone activity. Pressure and competition at their school life in relation to high marks/good academic performance are to be reduced. Parents/school teachers/seniors should think about their mental health.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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