We live in times of great advantages courtesy some great technological advancements.
Technology that was once available only to super spies in movies is now in the hands of
every third person in the world. Social media is at the forefront of technology for regular
everyday individual. It is helping him/her learn more, do more, get things done faster,
connect with people across the world for cheaper and reconnect with people who we
thought we would never meet. That is the upside of it. But is there a down side? Yes,
Despite the boom in information and knowledge, why would author Mark Bauerlein be
calling us the dumbest generation in the title of his book on the effects of the digital age?
That would be because we seem to be dumbing down everything else down while being
obsessed with social media. Let us look at some of the ways in which it is negatively
I personally believe that the success of social media is based on the simple fact that
people like to talk about themselves. But the truth is that people post only about what
they feel makes them look good and acceptable. And in most instances, overstate what
looks good and hide what would put them in poor light. Their self-esteem is no longer
based on who or what God made them to be, but on what people think of them. And it is
this continued obsession with the likes and positive comments that makes them cook up
facts and stories that are not true. Some time soon the bubble will burst should they
meet and spend time face to face to with one of their online friends. We would be much
happier to accept ourselves as we are, and with people who accept us that way too.
An extension of the above behavior is the innate habit we all have of comparing
ourselves with others and feeling miserable. When we continuously see, or at least
assume, that everybody seems to be having a better life than us, we feel miserable, and
over a period of time, end up depressed. Depression is a common sign of those who are
addicted to social media. It is due to our poor judgement of others based on what they
choose to show us, and our ignoring of the good things that are part of our life. Let’s
count our blessings before we are weary and tired of counting others’ and feeling low.
Unlike earlier in my career, I have been travelling often these past few years. And I
noticed a marked difference in what transpires between passengers. Hitherto, they
would chat up, share stories of themselves and hold up cards in a game of rummy. Now,
they just whip out their phones, hold them to their faces and read, listen or watch
stories of people they will never meet. One may argue that making conversation with
strangers on a train is difficult, but the difficulty seems to have penetrated into our
living and dining rooms. One will often see friends and families sitting around the same
table and lost in their own world steering through their own digital world through their
phones. Let’s put our phones down and interact with the ones that we love in real time.
It was a name that I did not recognize and had the face of smiling dog. The profile of a
person who sent me friend request was someone I could not place at all. The race to
have as many friends as possible on social media sends people in to a request frenzy. But
even if you do recognize, are they really your friends? Friends are people who do things
with you and know you. They are the ones who stick by you, and help you even when
they know your weaknesses, mistakes, and have perhaps even tasted your betrayal.
While they may spread word of you being in trouble and get the help and attention you
need in an emergency situation, how many of them would stick by you till you get back
on your feet? How many of your social media friends are worthy of your 3 am call when
you are troubled and cannot sleep? Let’s make real friends. The kind that Jesus spoke
about in John 15:13.
Also let us make sure that the next generation does better. We have to limit our
children’s constant access to social media. They are digital natives (they were born in to
a world that already had social media) unlike us who are digital migrants (we moved
into this at some point of time in our lives). And this makes them more susceptible to
everything that the earlier paragraphs lay out for us.
Here a few tips of online safety that will can help you.