WhatsApp to the world?

A villager introducing his family:

Wife:  Google Rani – Gives ten replies to one question.

 Son: Facebook Kumar – Shares household matters with the neighbourhood.

 Daughter: Twitter Kumari – The entire colony follows her.

 Mother: WhatsApp mata – Keeps muttering the entire day.

 Me — Orkut Kumar – No one bothers about me!

This is from a forward I got. But is the painful reality today as smartphones have taken over our lives and turned us all downwards, whether we are sitting, walking or even talking and whether we are urbanites or rural folk.

I am one of those fossils who is still on the good ol’ mobile phone which might not be as smart as its tosh cousin, but is trusty and discrete doing the job it was intended to – to keep in touch. There are times when I feel left out and protest because everyone shares everything on WhatsApp only to be told, ‘You should be on it!’ in an accusatory tone.

Believe me, resisting the lure is not easy, for every smartphone user is a fervent proselyte determined to convert those who have not acquired one yet. The penultimate straw was when my friend who is a computer illiterate began extolling its virtues and tried to hard sell it to me to remain ‘connected’ even when on the move without the bother of sitting at a laptop! And the final straw came when L&M acquired one and joined the growing band of proselytes.

I am a little confused. Or maybe I am dense. Is it that necessary to be constantly ‘connected’ and share every little thing with one’s friends and groups? True, it has become a necessity to be in touch with our near and dear ones being scattered over the globe. But being glued to the little screen in my palm trying to keep up with what my family or friends are up to can fray my nerves and give me a breakdown sooner than later. Isn’t there something called one’s own time and space? I sure wouldn’t like to moan to the world at large about my burnt dish or my feeling blue. And I most certainly wouldn’t put on a cheerful face to fool the world and myself.

I hear that FB is considered obsolete since oldies have made it their medium to keep in touch with their friends and family keeping tabs on their kids in the bargain! Sometime back I got a text message that advertised an app where the message deletes itself once it is read. ‘Now you can stop your parents from prying into your messages,’ it said little knowing that it was talking to a grandmother! Newer apps are coming up like poison ivy to keep out the oldies.

Let me clarify here that I am not against smartphones per se or that I am trying to trivialize the good things that have resulted from this invention. The helplines during natural and man-made disasters, the spreading of the word in a medical emergency, the companionship it provides to lonely elders….there are many such valuable things that can be accomplished with their help. But what about the flip side, which seems to be getting larger by the day?

So close yet so distant

So close yet so distant

  • First of all, I have a bone to pick with the word ‘connect’. Whatever happened to the more personal phrase, ‘being in touch with’? It implied that one was actually ‘in touch with’ the other person. Being connected somehow makes it sound like we are each an individual telephone exchange, don’t you think? Ironically, the very device that is supposed to keep us connected is keeping us apart from actual people. See this video Look Up which had gone viral some time back.
  • Secondly, as inventions go, I think the smartphone has created more addicts than any other. The addiction has cut across age barriers and even the elderly are addicted to it today. I recently read about a clinic attached to NIMHANS in Bangalore treating net and smartphone addicts, which mostly comprises of teens and even pre-teens.
  • I can see nothing positive coming out of six and eight-year- olds glued to their tabs and smartphones declining physical games and social interaction. Today, being aware and informed is considered synonymous with knowledge by these kids and even their parents, who preen with pride at their wards.
  • The selfie craze is another scary thing. Posting them is perhaps the biggest pastime of social media addicts. Even while making fun of the trend, they are busy clicking their photos with the other hand.
  • This morning’s papers carried another news item about a Mangalore youth being run over by a train as he tried to post a selfie on the tracks. Doing stunts or pretending to do them have taken many a life and limb. People are known to have blown off their brains as they pretended to shoot themselves, perhaps pressing the wrong trigger in their hurry to post the pic on Instagram or WhatsApp. And the youth in the Delhi zoo who was mauled to death by a white tiger? I bet he was trying to get a selfie and the onlookers were intent on ‘sharing’ the scene, as was evident from the clips.
  • There is nothing above sharing for the unscrupulous — killings, murders and suicides. The same is true of rapes and molestation in public view. While it is good as a documentary evidence to nail the culprits, the voyeurism that follows by the shares is nothing short of disgusting.
  • Talking of photos, today no one is safe from prying cameras, which are conveniently located on both the front and back of the smartphones. Morphing pictures, using them for creating fake accounts and misusing them, blackmailing the subjects – you name it and it is there as a dangerous offshoot of this smart invention. I can hear murmurs of, ‘But it is just a phase and will pass. Didn’t we get over the Walkman and ipod craze?’ Excuse me, but plugging in an earphone to listen to music can in no way be compared to the dangers posed by  the smartphone craze even remotely. If you are not convinced, just watch this video.

Interestingly, every time there is an article talking of the harmful psychological effects of these apps and social media networks, there is another one talking about the advantages that appears in double quick time. Makes one wonder how much of a hand the industry has in planting them. Playing down the harmful effects can well blow up in our faces in the not too distant future.

I remember reading this poignant post written by a mother addicted to cyberworld.

From time to time we hear of people going off social media – deactivating their FB profiles and staying off other media forums. But most of them come back, with even more fervor after a break. I don’t think any significant number of those who have viewed the Look Up video have given up using their smartphones. Makes one wonder if it was just another gimmick to go viral. For after all, the social media addicts keep taking potshots at themselves too, don’t they? Talk of negative publicity!

Come to think of it, the use of these gadgets and apps is like riding a tiger. They give a high when one mounts it and gives the false sense of achievement of having tamed it but, when one is tired and wants to get off, one can’t. The various groups one is in can be demanding of one’s time and energy and even lead to depression when one can’t keep up with the flow of ‘shares’, not to speak of the frustration that stems from looking at the world that seems to having fun and going places.

As for me, if I am indeed missing the fun of instant sharing and at times feel left out of the shares, I am not only ok with it but also happy – for I am not astride that tiger. I can’t believe that till some time ago, I had even been pestering the Brats for a smartphone!

And hey! If you have read this far, it means I was successful in making you look up from your smartphone, wasn’t I?

Oops! But I didn’t, did I? For, most of you had read this on your smartphones, hadn’t you? 😀

Images courtesy: Homepage: dangerousminds.net

This page :www.businessweek.com 

56 comments

  1. I didn’t install Whatsapp for a long time, but after a lot of pestering I finally did. Like some of the people on this post have said, it all really depends on the user.There is a mute button on groups, there is an exit option as well for groups you don’t wish to be a part of anymore. So why not use it for the purpose it was made for..staying in touch with people you want to be in touch with!

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    1. I have heard that it creates some sticky situations for people which they want to avoid. Agreed about the users being in control, but how many are able to do it effectively? Don’t we see the effects all round?

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  2. Mr Sumit · · Reply

    Nicely written loved this one. You are absolutely right this is an big issue. Whatsapp grab the whole world. We are such kind of foolish.

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  3. jaishvats · · Reply

    Here I am seeing public interest videos in stations asking people to talk to their families and stop looking at their phones….This did remind me of that recent Zoo incident in Delhi…If his phone were not smart at all, he would not have made any attempt to take a picture of that tiger and later have fallen prey to its fangs!

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    1. I hope you saw the links I had given — to the video Look Up and also the blog article. They are not one-off things but the norm today. I had put the Delhi zoo incident in the post, but somehow it had got edited out during one of my numerous editing sprees 🙂 After seeing your comment, I added it again. The selfie craze and its dangers was one of the things that prompted this post. Do you know that the said tiger is a special attraction in the zoo post the mauling. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry 😦

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  4. Sorry, I hastily signed off without finishing the climax. The price tag of this fabpnciful iPad only revealed half the price, my dear daughter paid to greet me with the gift on arrival at her home in Canada. It took a couple of hours for me to decipher the extremely fine print of the price tag, with a Microscope, which stated unconditionally, that on my opting to buy this product, I had mortgaged my sense of proportion and time as also my freedom of choice in spending MY OWN TIME at my will and pleasure.

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  5. You are absolutely right. I am now an iPad addict, at the ripe old age of 80 and am unable to dismount the tiger. Of course, it is another matter that I find it both informative and entertaining, as, after the demise of my beloved wife, with both my daughters settled abroad and my only son, always at his work spot, I seem to have mo choice. But I admit, I miss so much of my other activities and hobbies, due to preoccupation with FACEBOOK. It is partially advantageous, but mostly depressing to think of WHAT ALL I MISS in this wonderful universe.

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    1. I can’t believe that the manufacturer had actually put that warning on the box! If it had been anyone but you, I would have dismissed it as a joke 🙂

      If you are able to keep in touch with family and friends, isn’t it great? Smartphones and the apps are a boon for retired and elderly people for whom moving around to keep in touch might be hard. Also, with children and grandchildren scattered all over the globe, it is a godsend to be in touch. The drawback you have mentioned about FB is its biggest disadvantage as it causes depression among its users more than it brings cheer.

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  6. I can so relate to this post, Zephyr! My brother and cousins are constantly urging me to “be on Whatsapp” so that ‘we can stay in touch’. I have resisted until now, but don’t know how long I can hold out. 🙂

    As a couple of commentors said here- technology isn’t bad in itself, but it’s how we use it that makes it bad/good.

    Of course with all these apps at our fingertips it’s a strong-willed person that can resist! Particularly if he/she is a youngster who has to contend with peer-pressure!

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    1. I have heard of apps for buying and making transactions, but I have also heard that one can make mistakes while flicking the screen and entering digits. That scares me silly! I have so far not even got a smartphone but having seen those who use them, have firm notions about them if and when I get a phone. Wish you all the best in your smartphone quest 🙂

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  7. I didn’t know this: . ‘Now you can stop your parents from prying into your messages,’ it said little knowing that it was talking to a grandmother!’ This is dangerous. They go to any length to sell things!

    Hahaha…I read it on my laptop! I don’t have fb in my smartphone. My son hates fb or whatsapp. After my relatives pestered him (!) he got me/installed whatsapp! I am in FB for the past 6 months or so, but only on laptop! My relative has got so many groups in whatsapp and she keeps on tapping in that all the time. She keeps the phone on the kitchen counter and keeps an eye on it for the blinkers. Her husband hates it. She hasn’t got time for any extra work, she says! One more thing is it displays our ‘whatsapp’ no. alongwith our phone no. in the phone index in our mobile…people start sending messages/videos! It looks like a bug/viral.

    Whoever comes home, they chat half heartedly, keeping an eye on the phone. But we gramble and join the race!

    Very well-written post, Zephyr!

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    1. Your relative lives up to everything I have said in the blog 🙂 The advantage of laptop is that we need to sit at it to do something and when we can’t, we are free to do other things! Look at what we have come to — when the smartphone frees us to do other things, we do them, right? I have heard of a lot of people who have not got WhatsApp on their smartphones and are none the worse for it.

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  8. I am of the firm opinion is nothing is good or bad in itself. It all depends on how we use it. We should have the will & sense to use things to our advantage and be the master than the slave. As regards kids, they mostly start by emulating parents and then their teachers. It is only later that they come under peer pressure. If we have instilled enough values, taught them to think & differentiate between the good, the not so good & the bad and given them the confidence to take decisions based on that, they will take care of themselves.

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    1. Hey Ravi! Good to see you here!

      I agree with you about things being neither good or bad in themselves, which is what I started my post off with 🙂 But the dangers of overuse, inappropriate use and the ease with which it is being misused by the unscrupulous makes one wary. For instance, the youth who was mauled in the Delhi zoo was probably trying to post a selfie with the tiger and the onlookers were busy clicking the encounter. The thing is, being popular on social media is considered the status symbol today and what better than share such images and videos? You have rightly said that children emulate their parents and what do parents do? The link I have shared about a mother and her children amply tells the story, doesn’t it?

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  9. Good for me, I read it from my laptop 🙂

    I agree with all that you have said. Social Media is slowly sucking our time and making us very addictive. I understand the intention to stay in touch with people. But at what frequency? I dont need everyone to know what I’m doing on a minute by minute basis. It does have a lot of benefits when used in moderation. Thats the catch here. I dont understand why people shut off themselves for a Social Media break, so has it come to that extent that people are unable to keep checking what’s going on in others’ lives? A little self discipline is all that is required.

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    1. Indeed it has come to pass that people can’t resist what is being shared and so need to break off, like an addict would need to. Ironically many confess that they didn’t miss it at all, and yet some get back with a vengeance. Of course there are some who begin to restrict their online time after a break since they didn’t miss it! I guess it takes all kind to make the social media networks buzz!

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  10. A thought-provoking post, Zephyr. I loved the forward you shared. I think we need to closely monitor our usage and what we get out of it. Why are we on it? is a question I ask regularly. I think if one is conscious of one’s reasons for being there and is able to take time off without feeling an urge to log in then one is safe. Addiction of any kind is bad. You are right about children. I strictly monitor mine and give them a regulated time to play on their gadgets. Of course, they don’t own phones.

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    1. What a well thought out response! Yes,we need to keep monitoring the reason why we use it and then take a call. But most of us don’t do it or are already addicted to its urgent summons and so are lost! Knowing you, you will be able to not only regulate the use by the kids but also see to it that they benefit out of what use they do with it. Good for them that they don’t have phones of their own 🙂

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  11. Zephyr! Ur spot on in your assessment of smartphone disadvantages affecting the youngsters mainly! The name of the phone says everything isn’t ? BTW I am a smartphone user from the day one! It’s like a thin line which demarcates a social drinker and an alcoholic you will never know when you have become alcoholic. So if you want to beat the smartphone you have to become more smart I think so!!!

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    1. How very true that the line separating use and addiction is thin! It becomes an instinctive thing to respond to a ping. So one mutes it or goes off the network altogether. Can the youth and children do it,no matter how smart they are?

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    1. Thanks for the link, Asha.

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  12. ‘Too much of anything is bad ‘ is true for smartphones too and one needs to learn where to draw the line! I know it is very addictive so where the line is 🙂 … is difficult to define!

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    1. Very true, especially for children and young people who are giving up on other things including physical activities and living a virtual life — literally!

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  13. I’m actually reading from my laptop! 😀
    I think the internet and social media is what you make out of it! If people choose to while their time on it, so be it, but let’s not blame the medium for that!! It’s ridiculous when the same people cursing Facebook are doing so via their status updates on Facebook! 😀

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    1. Exactly what I said, Roshni. Did I sound as if I was blaming the gadget? As for those who curse FB and their addiction, it feels good to be laughing at oneself, doesn’t it? 🙂 As I am saying in practically every reply, this is not just about adults who know how to make the choice, but impressionable minds who don’t think twice before standing on that railway track with a train bearing down on them for that once in a lifetime selfie!

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  14. I use them all but never got addicted to anything and that’s why I only have good things to say about smart phones and their apps. I guess it depends on the person. I usually never get addicted to anything, but husband is addicted to his smart phone all the time. I have to threaten him about throwing his phone to even make him watch TV! He is that addicted.

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    1. Smartphones are addictive. Period. Its very accessibility makes it addictive. For instance, if you are addicted to TV, you need a set, the cable connection and so on. But with a handheld gadget that gets you everything, you don’t have to make any effort, do you? Some might be immune to them, not because they don’t like them, but because they have other and better things to do which they put above the gadget. Of course many use the gadget to do other things than just staying connected too. Like listening to music, reading something and so on. And I reiterate that I acknowledge the usefulness of smartphones as much as the other person, but only am voicing the concern at the way it has begun to intrude into real life.

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  15. grondmaster · · Reply

    When you know much you have to eat to ensure you don’t pig out and get an upset stomach, you’re pretty much safe enough to be left on your own.

    Each of these items – Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, andwhatnot, are just platforms providing different services. Whatsapp is one that gives you the ability to connect with others over your phone, with much more features than what only SMSes can provide.

    My issue with many people – perhaps to an extent to this post too – is that there is a certainty that people tend to take by going to the extreme end of the spectrum, whereas the truth occupies the whole spectrum, and some colours that go beyond it too. I’m one of those guys that doesn’t mind switching off the phone for days together – have in the past, and will do in the coming weeks – but I also like the lightweight expectation-free model of keeping in touch that the phone provides.

    And these ‘Good Morning!’ messages (seriously – I think there’s an industry bankrolled by Whatsapp that solely creates hundreds of such ‘Good Morning!’ messages and images that you’ll get a dozen a day but no repeats, ever) and forwards and jokes are there as just the side effects of being able to stay in touch. I don’t mind them. I just mute the groups that keep sending such messages, and at times they do bring a smile to my face when I’m going through a tough day.

    My mother and her sisters talk to each other once a week or so, even though one of them is in the US. Us cousins stayed in touch for a while via emails and online chats, but only to the level that was a thin line between trying to stay in touch and getting bored with slow internet speeds. Once that level was breached, and our lives drew apart, we lost touch. If your lives are poles apart without any common ground, how many times can you survive with phone calls going “Hey! How’s life? Cool! Me too, same old same old. You say, what’s new?” et al. To the extent that we even forgot to update each others’ email IDs and phone numbers.

    One cousin then created a Whatsapp group for all of us, the spouses for those who were married, and the kids & parents who had Whatsapp installed. It has become a platform to stay in touch without the heaviness of actually planning a chat or a phone call. Whatsapp provides a response: Hey, if there’s an update in my life, I’ll just post it here: everyone’s gonna get it, and nobody’ll feel left out complaining we didn’t tell them. And they’ll do the same too, so I won’t feel left out either!

    And when you have organized two reunions with your schoolmates over Whatsapp after nearly 16 years of meeting some of them; or arrange a reunion of four generations of your family (except those out of the country); then you tend to smile through the irritations and happily let it reside in one corner of your phone.

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    1. I never denied the good things that have emerged out of these apps and the smartphone itself. WhatsApp as it was designed was to let people keep in touch. Since the app lets one know if the message has been seen, it can create some misunderstandings if someone is not responding to some share. Anyone who is in a group would admit that it becomes a little demanding after some time. But as a means of keeping in touch, it is invaluable for the older generation more than anyone else. The reason being the ease of operation and convenience as my friend, whom I have quoted in the post said. I personally feel that constant communication can also begin to grate after some time.

      I started the post as a personal one but ended up making it a feature — mainly because of the way the smartphone is used to intrude on the privacy of people and the way it is turning young children into couch potatoes with a know-it-all attitude just because they know how to access information and lastly and not less importantly, the selfie craze that is turning people,notably youth into narcissistic social media fiends who would stop at nothing for a few likes. I have seen children turn away from real people to work their phones and chat with virtual people. This is not about discerning adults who know how and when to say ‘enough,’ but about kids six and seven years old who don’t know or don’t want to. And if in my effort I took an extreme view, I am sorry, but no sorry 🙂

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      1. grondmaster · · Reply

        So you replied to this at a time when I had already turned off my laptop for a fortnight, and the internet connection to the phone was patchy at best. It was only today that I saw the unread notificiations button on the WordPress toolbar that I realised you’d replied to my comment.

        While WhatsApp doesn’t notify you exactly whether someone has read your message or not (it only shows you that the message was delivered to the recepient’s phone, and when was the last they accessed WhatsApp, from where you can work out whether they’re read your message or not) I can understand the apprehensions arising from continuous notifications about everyone’s every single social activity. I personally feel that the fear of not getting replies to your posts is quite unjustified. You yourself may not be replying to every notification you get, so why do you expect others to? They too suffer from the same malaise of too many notifications that you do.

        On selfies and being stuck to the phone, I completely agree with your thoughts – these ideas should be hung, drawn and quartered before being banished from the solar system thoroughly. I have to honk, halt, and shout before girls wearing earphones and on their phones in the middle of the road will move to let my vehicle through. Utter waste of time, energy, effort, and life. And this is just one example of my irritation with them.

        On today’s children, though, I have a view that they have to be governed with a stern but kind hand – even without the exposure that any electronic device (be it their parents’ phones, tablets, or even the TV or somesuch) provides them, there is a foolhardiness that they are perhaps born with that is creating mini-monsters as far as their attitude is concerned. This ‘snark’iness is inbuilt, you cannot avoid it, but as parents we will have to overcome it with a moral upbringing. Electronic devices only expand upon these attitudes, and given the support that they provide, no wonder kids are drawn to them like moths to firefiles.

        My nephew – a cousin’s son – hates me. He’s 4, and likes to be the centre of the discussion. When he’s not, he’ll throw a tantrum. If he throws a large enough one, his father will put him in a separate room with a screen showing his favorite film. But that’s not enough, he’ll still be attention hungry at the end of that hour. I scolded him once, which led to his grandfather – my uncle – scolding me. My uncle’s strongest belief is that kids should only cry when they’re hungry or hurt. I disagree. They should learn the meaning of the word ‘NO’, and also learn limits. Because if they get to believe that throwing tantrums is a shortcut to getting everything they want, what will be the result when they first realise that the world is not accommodating as their parents or as indulgent as their grandparents? So I keep scolding my nephew, threatening him with punishment if he doesn’t stop his antics, and follow through with my threat. Now he refuses to come home, because mine is the only house where he can be made to shut up, which he does not like. And I have seen quite a few kids his age to realise this is a wide-spread malaise.

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  16. I belong with you here Zephyr! With my nature being what it is, I find Facebook detrimental – Whatsapp would probably render me a total vegetable. I am one of those one-thing-at-a-time types and, for the period when the attraction of FB verged on addiction, I found myself not reading, reluctant to travel and not in touch with my real-life friends and family who are not on the NET in any manner. In short, I found that I had sort of put my life on hold while on FB and it bid fair to become my permanent state 🙂 I have weaned myself of that addiction, without totally giving up on FB, but I am chary of adding other things to the list – Twitter, Whatsapp, what-have-you. 🙂

    Yes – I do think that all tech has its uses and I know the argument that it is for the user to keep usage at levels which are not harmful. For me, such has always begged the question – if something is habit-forming, how right is the argument that the addict is solely responsible for the addiction? In other words, does someone advocate the usage of Morphine as a pain-killer, knowing its habit-forming properties, and, then, argue that it is for the user to ride the habit? The question is, then, whether these social media apps are akin to morphine in a.habit-forming nature and b.deleterious effects of forming the habit.

    Far be it from me to say that it is one way or the other – but I certainly think that the information on whether they are or are not is necessary.

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    1. You talk of FB and other social media. For me, even blogging, reading and replying to comments,reading other blogs and commenting — had all become a strain to my eye and brain. I never became too engrossed in other social networks and so there was no question of reducing or giving them up. As a discerning adult you took a step and regulated your online time, but what about children who are given a smartphone by their doting parents and who preen at their ‘smartness’? As Anu has pointed out, even when the parent tries to make them take up other activities, peer pressure wins over. This medium is fraught with dangers of stalking and hacking and they can become unwitting targets. I loved your analogy of morphine though we can’t really compare the two. While one might be medically prescribed this is just means of communication which is being misused. What is more, it is easily available and easier to use.

      And I am still baffled by the question: do we need to be connected all the time, even with loved ones? Don’t they, don’t we need the space from time to time? If real life proximity begins grating, how long before virtual proximity begins to grate too?

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      1. Just to clarify – I used morphine to underscore the fact that a necessary end may be achieved by a habit-forming means; and, if it is recognized that the means is habit-forming and deleterious, we try to find alternatives if possible, and do not use the fact that the end is necessary to justify the means that we use. The analogy was only for that limited purpose AND also to say that if something IS habit-forming for a significant proportion of people, we do not brush aside the need to find a solution on the grounds that ‘It is YOU who are misusing it’ 🙂 SO there our thinking parallels each other. 🙂

        AND, yes, tell me about space 🙂 I did not since I am, by nature, an introvert and require far more space than ordinary mortals do 🙂

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        1. I know exactly what you meant, Suresh. And space is what we all need in any relationship, no matter how close or casual. And even extroverts need it as well as ordinary mortals and introverts. Being connected all the time certainly robs us of this space to some/great extent. As shown in the Volkswagen video, it is an involuntary reaction to glance at the screen the moment there is a ping and if it is deemed interesting/important one is compelled to respond and therein lies the malaise.

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  17. I have mixed feelings about this post, BM. While I agree with you on some of the things, I beg to differ on some. These are nothing but addictions which do not have rehabs. I have been off FB only once and never been so fervent. May be people who are not so active may think me as fervent on FB. But whatsapp, trust me has become so addictive…Esp with groups…there was a time when I hid my cell phone in the desk so that I can concentrate on my work. Sharing and all, I don’t bother much to share. Kids on smart phones just gets on my nerves. Why blame them anyway? When parents are buy these fancy shiny gadgets and if they don’t let them touch it, how fair is it? So we are only teaching them. 😛 Last summer, Ammu would snatch anyone’s cell ph and sit behind a sofa or any corner and start playing a game called ‘Temple Run’. I still wonder where this connect has come from. I still think I am keeping in touch…No??

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    1. So you agree that WhatsApp groups are addictive? Well, it can create more trauma than ‘connections’ because when one abstains, there is speculation about the reason and so on. I am told that one can find out if the message has been seen by the person too which adds to the compulsion to respond. Hope Ammu has outgrown the temple run game 🙂 And yes dear, you keep in touch 🙂

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  18. Everything you pointed out is sadly true but keeping up with the times is what we all end up doing 😦
    And recently I pushed my 80 plus Father into WhatApp and he has not complaint so far.

    But sadly technology seems to be swallowing us and leaving us with less connection in person but more virtually. It will have it’s repercussions very soon and then maybe we shall force ourselves to get off this tiger.

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    1. The elderly are the best customers for this gadget, Asha. I have mentioned it in the post too. They and those who are not very mobile have the world in their palms and can keep in touch with everything and everyone. It is a wonderful boon for them. No wonder your father is happy 🙂 As for keeping up with the times, I will eventually have to get one too because the older models are discontinued by the companies and the kids want their parents to have the best. But I am certain I will not have the apps if I can help it. And yes, let us hope we can safely dismount the tiger when we have to. And also hoping that our children are spared too much trauma of de addiction.

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  19. Hit the nail on the head, as usual, zephyr!!! I am reading and commenting from my tab, and struggling with auto correct as I type. I plead guilty to using all the apps u mentioned and a getting increasingly aware that I am addicted to them even as I give lame excuses to myself that I am only on all these for the blog. Something my son doesn’t hesitate to point out every time he wants the tab or comp to play with!

    But then, at least I still use it to read and keep in touch with people..yes,keep in touch,not just connect, on which point I completely agree with u. But I am more worried about samhith and his generation which can’t seem to exist without these gadgets and apps. They hardly play out these days and when I push him out, he comes back with a couple of others who want to play at home!

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    1. This is precisely what worries me — the children getting addicted and unable to shake it off. Of course not all children are alike, but still it is a matter of peer pressure isn’t it? And no matter what we say or do, we seem to be hooked to this latest technology. Checking up on what is happening, whether on the blog or our network seems to be so fascinating! I am so glad you use the gadget to keep in touch. I know, Anu 🙂

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  20. It may help you or make you an addict, depends on the person..I use everything but not addicted to anything…two things you have mentioned which I also feel very strongly about are..6-8 yrs old using smart phones and voyeurism…and to some extent selfies too..they are all cons of using gadzets..

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    1. As I told in an earlier reply, as adults we can choose what we do and even know the limits, but children using the devices indiscriminately can be dangerous, not only to their own safety but to the detriment of their activities including studies. Yes, there are pros and cons but the cons seem to be gaining ground.

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  21. I succumbed and joined the whatsapp brigade when my father was in the hospital and me and my brother had to consult each other on the best course of action. I ama ctive still because my phone bills have reduced. I just whatsapp my queries 🙂
    I met someone online after many years and he sent a message saying it will be nice to sync with you. I spent days and nights sweating,…..thinking whether it had been right to befriend him 😛

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    1. WhatsApp is indeed a boon to those who really want and need to keep in touch. But when it becomes more of a habit that eats into the time and energy it is indeed a time waster and can turn us into junkies of a sort. Recent stories of photographing someone without their knowledge and misusing the pictures and stealing photos from one’s FB and blog pages are all scary to say the least. and yes, I would have sweated too if I had got a message like that 🙂 Hope you were able to fend him off!

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  22. Well, everything has its pros and cons. While it gives me the freedom to read posts wherever I am, managing my time effectively, it many a times kills the time too when I wrap myself up in useless updates and WhatsApp messages. I think keeping in touch has been taken out of context.

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    1. As adults we can choose what we want or not to do. But the addiction among children and impressionable youth who try to post daring and dangerous selfies is worrisome. This invention, to my mind panders to the ego more than anything else to prompt them to do these things. So many likes and friends can be a heady thing and being in the limelight is a potent drug too. If used judiciously, it is indeed a worthy invention much suited to the times we live in.

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      1. I agree Zephyr. For kids, it is certainly something that can easily turn into addiction.

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  23. Irony! I read this on my smartphone, shared, liked and tweeted the link all on the move.
    But I get your point. Being in touch and in contact are 2 very different things like you articulated.

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    1. After reading your comment, I added a line at the end of the post 😀 We are so connected these days that we have lost touch with each other 😦

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  24. Zephyr, it isnt just smart phones, and “redefining” “keeping-in-touch”. Not very subtly, we today ape things that mindlessly excite the west. I can sense an angry post developing within. Let me rush and write one , and get it all off ……

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    1. Do write and get is all off, Suranga. Your posts pull no punches and I love them 🙂 It is not just aping the west, but about showcasing yourself to the world often at a terrible price as happened to those youths trying to post a selfie against the backdrop of a rushing train. Why is life being defined by likes and followers?

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  25. I read this post and watched the video, all without any interruption! But, I’m not a Facebook or WhatsApp addict.

    Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. are certainly useful means of communication. Unfortunately, they are overused and misused too much.

    Overuse or misuse of anything is bad. For example, milk is generally good for health, but excessive consumption is bad.

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    1. I agree completely as I have said in my post that these are invaluable in many situations as well as providing company for the lonely and the elderly. But the harmful effects, especially on children is either being downplayed or just being glossed over, not to speak of the frenzy and perversion that these networks encourage. Though it doesn’t affect everyone, the number of those impressionable minds they affect is growing alarmingly. And why make information and awareness synonymous with knowledge and intelligence? These are my main concerns.

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  26. I have not installed WhatApp/Facebook on my mobile because there is no better time waster than social networks.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Well said DI. It is better not to mount the tiger than try to get off.

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