Opinion | In The Era of Screens | Nasreen Iqbal

Screen addiction is a new drug . It is weakening our youth, like termite decays wood, from inside. It would not be wrong to say that television sets on our walls and mobile phones in our hands, are reducing us from conscious beings to unconscious one. It is because now we no more rely on facts, but what media is throwing at us, through various mediums. We are exposed into a realm of opinions, many a times false opinions. Our institutions are  producing the kind of students who don’t want to read the text, as online educational sites are providing them enough material to jump from one class to the next.

Nasreen Iqbal

19th century replaced human labour by machines. Science with its consistent efforts, is on its full verge, to unburden the mental labour in the 21st century. "Cogito, Ergo Sum" is a Latin philosophy propounded by Rene Descartes, which means, "I think, therefore I am". If we apply this phrase in contemporary era then how many of us really think of our existence? It seems too scary to say it. Perhaps we are submitting our existence to the screens. While eating , talking, travelling, greeting our colleagues, or in our day to day activities, abandoning mobile phones for a single second is a hard task. Youth is slipping into the mirage of virtual illusions. Most of the people’s concentration around us is deeply embedded on their phones.

Once upon a time it was said that the “technology is a boon to the mankind”. However, now is the time to reconsider this dictum. The 'technology' has totally a twisted function in this post modern era. It was around nineteen’s or twenties when small children looked for outdoor games like hide and seek, rope pulling, running and indoor games such as Caremboard, Chess, Snake board etc. These games helped them to communicate with their friends in real, as persons. Android phones, contrarily, have become more good friends to the children of this era, than their class friends and neighbours. Now a days they share their narcissistic addiction by posting a picture of their recent activity, on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter where their acquaintances press variety of emojis to impress the false reality hidden inside the lens.

As children are innocent beings, we should consider it our collective responsibility to
introduce the upright use of technology in their lives. Recently, a game, Player Unknown’s Battleground, popularly known by its acronym PUBG, shocked the parents and teachers because children delayed their studies and showed up poor results while at the same time they also lost their mental health.  

This online game led to insomnia and depression among many youngsters. A trainer in Jammu, for instance, fell seriously unconscious to the point that doctor said it was the result of the PUBG.
Plato once said we imitate the ideal world. He believed that there exists a pure form of everything which we copy on this imperfect world. In this age of screens, we are translating the copies in digital space with a flux of numerous links. This web of links is known as hyperlink. We have transformed our whole energy into this cyber space. A person when navigates through this labyrinthine of links, gets lost into this and becomes an active member of hyperspace. In these links flow an excessive amount of information due to which a reader follows random pages after pages with no results at the end.  Like Plato’s copy, Images on the screen are the simulations of real world. We are moving away from our own self without noticing its consequences. There is too much emphasis on the use of Artificial Intelligence in order to control the flow of data and information. It is assumed that Artificial Intelligence will replace human intelligence. Are we really preparing for our own destruction by giving ourselves into the hands of Mobile phones, machines and robots ?

No doubt, technology serves us and eases the manual labour. But following technology blindly, is equal to digging one’s own grave. Jean Baudrilard, a French philosopher opined, that “ the sad thing about artificial intelligence is that it lacks artifice and therefore intelligence.” A linear pathway is required to adjust the habit of using technology. Cyborg is a Post Structuralist kind of thing which has no centre and hence  
multipath ways.

Each one of us has adopted Digital Culture in our lives. Indeed , growth and development of technology are the important assets of human life but they should not be carried out at the cost of health. Screens can never nourish our souls and bellies.

About the Author: Nasreen Iqbal is an M.A in English Literature from Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra.

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