Why today’s youth, the digital natives with greater connectivity to the world than ever stand to be the loneliest of the lot?
Today’s youth is growing up in a technologically advanced world where advancements in social media, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things are integrating into their daily lives -- and at a speed that’s never been seen before. These advancements, however, have been accompanied by evils such as violation of privacy, inappropriate sexual behavior, cyberbullying, identity theft/fraud, and diminishing real-life human interaction. Technology has opened a Pandora's Box that won't be closing anytime soon. The props popping out of this box are both empowering and degenerating. While the good things- Greater connectivity, expanding opportunities, new platforms to the budding voices are featured in every marketing tagline, little do we talk about the paradox created by this empowerment. The article is directed to uncover this exact paradox and the solution that lies in this very box.
The skyrocketing technological advancements are all directed towards serving one goal- facilitating instant gratification to its users. From 30 mins food deliveries to expressing love with an emoji, the Internet is perpetuating the mindset of immediate satisfaction into today’s youth. The only downside is that unlike the home screen of a smartphone, there are no shortcuts to life. Arduous labor and failures are a part of anyone’s struggle for success. When today’s young minds that are ingrained with instant gratification experience a setback, a challenge or when things don’t go their way, they are instantly disheartened. It demolishes their confidence, often making them a victim of anxiety disorders and depression. Whereas, if they grow up realizing that success demands patience and continued efforts, they are likely to be better prepared for the app of Life.
Technology may be connecting today’s youth to the unknown but it's also alienating them from their innate curiosity. With all answers available with a quick google search, whenever these young minds are exposed to uncertainties of life, their coping mechanism often concludes into denial or worse distractions. Their limited familiarisation of the web that they so blindly rely on hinders them from acquiring those social abilities and problem-solving skills that can only be acquired by experiencing new things, making personal relationships, encountering tangible issues and so on.
“We all connected yet everyone is alone.” The social interactions of today’s youth demonstrate this statement perfectly. They live in a world of hundreds of Facebook friends and millions of followers, yet suffer in isolation more than any previous generation. Technology has created a whole new reality through the virtual web where expressions get transformed into emojis and love into the number of likes. As a result, these digital natives get detracted from acquiring any real-life interactive skills and self-confidence to socially interact in reality. For many in this lot, the tale often ends into depression, social anxiety, and even suicide.
The solution to all these problems is not to eliminate the web or mobile apps but to empower the youth by teaching them how to use it. By tagging today’s youth as digital natives and not monitoring the information that’s fed to them, parents often forget that they might need guidance on how to process this information or question the credibility of information that swarms around them. Involving the youth in fun hands-on projects or community programs amongst other real-life activities can be a good start to achieve world-web balance. If the youth receives enough support and familial engagement, they are less likely to seek emoji validation.
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