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Father, Son and the Holy mobile – Digital Wellness

By: Dr. Jawahar Surisetti


It’s not gender-specific and it could be Mother, daughter and the holy mobile either. As mobile technology takes the world by storm, the shape of family and relationships have changed. When the TV revolution started we said that the family circle has become a semi-circle. With mobiles, the family has taken to corners. Each member occupying a corner. We will need to delve deeper and understand the larger meaning of the effects of the mobile revolution.

It’s a well-known fact that teens spend a lot of time on their mobiles. But there is no point to make them the bad boys. Their parents are equally addicted. Some habits that can affect digital wellness of the teens, as well as parents, are : 29% of teens sleep with their mobile on their bed and 12% of parents to do the same. 36% of teens and 26% of parents check their mobiles at least once during the night As against 28% of teens in 2016, 39% of teens in 2019 believe that their parents spend too much time on their mobiles As against 66% of parents in 2016, 68% of parents in 2019 believe that their teen children are spending too much time in their mobiles As against 51% of parents in 2016, 69% of parents in 2019 feel at least once a day that their teen is distracted by the mobile As against 19% of teens in 2016, 49% of teens in 2019 feel at least once a day that their teen is distracted by the mobile 54% of parents and 58% of teens feel distracted by their mobile at least once in a day As against 15% of parents in 2016, 28% of parents in 2019 feel that Mobile’s have hurt their relationship with their teens So there are a lot of inferences to be drawn from these findings. The rate of addiction to mobiles is growing at a fast rate in both teens as well as parents. The nature of usage is different though but the screen time averages anything between 6 to 9 hours. The second inference is that 55% of parents and 72% of teens deny the fact that their mobile addiction is affecting their relationship with the other. That’s pure denial.

All in all, however much the denial is, there is a serious concern on the digital wellness of both teens and parents and there needs to be a comprehensive solution to this malady. I say digital wellbeing is one of the major needs of the near future to increase healthy teen growth, better relationships at home and greater corporate efficiency.

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Peace within leads to peace everywhere

By: Dr. Jawahar Surisetti

This International Day Of Peace, I wanted to write a piece on the nations and religions and their agenda of peace. But before I could do that, I looked back at my routine and when I could write some lines about peace. To my dismay, I was at a loss of time, caught up in some issues that disturbed me and it was at this point that I thought that if there is no peace within how can there be peace outside. We have all become like this – restless, edgy, impatient, intolerant to small issues and there is a lack of stability in the mind. I was trying to figure out the reasons which might not be very philosophical but closer to life that has made us lose a lot of our inner peace. Social media and mobile phones have made us more restless seeing other people posting things that show them as leading a better life than us. Day in and day out we are exposed to such pictures which makes us feel that we are inferior to others. These so-called friends and ourselves to portray a life that is different than what we leave. We miss this point and start comparing ourselves and sometimes end up blaming our near and dear ones. This pressure to do better than the other has led to extensive consumerism without a thought to our finances.

Competitive consumerism fuelled by social media and our overexposure to them has taken away a part of our inner peace. The second instance is the extent to which we live life is not in proportion to the time that we have. The pace of life we live in is spattered with work and other activities so much so that we have robbed our children out of their childhood. We expect our children to go to school, come back home and complete the homework, go to tuitions, prepare for competitive exams, do some activities like swimming, art or dance. This leaves little time for the child to breathe and enjoy his childhood. We have not only robbed ourselves of our peace but have rubbed it off on our children due to our pseudo aspirations. Thirdly, we have become overly selfish. In a world of nuclear families, we restrict our thoughts to the four or five people and ignore the society at large.

Too much individualism has led to our thinking which is evident at schools that for the adults to work, children should be occupied at school. So we outsource our children to schools and coax them not to have a five day week and have something on Saturday too so that we may find time for us without our children maybe for work or parties. What we have missed is that the school or crèche is not in a position to serve the emotions of a parent that the child needs and expects but does not get. How do we in pursuit of external pleasure put our children into environments that are devoid of emotions and expect them to be at peace? So we have created a world where we are not at peace and we have made sure that our children are not at peace. Money and amenities cannot buy inner peace and happiness for our children not for us. Spend quality time with the family, give back to society and live life at a pace that is comfortable for inner peace. Then we can look for peace in the world.

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Freshness of friendship killed by social media

By: Dr. Jawahar Surisetti

Till today the friends that cherish to meet, there is an emotional connect. After years when we meet, there is still that anxiety to share, know more. There was the fun of writing letters and later emails to them in purist English or any language for that matter and the sweet smell of gummed paper would bring visual images of the days gone by, a 3D projection in our minds of the face of the friend and the emotions would flow. These were moments we would yearn for and do so today. Cut to the present. Social media and a plethora of unproductive apps take over. Letters are passé. Whatsapp and messages are in. The whole sentences and long letters that almost looked like speaking to a friend in the first person have been replaced by short texts devoid of emotion and more so in a language that is distorted, spellings went haywire and sometimes devoid of logic. So if you could write Ok or Okay why do you write Okkie is something that I have failed to understand, at least since the word is longer it is not for convenience. Private conversations with friends were the hallmark of strong bonding. Within a group of friends to there were cliques that would share secrets not known to the whole group. Movie escapades with friends, the incidents of random partying with shoestring budgets, the gossips about boys and girls or the characteristics or mimicry of teachers were all the sparks of friendship that formed long term neuronal connections. Cut to today. The pouts of girls with their friends posted from different locations, the pout remaining the same, form a boring timeline of the person with a strong urge to unfriend and get rid of the timeline from my present. What do you do if a person with the same irritating pout and only the background changing keeps posting one after the other, intruding into your time and space? Social media has created virtual friendships that are based on visuals and not emotions. We are informed but not involved in these friendships hence the longevity of these friendships. I doubt if in future we will have online old friends meeting, online alumni meets and so on. We will miss sitting on the school desks during alumni meets and reminiscing about our times after three or four decades. Have our emotions become prisoners of social media? Are we missing out on great friends and friendships for life? Food for thought

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