Be­ware! Overde­pen­dence on your lap­top, PC or cell phone could in­ter­fere with your learn­ing abil­i­ties and con­cen­tra­tion, warns Proy­ashi Barua

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page -

From time im­memo­rial vi­sion­ar­ies in the field of ed­u­ca­tion have broadly main­tained that the real worth of aca­demics is al­ways mea­sured in real life set­tings and prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion.

“For this, a stu­dent can­not merely as­sim­i­late and re­pro­duce in­for­ma­tion. In­stead, he/she should an­a­lyse, ex­am­ine and ques­tion the rel­e­vance of the­o­ries and con­cepts in the con­text of the com­plex and con­stantly chang­ing dy­nam­ics of real world chal­lenges. For in­stance, along with the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge, a good en­gi­neer should have in­sight and ac­u­men to tackle an ex­ist­ing engi­neer­ing chal­lenge through an in­no­va­tive and con­tem­po­rary ap­proach,” says Ashish Luthra, a psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­lor and well­ness ther­a­pist. Ac­cord­ing to Luthra, anal­y­sis and re­flec­tion stem from an in­nate cog­ni­tive process, which is con­cen­tra­tion. “To­day, most students who come to me for coun­selling have one prob­lem in com­mon The Na­tional Life Skills Ed­u­ca­tion and School Well­ness Pro­gramme, con­ducted by Ex­pres­sions In­dia, out­lines the pit­falls of cy­ber ad­dic­tion

Cy­ber ad­dic­tion can make one so­cially dys­func­tional

Ex­treme ad­dic­tion can even in­ter­fere with ev­ery­day rou­tines in terms of eat­ing, sleep­ing and self hy­giene

A sud­den break­ing away from — lack of con­cen­tra­tion. And in nearly 90% of the cases con­cen­tra­tion and at­ten­tion deficit is at­trib­uted to ob­ses­sion with tech­ni­cal gad­gets,” he re­veals.

Agree­ing to this, SL Ma­lik, pro­fes­sor, an­thro­pol­ogy depart­ment, Delhi Univer­sity, says, “The ob­ses­sion goes be­yond the ubiq­ui­tous cell­phone. To­day, students not only take the lib­erty of send­ing and re­ceiv­ing text mes­sages while in class. Many of them stealth­ily con­nect to their iPhones, iPads and iPods while lec­tures are on.” the ad­dic­tion can lead to se­ri­ous with­drawal symp­toms

Cy­ber ad­dic­tion can cre­ate a dis­con­nect be­tween the real and vir­tual self Reme­dies:

Ev­ery school should have guide­lines for on­line con­duct and ap­pro­pri­ate use of gad­gets

Students should be ap­prised about the dan­gers of cy­ber crime through ori­en­ta­tion ses­sions

A Delhi-based clin­i­cal and de ad­dic­tion coun­sel­lor, Neil Paul, draws at­ten­tion to an­other alarm­ing re­al­ity of gad­get ad­dic­tion. “Many students com­pete with their class­mates and peers in terms of own­ing the lat­est and most so­phis­ti­cated gad­gets. Sadly enough, these gad­gets are be­com­ing sta­tus sym­bols among them. Need­less to say, among other things, this trans­lates to un­nec­es­sary and un­fair eco­nomic pres­sure on par­ents and is the cause of many a child-par­ent con­flict,” says Paul.

Ad­dic­tion to gad­gets is not just re­stricted to col­lege students. Even school chil­dren are prey to this prob­lem. Paul ob­serves that while not many chil­dren have cell­phones, a ma­jor­ity of them, par­tic­u­larly in the metropoli­tan cities, have reg­u­lar ac­cess to the in­ter­net as they ei­ther have a per­sonal com­puter or lap­top at home. “Ad­dic­tion at the school­go­ing stage is par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous. It is in this stage of life when chil­dren de­velop their in­ter­per­sonal skills, sense of so­cial be­long­ing and team­work. Ad­dic­tion and ob­ses­sion with tech­ni­cal gad­gets of­ten re­sults in ex­clu­sion from group ac­tiv­i­ties and team­work and hence is detri­men­tal to the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the child. What hap­pens if you live for one day with­out your cell phone?

Also, in ex­treme cases, this ob­ses­sion can se­ri­ously mar the in­nate ca­pac­ity of a child to learn. This is not just be­cause gad­gets in­ter­fere with con­cen­tra­tion. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that child­hood is the time when mo­tor skills are de­vel­oped. Un­for­tu­nately, most chil­dren to­day do not en­joy mak­ing lit­tle things with their hands sim­ply be­cause they are so fas­ci­nated cre­at­ing vir­tual things (at the click of a but­ton) on­line,” ex­plains Luthra.

Coun­sel­lors, aca­demi­cians and par­ents agree that while both school and col­lege-go­ing chil­dren need to be con­ver­sant with tech­nol­ogy in or­der to lever­age it as a healthy aid for learn­ing and so­cial­is­ing, they should not be de­pen­dent on them. “Teach­ers on their part should try and en­gage students in projects and ac­tiv­i­ties that gauge their cre­ative, mo­tor, or­gan­i­sa­tional and team­work skills. Home­work and hol­i­day as­sign­ments should fo­cus on gaug­ing the orig­i­nal­ity of thought and be such that they can be done with­out any tech­ni­cal aid. Par­ents on their part should en­cour­age chil­dren to play in­ter­ac­tive games like carom, ludo and chess and an­a­lyse and dis­cuss af­fairs of na­tional and top­i­cal im­por­tance. Most im­por­tantly, they should in­volve chil­dren in ac­tiv­i­ties that re­quire their or­gan­i­sa­tional and mo­tor skills. Run­ning er­rands, gar­den­ing and ar­rang­ing pic­nics and get-to­geth­ers with friends are some ex­am­ples," says Jy­oti Bham­bri, mother of two chil­dren aged 18 and seven.



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