Are you driving, or being driven?
Are you driving, or being driven?
- Hardik Singh Ahuja
What has happened?
It is indeed remarkable how people have quickly adapted to the changes in their daily routine due to Covid-19. The change which would have taken a decade to reflect has been observed in the past ten months. Students are busy in online lectures, government officials are using video calling to mark attendance, programs are being launched through online platforms, etc. It is fascinating to observe all these changes in such a short span of time.
However, I would like you to take a moment and try to think about what we are missing out on.
What are we overlooking?
Theories in evolution and social behavior research have suggested that humans have a natural tendency to connect with people and interact with each other, make social bonds and sustain such relationships as a medium of support, care, affection, and respect. Social interaction has its physiological basis as well, a research by Susan Pinker states that direct person-to-person contact triggers parts of our nervous system that release a “cocktail” of neurotransmitters tasked with regulating our response to stress and anxiety making us well equipped with change. Building positive relationships with people can make a difference in how resilient we are. Additionally, Maslow's Hierarchy of needs positions such as needs on the third-tier, with numerous studies suggesting that social interaction lowers the level of anxiety and frustration. Social isolation has resulted in high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise, and smoking. Eventually increasing chances of neurodegenerative, lifestyle, or psychological disorders.
What is the point?
Technology is powerful. It has the potential to drastically reduce human effort and energy to save manpower and time. Researches have proved that usage and dependence on technology by humans have increased rapidly and it is expected to keep increasing in coming years. It is capable of producing things which people couldn’t have thought about some decades ago. In a diverse population like ours, where 53.5% of the population is living in extreme poverty conditions who need public services, especially those which are essential for a living cannot be delivered online. Also, there is a huge gap between the administrative infrastructure and which needs to be addressed. For example, We cannot just instruct teachers to take online classes. A systematic, comprehensive, and applicable training module should be given to such service providers to bypass challenges such as accessibility, orientation with the software, etc. We all understand that making things “Online” was the only option for us. However, we should understand that in the future this should not become an easy way out of any problem or challenge. Covid-19 is still prevalent and is expected to persist for one more quarter.
What to change?
The purpose of this information is not to make you worried rather to be aware of such circumstances.
It’s always said that a service that becomes free and easily available, becomes open to exploitation. We should refrain from exploiting such resources and follow a disciplined approach to make full benefit of online platforms and progressively as the restrictions in our nearby areas are uplifted, we should move out and try to regain our habit of in-person socializing and establishing contacts.
Mental health experts are constantly worried about the demerits of such dependency but it's our responsibility to be the drivers of technology and not being driven by it. Let’s take control of where we are going and reach where we want to rather than where we are taken.