By Samrudhi Khanna
Edited by Liz Maria Kuriakose, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist
The tranquility and serenity of early morning, like the chirping of the birds, cooing of the hens, radiant sunrays, millions of pearl-like dew drops are now replaced by the unnerving noises of an alarm clock, weird ringtones of phones, message notifications etc. Our world has turned into an infinite digital canvas today. Digits are not just digits anymore but they are the basic building blocks of the modern lifestyle.
The present generation is so accustomed to cyberspace that they are on the verge of creating a new section of humans known as digital natives. The digital era started roughly in the latter part of the 20th century and has developed tremendously since then. It is developing at this very instant. This generation of digital natives has dozens of online profiles and avatars. Life has become completely materialistic in this era of tech crazy beings. It has changed the terms of living which had been followed for centuries. Financial status has become synonymous to the variety of expensive gadgets one owns while social status is completely dependent on friends and followers on social networking sites.
Early inventions like steam engines, a telephone, a television or an aero plane increased not only the awareness but also connectivity among people. As time flew by, these inventions were modified. New and improved modifications made life very easy. Not a single child born in the 21st century has ever walked to a television to change the channel or inserted a coin in a payphone. After the advent of the internet, ‘the mighty computer’ has become ‘the almighty computer’. Tasks which would take weeks or even months to execute are now completed within a fraction of seconds. Information is at our doorstep and the digitized generation makes the most of it – they bask in the glory of it! Three words have become an integral part of this generation-‘WORLD WIDE WEB’. Online shopping, tele-booking, connectivity, trading, e-banking, e-mails are just a click away and have brought the world closer.
Generation Next is so hypnotized with the digitization around it that everyone wants to contribute something new to it. Acclaimed personalities like Tolstoy, Gandhi and Picasso etc; who have mentored many generations are now being replaced by tech founders such as Late Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates etc. Pre-teens, teenagers, adults are mesmerized by I-pod, I-phone, I-pad.
Education has a very different meaning for digitized generation. For them, education is no more limited to the pages of the books. Old institutions are crumbling and there is a need for proper enlightenment and a positive guide to reality. Libraries are no longer occupied by avid readers like they used to be because now there are interesting means of entertainment like video games, watching videos online, online games and a plethora of other things easily accessible online. In fact I have come across many instances where libraries and book stores have shut down due to the lack of readers and declining business. Digitized generation has got everything at its doorstep. For them school projects no longer mean to gather information and research it using books but to find it online and copy + paste.. In fact, an elite school in Mumbai has made it mandatory for students to study using an I-pad. – Digitized indeed!
But digitization is not all about its merits. As every coin has two sides, digitization has its demerits as well. Prolonged exposure to electronic gadgets leads to harmful reactions on eyes and brains. Lack of movement and exercises due to easy availability might lead to obesity. The most important demerit is that this generation is pays no attention to the long-followed traditions. They prefer staying at home and playing video-games rather than going for a stroll. Even when going for a stroll they are glued to their gadgets. Reading novels during leisure times is not considered as a pleasurable activity anymore but a boring one. Digital natives are missing out on cult classics such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Gone With The Wind’ and several others by choosing to spend their time by playing reckless video games like Counter-Strike, World of Warcraft and others.
Parents play an integral role in digitization of the world. They gift their kids with expensive gadgets at a very tender age. As a result, they find it difficult to keep them away from electronic gadgets and kids get spoilt, stubborn and lazy from a very early age.
We are living in an era where every aspect evolves continuously like the economy, technology etc. Technology is spreading its wings in every arena. For Math, we have calculators, for accounting, we have TALLY software (not ledger books anymore), and for reading, we have e-books. Those times have become a distant memory when one dreamt of being the vivacious Elizabeth Bennet, the chivalrous Fitzwilliam Darcy, the ever so daring Scarlet O’ Hara or the die-hard romantic Romeo. All one dreams about now is of being like Lara Croft or Max Payne. There is technology in everything, even in music. Heavy metal music and electronic musical instruments easily portray this shift from simplicity to technology. The sweet compositions of the majestic Mozart are now replaced by the heavy metal music of Metallica.
Downloading, texting, multiplayer games, Youtube have become the daily routine of our youth in the society. Small pleasures of life like lying down on mother’s lap or preparing a meal find no place in a youth’s life today. They are living an easy and comfortable life but one which is materialistic and lacks the warmth or satisfaction of liveliness. Digitization is at its peak and the youth is no longer scared of goofy ghost tales rather of an alien invasion.
Samrudhi is pursuing Financial Markets at Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai. Besides financial markets, her interests are writing, literature and dancing. Reading is second nature to her – classis literature, Austen, Archer, Bronte sisters and Sheldon are her loyal friends! Writing is another thing she takes great pleasure in and economics, current affairs, polictics are her favorite topics. Having a complete aversion to all types of social networking mediums, you can get in touch with her only through her email: [email protected]!