It’s up to us to use or misuse the internet; it can either become the ‘Knowledgeable apple’ or the ‘Satan’s apple’!
Being one of the bestselling novelists, I feel social media has a great impact on our lives, especially on the youth. When I finished my debut best-seller novel Till We Meet Again in November 2011, I had been surfing the net for getting the best publishers for my script. I got many rejections in June 2012; but miraculously by August 2012, the novel was published by one of the esteemed publishing houses. Surprisingly, it became a best seller within a fortnight, with a major help from the social media. If I was born three decades back, I would have to wander, looking for some publishers, going door to door to the publishing houses, with the bundles of manuscripts in hand. But, today social media and internet is of great help. One can easily get access from even a remote corner of the world and get connected to the other parts of the world any time easily.
An international survey reported that teenagers spend, on an average, 8.08 hours a day using various forms of media, not including time spent doing school work or talking or texting on a cell phone. This includes television, commercial or self-recorded video, movies, video games, print, radio, recorded music, computers, cell phones, and the Internet. 90 per cent of 13-17-year-olds have used some form of networking sites. 38 per cent of youth share photos, stories, videos and art using social media. Most children are introduced to the Internet/ mobiles while they are in kindergarten or even younger.
Most of the children use computers and the Internet during their toddling ages. From the primary classes itself, they are getting to study ‘computer’ as an individual subject both in the form of theory and practical in their school curriculum. It helps a lot in their upbringing. The internet and social media can easily help us to get connected with different people or experts from various fields to seek advice/ counseling/ guidance from them. They even get much of their academic research material for their projects and assignments. Few decades back one couldn’t even imagine that. Except for shuffling through library shelves one didn’t have much of an option.
An American survey shows that 77 per cent of all 8-18-year-olds have their own cell phone, up from 44 per cent in 2004. Cell phone ownership has increased with age, as 87 per cent of teenagers – 14-17- years-old – now own a cell phone, and 31 per cent of these older teens have smart phones. 46 per cent of 8-18-year-olds report sending an average of 118 texts per day with 7th -12th graders spending an average of an hour and a half a day sending or receiving texts. 63 per cent of all teens exchange text messages everyday with people in their lives — far surpassing all other forms of daily communication, including email, instant messaging, social networking and phone calling. Interactive media, such as video games and the Internet, have even greater potential for positive and negative effects on children’s physical and mental health. Students should be taught the positive and advantageous use of social media/ mobile/ internet and their internet browsing should be monitored by their parents from time to time in order to avoid any ill effects of the social media.
Nowadays, most of the schools have smart classes, and students are connected by internet to get the best educational facilities available. E-care services help not only students but also the parents to let them know about the latest information and notices and also to track their child’s whereabouts; so one can say that the social media/mobile/internet helps to get the world within our grip, provided the students are made to follow the right track to let them get the best educational facilities available all over the world. As a professional writer, I get great help from the internet or smart phone for any research material for my books in less than a second! It’s up to us to use or misuse the internet; it can either become the ‘Knowledgeable apple’ or the ‘Satan’s apple’! YA
(Leema Dhar, who is pursuing Post Graduation in English Literature from Allahabad University, is an accomplished novelist, bi-lingual poet and columnist)