Social Media – An effective medium ?

In conversation with Author Rakhi Kapoor

by Subhechcha Ganguly
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According to a survey by a regional daily the increase in people using social media has increased drastically in the past year .In 2022 ,the average a person used to spend on social media was 3 hours a day .Now 70% of the population uses social media upto 7 hours a day .Let’s talk to Author Rakhi Kapoor on the topic “Social Media – An effective medium ?”

Q1) Do you feel small children getting addicted to phones nowadays are causing a harm to them ?

Yes, It is a matter of concern. Children already have a short attention span hence when they watch short videos, quickly search for different content and abandon the current content they are watching they only compromise their attention holding capacity further. This will lead to difficulty in continuously reading, writing or following the content which is being taught in the class by the teacher.While using a smart phone children watch more visual content than written ones. This again hinders their reading and vocabulary building capacity. Let’s not forget the strain that is caused to their eyes due to prolonged usage of the smart phone and other gadgets.

 

Spending too much time with a smart phone also affects the interpersonal  skills and personality development of a child. Children should be interacting with other children and adults to develop their social skills. Small children spending more time with gadgets will make the socially inadept which is a grave matter of concern. Gadgets can be manipulated, muted, discarded at will and fancy but human interactions are not the same. The more time children send with gadgets they will tend to use their human counterparts in a similar fashion.Parents should limit the time their children spend with gadgets. Make sure the children watch age appropriate content. I wish they could replace the gadget in the hands of their children with books.  Reading a book instead of watching videos on smart phones will increase the children’s attention span and imaginative capacity.

Q2) We see a very common phenomenon nowadays. Even when we are sitting in a room with 5-6 people , almost everyone is into their phones ! What do you think has caused this habit?

 

The smart phones and gadgets were becoming an undeniable part of human civilisation. The Covid 19 disease only expediated the whole phenomenon. Now the smart phones are an integral part of our lives. People are reading, learning and working using their smart phones. The social distancing from other humans has got the common man hooked to gadgets even more.Hence yes people sitting in a room are more engrossed with their phones reading, working, submitting assignments or  learning with the help of their smart phones , lets not forget to address the elephant in the room “ Social Media” ; instead of interacting with each other.

 

Q3) What according to you can be done by the youth to ensure proper usage of social media?

1.The youth could do some introspection about which are their needs which get fulfilled by social media. Any individual turns towards anything to fulfil certain needs of theirs. If certain needs can be satiated from sources other than social media then it would be a good idea to explore those.

 

  1. Young adults and children should limit the time and have a schedule for the time they spend time on social media, just like they have a schedule and routine for various things in their daily life.

 

  1. Youth can engage in activities which can distract them from social media like sports, hobbies, meeting a peer group, community service etc.

 

Q4) Do you feel somewhere or the other parents are a factor who needs to be blamed for social media addiction ?

 

Children are constantly observing their parents. They get influenced by their family. The culture and condition of the family moulds their habits and mindsets. Children do exactly what they observe their parents do and not what their parents ask of them. If there is the family culture of the parents continuously using the smart phones and being on social media the children will do the same. The parents will tend to discuss what ever happens on their social media handles with the children spontaneously which will make the children become more curious and interested in Social media. One of the greatest influence that I have had in my life was that my father was an avid reader, hence I picked up the habit of reading which now is followed by my son. He is a young adult who spends time on social media and also reads voraciously. Hence the time spent on social media is limited.

 

Q5) “Several hobbies like reading books , outdoor activities can curb social media addiction to a limit “. How do you think youth can be inspired to take up such activities ?

 

This will follow suit the previous question parental and peer influence, institutional rules will help  influence children to take up more of outdoor activities and hobbies. If in a child’s surroundings (be it the family and friends and the school )encourage, set examples and ground rules then a child will take up to exploring their talents , have hobbies and play sport instead of spending time on social media endlessly.

 

Q6) Finally what is your take on this entire topic.

This disbalance between the real and virtual life happens when people spend time on social media to seek gratification and validation. When social media is used for business, promotional ,social or any other means with a purpose or cause then a healthy balance can still be maintained. Its only when young children and teenagers get disconnected from the real world because of loneliness, neglect, negligent parenting and self-esteem issues they lose this balance and drown in to the world of the virtual social media .  A world where friendships are not real, exposure to trolling and verbal abuse is high and seeking false gratification by the number of likes and comments dictates an individual’s self-worth. So when it comes to children getting addicted to social media parents, the society and various social media handles need to become responsible with their policies.

 

Blaming children alone and creating a hue and cry without the various authorities taking accountability is futile. I urge the parents to show the children the path by being role models. I pray that the educational institutions take responsibility and set rules to help the children use the gadgets more efficiently for academic purpose. I wish that the law makers of every nation intervene and monitor social media handles with their user restrictions and permission setting making it age appropriate.

 

Only a collective effort will help in making Social media and effective medium.

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