Gadgets can be classified as labour-saving or amusement devices. Useful as they are, gadgets are increasingly being regarded as instruments of large-scale change in modern society--changes that may not necessarily be regarded as good or desirable.
In the olden days, women had to walk long distances to fetch potable water from a distant water source; now they use municipal water supplied through pipelines. We washed our clothes by hand; now we use the washing machine. We used to climb stairs; now we use the lift. We used to walk, now we depend on mechanised transport. As a message circulating on a popular messaging service put it recently, 'these days, people drive down to the gym to ride the bicycle.'
Today's children are amazed when their parents tell them that they did not have a television until they were in their late teens or doing a school project meant going to the library and doing hours of research by referring to as many book as the librarian would permit. The kids are even more impressed when they are told calling your aunt in the neighboring town required 'booking a call' and waiting for the network to be ‘free’ for the call to go through. The younger generation just cannot imagine a world without the internet or that one cannot perform a task without a gadget!
As you can see, gadgets have helped hardworking women to save on time and provided them with ready access to clean water. On the other hand, overuse of gadgets has rendered us physically inactive. A logical consequence of the gadget-induced inertia is poor health and stunted growth--both physical and mental--in children. And this is worrying.
Well, like everything else in life, there are two aspects to the use of gadgets--their use is a necessity to live in a modern society, and their misuse is a real concern. The internet, ironically, is awash with articles, blogs and films depicting the havoc electronic gadgets are wreaking on young minds. As parents, we could not agree more. Let us list out some of the ill-effects of gadget over-indulgence both on children and grown-ups:
Health Concerns: The physical inactivity is the primary factor responsible for increased instances of hypertension and diabetes even in young children.
Social Concerns: Human interaction is conducted virtually, eliminating the need for face-to-face meeting. The fallout is social awkwardness and isolation among children.
Developmental Concerns: The ability to think clearly and coherently is what sets humans apart from others. Overuse of gadgets stifles creativity in children.
To summarize, use of gadgets is not the problem, but their overuse or misuse is. Parents need to encourage their children to walk more, watch TV less, use mobile phones sparingly, read more books, take up a hobby such as gardening, play outdoor games when they feel the need for recreation and entertainment. And finally, we adults must set our children an example by following the same rules that we have set for them.