– Bhumika Gupta
A few days ago, my grandmother came to visit me and I showed her the latest gadget in my collection, an Amazon Alexa Echo Dot. This nifty little device can do anything for you, from playing music, to fetching the news headlines, to even telling you jokes. My grandmother, a sixty-something-year-old lady, was amazed by this technology. She could have never fathomed as a child that one day there would be this little device that would literally put the world within your reach, all you have to do is ask. She bubbled with excitement and awe as she asked Alexa to translate “Good Afternoon” into Russian, tell her the latest news and ask her a riddle. It was as if she found a new companion she could talk to when she was alone. When you think about it, this little piece of tech really is a marvel. A few years ago, we used to think we just need to pick our phone up and we can access the world at our fingertips; now we don’t even need to lift a finger. Technology really has evolved beyond our imaginations from the times of pagers and MySpace.
Even for me, the world and my experience with the digital has come a long way. My first memory of the ‘digital’ is probably playing online games where you could choose dresses and hairstyles for Barbie on my family’s shared desktop. I distinctly remember the desktop was in my parents’ room and I was only allowed a maximum of 1 hour of “screen-time” per day. I could choose between watching television or playing online games.
Now, my day starts and ends with the digital world. I open my eyes and check my phone even before waking up. After that, it’s onto various social media, getting my daily dose of top news stories from a news app and going to online classes. If I want to relax, I’ll listen to music on my phone or read a book on my tablet. Everything is digital; social life, school life, even relaxation is through the digital world. When I think about it, most of my communication with my friends and family is also through this medium, especially since meeting physically is not an option because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need of the digital world has increased promptly with the current situation.
Our lives revolve around this world of the internet, digital screens and content. We probably cannot even imagine spending twenty-four hours without any digital interaction. It is ironic that from my daily stipulated screen-time of one hour a day, it’s now more than twelve hours per day on average. I think it’s safe to say I am dependent on the digital world and spend more time online than asleep.
What is your take on the evolution of the digital world? Do you think we are dependent on the digital world? And what is your screen-time on average? Let me know your views in the comments. Looking forward to your feedback.
Thank you for writing this blog, it just reminds me of a lot of personal experience. The digital development really helps us in different aspects, there’s so much information and many useful apps, so you don’t even have to ask for help from other people because you can always find the answers to your questions online. For example, when I first came to the NL, with the Google map, I directly headed to the apartment that I rent when I was in my home country. When facing problems in our life, we don’t need to call our parents as we have the most professional people online, simply clicking on the button and problems will be solved. We may all agree that the digital world reduces the time we interact with people around us, but at the same time we try more to rely on ourselves and find a way to solve the problems on our own. So from this perspective of independence thing, digitalization does make my life easier.
I really like how you wrote this blogpost, especially your personal connection to the subject through your grandmother discovering Amazon Echo for the first time, it’s very sweet to see the older generation gain something new from this “new” digital era. I think that there is definitely a certain growing dependency to the digital world that is slowly being created. An example I’ve noticed is hearing my parents talk about their crazy backpacking trips during which they would have no contact with their family for up to two weeks, something which would be unfathomable to me now. Nowadays, we are always connected and informed through social media and the digital world in general, and as an anxious person I have also developed a love-hate relationship with it. On one hand, it makes me feel secure to have a device that I can use to call for help from anywhere if need be, but on the other hand, it makes separating from it even harder. Definitely most of our generation now is growing up in an increasingly digital environment and it shows from the way that we look at our phone before beginning our day and before going to bed at night as well.