Why We Need A Digital Detox On An Urgent Basis?

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by Bilal Ahmad Dar

‘Cell phones are so convenient that they’re an inconvenience’
Haruki Murakami

A group of young Kashmir women talking on their cell phones in Srinagar. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Technology, as we know, has transformed our life. It has made things easy for us. It has lessened the humdrum of our day to day life through its entertaining tools and gadgets. Because of the technological and communication revolution, modern man has become a kind of post-human (a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human). Technology has transformed us, humans. It has enhanced our abilities and capacities. With the help of modern technological tools, we can do any complex and difficult work in a trice of a time.

But this technology has also flipsides attached to it. Technological gadgets have made the life of modern man both easy going and complex. It has made us technological dependents. We are not able to do anything without technological tools.

The cell phone is one of the dearly entertaining gifts given to us by the technological world. It has multiple uses. It is used for communication, entertainment, and education. The cell phone has made communication easy. We can talk to people who live in the remote corners of the globe. Such is the charisma of cell phones. But we have become very much addicted to it and its associated applications. We have made it the essential and necessary element of our life. We consider our life incomplete without cell phones.

These cell phones have made us psychological handicaps. They have colonized and subjugated the psyche and psychology of the people. People have become so addicted to these cell phones that they cannot live their life without them. Modern man has completely made his life dependent on cell phones. The psyche of the modern man and cell phones are inseparable these days. The cell phone has so much colonized the psyche of the modern man that he feels ill at ease without it.

These cell phones are proving very detrimental to our mental health. But we do not realize it because of its entertaining feature.

The inseparability of the modern man and cell phone has compelled the modern psychological linguists to coin cell phone addiction-related neologisms. Nomophobia and Ringxiety are two neologisms related to the addiction of modern man with cell phones. Due to the cell phone addiction, modern man has become the victim of a new kind of phobia called Nomophobia.  It is defined as the fear of not having a mobile phone with you. Each of us is the victim of this phobia. Where ever we go, we, first of all, verify whether we have taken our cell phones with us or not. We search our pockets continuously whether our dear cell phone is there or not. At times, the cell phone is in our hand, we start fumbling our pockets. Such is the addiction to cell phones. This cell phone addiction has made us psychic patients. We are not able to enjoy anything because of this cell phone addiction. This cell phone addiction and social media mania have even affected our social relationships.

Internet is the main player in keeping a new generation connected. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are those alluring applications that have seeped into the psyche of the modern man. A modern man remains unnecessarily busy with these social media applications. These social media apps have so much dominated the psyche and heart of the modern man that he has lost the taste for every physical or field game. The major part of both day and night time of the modern man gets consumed in these social media apps. These apps have conquered the psyche of the modern man and have made him a sort of psycho.

Due to the cell phone and social media intoxication, modern humankind has fallen prey to new psychological disorders. Most of us have become victims of Ringxiety and Nomophobia. Ringxiety (Phantom vibration syndrome) is a neologism. In linguistic terminology, it is a portmanteau word. It has been made by blending Ring and anxiety, hence Ringxiety. It is defined as the anxiety of the modern man because of a cell phone ring or notification.

Bilal Ahmad Dar

This is the fact these days. We, time and again, feel that our cell phone is ringing, when actually it is not. It is actually our cell phone addiction that makes us feel so.  Both Nomophobia and Ringxiety are basically the psychological impacts of the heightened use of cell phones.

We should limit the use of cell phones in order to save ourselves from becoming social misfits. So far we are only the victims of Nomophobia and Ringxiety. Let’s de-addict ourselves from these cell phones by busying ourselves with less harmful things and more lucrative activities like reading books and by playing games in the playing field.

Postscript

‘Cell phones are not a sign of power; they are a sign of subservience’
Dough Pappas

(The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of English, AMU. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)

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