Technology is proving to be a double-edged knife that cuts both ways. While the advent of Internet has significantly changed our lives for the better, its harmful effects are also coming to the surface gradually. A growing addiction for the Internet-based lifestyle is not an unmixed blessing. It is making life difficult as much as easy.
Perhaps this is true because we do not know where to strike the balance. Excess of anything is bad and it holds true for our love of technology. Our growing fascination for Facebook and other Internet-related activities is keeping many of us glued to the computer, mobile phone, or tablet screens for hours together every day. Only lately have we been waking up to the dark side of this unfolding tragedy.
Its first blow is jarring loose the family bond as children tend to spend more time with their gadgets, thus alienating themselves from parents and siblings. Children are growing up without learning appropriate social skills which come from interactions with family, friends, and neighbors. They feel more comfortable in the privacy of their rooms where they surf the net for hours without talking or seeing real people.
One of the growing threats of online existence is the exposure to pornography. It is probably the scariest aspect of Internet access that has no surefire remedy. Likewise, the information overload, the growing burden of fake news, and the lure of terrorism and extremism are constantly tugging impressionable minds towards the dangers of brainwashing and confusion.
The health hazards posed by Internet addiction cannot be ignored. Disruption of sleep, lack of concentration, damage to memory capacity, loss of reading skills, and the detrimental effects of radiation on health are some of the more serious fallouts of using Internet for long hours. We may not know about the full scale of harm being done to mind and body until more time has elapsed.
Internet is also responsible for the spread of crime in the country that never existed before. Posting explicit sexual content to blackmail young girls and their families is a growing trend amongst sexual predators. Criminals are also using the Internet to further other criminal activities. It is common knowledge that terrorists and miscreants are utilizing social media networks to hatch pernicious plans and push their perilous agenda.
All in all, the technological advancement that has brought us many benefits is also taking much away from our lives. It seems that the more we harness the technology to connect ourselves, the more we are alienated from each other. The isolation and health risks associated with a lifestyle are being fostered by this contradiction as an alarming crisis looms ahead.
However, this crisis is not peculiar to Bangladesh alone, but a global phenomenon. All countries are facing it, some more than others. Bangladesh, therefore, should not try to reinvent the wheel instead of adopting best practices from other nations. But what is important right now for Bangladesh is to recognize this crisis and take it as a formidable challenge.
The reality is that Internet and its implications have come to stay in our life. In the coming days, the penetration of this technology is going to grow and at some point perhaps the entire population of Bangladesh will use the Internet. The greater penetration will involve a bigger chunk of the population, which will multiply problems manifold. Solutions must be urgently sought before the problems get out of hand. It will be unfortunate indeed if we end up being a tool of compulsion in the hands of what is supposed to be a tool of convenience.