Thank god, if you believe in one, or simply thank Einstein’s relative time that it’s 2020, not 2000 or even 2012. Can you imagine staying inside for months if such kind of a pandemic broke a few years ago and a strict lockdown had to be enforced, henceforth? But now owing to the developments in the field of technology most of us are living happily or at least, are occupied in some way.
The COVID-19 Lockdown
In the last few months, we have witnessed the implementation of a number of challenging and dilemmatic decisions. And most difficult of them, which was collectively taken by the governments of nearly all the countries, was the lockdown.
Though our government has lifted lockdown from all the states, many of the state governments are reimposing lockdowns due to an increase in the number of cases. Even in the states where the lockdown has been lifted, people are forced to sit inside their homes, either as a precautionary measure or because most of them have been laid off from their jobs.
And those who are lucky are working from homes. School and college students are attending their classes from home as well. So, most of the people are sitting in their homes. And the only thing that’s helping them to do so is technology.
How Technology Helps Us Feel Less Lonely during the Lockdown
This pandemic has not only presented a number of healthcare and socio-economic challenges before us. Businesses are suffering from heavy losses; people have been laid off from their jobs. And this has, in turn, increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Also, many people are losing their dear ones and suffering from mental trauma.
Of course, we cannot compensate these losses in any way, but still, technology is playing a very crucial role in providing solutions to many of our problems (to some extent). As there is a famous saying that ‘Empty Mind is a devil’s workshop’, technology is helping us in occupying our minds and not keeping us idle.
Technology is helping us feel less lonely in the following ways:
Even though social media comes with its own set of shortcomings like rumors and hatred posts, it plays a crucial role in making us aware and allowing us to connect even when we are advised to ‘socially/physically distance’ ourselves from others. Also, social media like twitter is helping us in getting instantaneous help and support from authorities.
But one is suggested to limit the use of social media as social media comes up with many problems, like a decrease in our attention span and harmful dopamine based reward systems.
Psychological support & Teletherapy
Since many people are suffering in some way or the other it becomes very important to take care of our mental health. Technology is helping us in sharing our problems with the experts by connecting us with doctors and psychologists.
According to The Hindu, teletherapy which was present even before has gained much more popularity during the lockdown. Also, communities like Now&Me are helping people to open up and get suggestions for their problems from others and that too for free.
Technology has also helped students from all age groups to continue their studies via online mode of learning. Colleges and schools are keeping their students busy by teaching them via video conferencing mediums like Zoom, Google Meet, etc. and e-books. Many students are learning new skills from their own effort by purchasing courses from educational websites like Udemy and Coursera. Technology is keeping students engaged in learning even in these days of fear and trauma.
But the sudden adoption of this form of education has many drawbacks, which have been collectively pointed out by many experts and organizations like UNESCO and UNICEF. E-learning method is criticized because of two main reasons.
The first is the problem of poor or no internet connectivity, mainly in the case of students coming from economically weaker sections of society. And second is the question of how well students and teachers will get adapted to this new method of education.
Also, this method has also been criticized for the early exposure of the internet to the children of small ages.
Technology is keeping us busy and also entertained during this tough period. According to a Forbes report, the subscribers on the OTT (digital) platforms like Alt Balaji, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. have grown to over 80%. And even you may find your friends busy completing an entire season of their favorite web series by binge-watching.
But another aspect of this is that the norms of social distancing have deeply impacted the conventional film industry. From tea sellers to producers of the films, everyone is suffering from losses. Not only individuals but the entire company PVR Limited, whose share was trading at a value of Rs 2000 before the COVID-19 crisis, is now trading at Rs 1000, which is half of the price before the lockdown.
Also, many video games have gained popularity during this period and teenagers are not missing this opportunity. But also, on the other hand, the sports industry is suffering from big losses. For eg. Gyms, stadiums, swimming pools, etc. have been closed.
The combination of technology and a lot of spare time has allowed many of us to nurture our existing hobbies and even informing new ones in case if we didn’t have any.
A person who had a guitar but never had time to learn it has learned to play it during this period with the help of platforms like Youtube. Not only musical instruments but also new skills like drawing, content writing, video editing, graphic designing, etc. can be learned and even mastered with the help of many free to use platforms.
You may also want to read: 5 Ways Social Media Is Negatively Affecting Your Mental Health
Technology Should Be Used Cautiously!
There is not the slightest doubt that technology is helping us feel less lonely during this period. But over depending on technology can be harmful to us. A little caution must be practiced while using the same.
As already mentioned above, social media is a great instrument for killing time and even helping someone or seeking help from the authorities. But overusing social media and getting trapped in the dopamine based reward systems can be problematic and cause much more harm than good.
Similarly, we must understand that technology is not the only way to pass our time and avoid being idle. There are many other ways using which one can pass or even utilize his/her time without depending much on technology. Reading books, playing musical instruments, painting, cooking, etc. are also great ways to utilize this time.
Also, we must not forget that we have to be prepared for the worse, and hence keeping track of our physical as well as mental health is important. Exercising and yoga should also be added to our routine. Also, we should focus on curbing our anxieties and stress, which can be done by undergoing teletherapies. Even the platform- Now&Me can help you if you are going through tough times.
In conclusion, technology has become an important aspect of our lives, especially during the lockdown. But as they say, ‘Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion’, we must be little cautious while using technology.
Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi