Keeping Bad Side Of Internet At Bay
Hira Bahadur Thapa
This is an age of increasing dissemination of information backed by the rapid progress in communications technology. Technology has overwhelmed us and we can’t afford not to use its benefits that help transform our lives meaningfully. The rapidity of technological progress is both a boon and curse to humanity although it depends on our prudence in using it.
Being over informed sometimes creates problems. An example may be had from the obsession we have, in making use of social media platform like Facebook. In opening Facebook account we hardly become careful about its negative implications. When we misuse it by posting harmful videos or commenting on some body else’s posts or photos or sharing photos uploaded by others without being careful, then we realise our mistakes later. Don’t get surprised that one of the noted artists in Nepali film industry has been arrested by police accusing him of defaming the chairman of Artists’ Association recently. This shows how damaging has been the use of social media through its appropriate use would contribute to community’s welfare by boosting connectivity.
This scribe has an experience of getting connected to one of his former students whom he taught English about four decades ago in Parbat, who now works in one of the famed universities in the US in April 2017 after he followed my post in Facebook. Sadly, I have deactivated my account owing to various reasons one of them being the revelation of Facebook users’ data misuse by Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based consultancy firm especially in influencing the US voters during 2016 Presidential election. Since then Facebook has come under increasing scrutiny and no wonder that the media giant’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, has been asked to clarify his company’s plans and programmes to protect Facebook users’ privacy. The European Union has even passed and brought into effect a special set of regulations to prevent the company from improperly using users’ data.
What is important here to observe is that we need to make prudent use of social media otherwise it may put us in danger of being arrested and accordingly kept behind bars. Very recently one of the careless Facebook users was sent to jail for some weeks when he was alleged to have shared a disgraceful photo of Prime Minister Oli.
Therefore, there is a lesson for all of us that careless and emotive expressions through words or images are likely to create trouble for us. This is more relevant for the teens who are in the schools and are very excited to post photos and write provocatively without being fully aware of the negative implications. No thorough study has been made to find out as to how many suicides are due to Facebook communications though it can be definitively said that emotions arising from objectionable Facebook posts and images have played their roles in causing depression among youth and finally inducing them to commit suicide.
Furthermore, we are faced with a situation when we have the dilemma of giving or denying the electronic devices to our children, who are so fond of You Tube videos because of music programmes. Either they are keen to watch cartoons in case of toddlers or movies for higher age group children. On line addiction is common including adults and elders. As a grandfather I am also addicted to go online for reasons like getting updated about domestic and international affairs, checking emails and sending replies and watching games like soccer and basket ball, when championships are organised. But in doing so it becomes our duty as guardians to adhere to our own rules of being online. The uninterrupted supply of electricity and easy accessibility to internet services have kept us more engaged in online activities and unless we discipline ourselves, it is really difficult to make our children disciplined in terms of Wi-Fi use.
Many of us at our homes take it for granted that our children are making appropriate use of internet, which is not true. Some of our kids unknowingly may waste their precious time in watching harmful videos that dwell on violence and sexual conduct. Continuous supervision of our children when they are online is a must to prevent them from going astray. There is a moral obligation upon us, which many of us are ignoring.
It may not be out of context here to make a brief reference to series of rape incidents taking place so frequently in different parts of the country. People are very concerned that they are not being provided the security from the state they as responsible citizens deserve. Their worries are doubled by cases of Kanchanpur where a 13-year-old school student was raped and murdered about two months ago and there has been no trace of real culprit as yet despite government interventions including formation of investigation committees. Equally heart rending is the case of the murder of an octogenarian retired Nepali diplomat who was knifed and killed at his own bedroom almost four weeks ago but whose murderer is still roaming at large.
The reason the above incidents have been presented is that the improper use of social media may have provoked the case of rape followed by murder because youngsters are usually involved in such incidents and who have been the most frequent users of social media platform. The intention of this piece is not to blame the above innovation of modern technology for violent activities but only to highlight the essence that misuse of technology leads to disaster and chaos.
Here comes the role of moral education that focuses on mental transformation rather than over flow of information. A morally-oriented youth can hardly become easy prey to worldly attractions like losing control over sensuous organs and can think calmly before doing anything whether his or her action is worth undertaking in terms of its impact on human welfare. Transformation from within is preferable to collection of new information. For this transformation of mind we need moral education for our children.