New technologies: dangers and opportunities | Pakistan Today

New technologies: dangers and opportunities

  •  SMSes and the Internet are useful, but can be abused

By: Rameez Mahesar

The use of text messages supports in many cases as well as provide timely information. But some of the issues associated with this indicate health hazards may appear. The Short Message Service provides cheap unlimited text messages, but excessive use of imperils health. According to a study two years ago, over 560 billion SMS monthly were sent all around the world. Text messaging has now become a major means of communication especially among the youth.

A poll among youngsters showed the majority checked their cell phones every few seconds for new messages. Due to fast typing of texts on their cell phones, they feel severe pain between wrist and thumb which leads to loss of the mobility of their hands. In this connection, media reported in 2010 the case of a 16-year-old US schoolgirl Annie Levitz. She sent about 100 text messages within 24 hours that resulted in the loss in the mobility of her fingers and wrists as well. The injections of a strong anesthetic were needed to protect her hands from wild pains.

Above all, overuse of Internet also shortens the time we study. To respond to emails or to text messages there should be a specific time. Internet use has no doubt variety of benefits but now these benefits are getting supplanted with damages only because of its overuse and also misuse

Another dangerous aspect has appeared: texting while driving, which has become a leading cause of death. An estimate developed by the Federal Communications Commission said that approximately 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device while driving at any given time. The Center for Disease Control declares; texting is the perilous form of distracted driving in that it preys the drivers in three different ways. It asks for the drivers’ eyes to be off the road, needs the use of their hands and requires their attention somewhere other than on driving. An article appeared a couple of years back declared that doctors were increasingly facing those cases of accidents which were mostly having the texting as a factor behind them. A study carried out by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows how dangerous is texting while driving. The most significant point it made was; the time during which the eyes are taken off the road by drivers is what contributes to the greatest number of accidents.

As far as the children are concerned, they have been left independent to develop their own language and friends’ groups on their cell phones. They are victims to excessive use of mobile phone, rightly so they are too busy in sending and receiving the texts and this makes them prey to insomnia, depression, lack of sleep, isolation, lack of eating and the paucity of communication with family.

In this age of technology, text messaging gives us multiple benefits but the benefit on top is staying in touch with family and friends as well. But the problem lies in the lack of guidelines. This pitfall can be overcome with the help of proper guidelines and vigilance.

To stop the practice of text messaging is not the panacea for health-related hazardous issues but the disproportionate use of cell phones direly needs to be discussed. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority needs to set the standards. It should demand that the cellular companies abide by its instructions to tackle this briskly growing trend. For example, the cellular companies can reduce the number of text messages in the packages they offer.

At the same time, Internet use has shot up. It is increasingly getting used more and more across the world. People’s multitudinous goals and objectives are now being met with the help of the Internet. But one common goal the entire globe has tried to attain is to reap the benefits of internet to bring stellar performance in the education sector.

How far is the Internet being used for educational purposes? According to a report; “Digital 2019: Global Internet Use Accelerates” the number of internet users with a middling of over one million new users a day is growing fast, with all of the original ‘Next Billion Users’ now online. It further reports that the current number of internet users is 4.39 billion in 2019, with an increase of 366 million (9 percent) versus January 2018.

Internet use has multiple purposes throughout the globe but more specifically, in common, it is getting widely used for educational purposes. Gone were the days, where people studied well without the Internet. It is said, to crank out a paper people used to read hundred pages as they were bookworms, but this is no more so. At present, it is said, people read one page to write hundred pages.

Not only the number of Internet users is increasing but also the new features of the Internet are getting introduced in the market. Clone media are especial in this matter. These are the applications having enhanced functions, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, IMO, and so on. These applications are highly getting used for the purpose of education. Students and teachers have an easy link to communicate with one another the academic activities through these clone media – applications.

Let’s now step once in the studies to learn if there is a better nexus between Internet use and academic achievement. A study has revealed that Internet has a positive impact on education by increasing the communication ground among classmates, teachers and students as well. Another study ahow Internet use boosts academic performance. On the flip side, multiple studies reveal that there is a great chance of Internet addiction which causes academic failure. By the way, studies, concerning the link between education and Internet, carried out globally go against the findings of aforesaid studies.

There is no issue with the use of Internet but the issue is of how students use it. Beyond doubt, it has facilitated the students with easy access to information for research, and to prepare for examinations. But the pity is that this is being done right at the time of examinations, so they may not find appropriate information.

Students also use the Internet for limited things and for a limited time. They limit themselves to selected things and do not try gleaning more information, or seeking reading material like books, articles or magazines. Most of all, they do not make efforts of using the Internet for expanding their level of knowledge by surfing different academic works carried out ecumenically. One of the biggest harms of the Internet is to stop students from cracking open books.

Thus, the Internet can affect academic performance. If Internet use is not mastered, it will inflict a massive harm to it. On the contrary, if the student can control Internet use, it will bring a positive effect in it.

Above all, overuse of Internet also shortens the time we study. To respond to emails or to text messages there should be a specific time. Internet use has no doubt variety of benefits but now these benefits are getting supplanted with damages only because of its overuse and also misuse. The students must be schooled in this phenomenon.

The writer can be reaced at [email protected]