The million dollar question of the millennium, referring to the millennials – Have we become smarter or stupider with the advent of technology and the whole shift in work culture post-pandemic?
It is no surprise that every infant has the innate ability to unlock a phone without prior training. But what after that is the question that we must ask! With the inevitable onset of a disastrous pandemic and an even more disastrous culture that broke the fundamental qualities of a home, we have boasted of surviving a virus at the cost of our homes and the future of a whole planet – the children.
I remember, however hard my father worked, however late in the night he’d come back home, the moment he was home, it was only family and nothing else. This culture has somehow become non-existent in the short span of two years! Apart from the initial few weeks of the pandemic, where we were so clueless and it was supremely difficult getting used to seeing each other for such long hours in a day, we still enjoyed and loved every bit of it! As a family, we even created a full-fledged terrace garden with everything done in-house within one month of the “lockdown”. Starting with welding metal pieces for our garden stands, to carrying mud from the ground floor to the terrace (on the 4th floor), we did it all by ourselves. Slowly but steadily, we made an aesthetic and extremely nutritious terrace garden and we were super proud of our achievement! We even got a pet rabbit that was brought all the way from our farm in Kerala to our home in Bengaluru!
With time when the online mode of work and education took form, there began barriers that were raised within the four walls of our homes. Unknowingly, we got so busy with our own tasks, online classes, work and everything in between, that we began drifting apart as a family, although we lived under the same roof for the whole of 24 hours. Back in 2020, I had told myself that I was going to work like crazy for 2 years and then take a year off after my undergraduate (scheduled for completion in 2022) just to spend the lost time with my family although we lived under the same roof every single day for 2 whole years. But yes, my father made it a point that come what may, we will have our three meals together. This has been a practice since the very beginning, and not a pandemic-prone activity.
The time at the table became the only time that we began seeing each other and conversing normally; other times, we had been occupied with our respective schedules. Deep down I questioned, whether the hybrid mode of work culture was truly as amazing as people have portrayed it to be. Moreover, our presence and relationships with our loved ones was a lot more significant and valued when we went to school and got back after that 8-hour long separation or when we heard my dad’s motorcycle from a distance and calculated the number of seconds until when he’d be at the door and we’d rush to embrace him! Those simple joys are inconceivable by the children of today. (I’m sure that we can’t even imagine something of that kind today, because we’ll have to wait till he takes a bath or washes his hands for 5 whole minutes in the very least. Does the same excitement last till those 5 long minutes of handwashing are done? I genuinely doubt it.) Moreover, the children who were left in the care of gadgets because their parents have been busy at work in the adjacent room, have suffered the most in this pandemic-induced online world. They started off very innocently with the ideal learning apps and tools, but ended up getting addicted to games and content on OTT platforms, and most of them proved harmful for their mental health because all that they saw was ultra fancy and larger-than-life visuals. It was a mere illusion that kids strived to make a reality, but couldn’t stand the idea of failure because ‘if some random people onscreen can, then why can’t I’ kinda attitude.
The pandemic has only made the rich richer, the poor poorer and the middle class left questioning their existence. Tell me I’m wrong, I’m all ears.
I heard from a friend the other day that their sibling goes to two different coaching institutes (I’d leave the names hidden) while the sibling is only in 5th grade! What are we doing to this generation?! This is not how we make them smart, or learned for that matter. This is called rote learning and will only sculpt children to become more and more dependent on material and resources. Numerous friends and family (and we ourselves) have subscribed to the official sponsor of FIFA’s online learning modules and the kids have only gotten the worse out of it. They now no longer can read books, and need some moving animation to understand any concept or even a story. Come on! Really?! Stories are supposed to be read, not watched. If we watch a story it is called a movie. What are we making of this generation?! A spoon-fed army that will be disbanded and disoriented when they set foot onto the real world?! Give me a solution!
FYI. We aren’t getting anywhere by automating everything that comes our way! We are not only reducing the opportunities for the future generation, but are also destroying the human values and natural conforms of human nature.
Did I mention the terrace garden we were so proud of? Slowly, that beautiful terrace garden got eroded because somewhere we stopped caring for it. My dad is working on it now! At least we haven’t given up 🙂 Did I tell you about our rabbit? He underwent depression, because we forgot to cuddle him once school had started. But my sister has been looking after him after that episode. Yes, rabbits suffer from depression, just like us. Did I tell you about me taking a year off solely for spending time with my family? I am now in another country pursuing my further education, barely a week since undergraduate had culminated. So what exactly are we talking about? Can we please value our loved ones, family, friends and all that is so close to our heart, yet we so easily turn a blind-eye to? Please, please can we be more loving and caring as a family, as a friend and a human in general. I wanted to enunciate upon how children now categorise upon making friends, but that I’ll leave for the next time. Till then, please ask yourself if you have been the best you could be. And whether this so-called work-from-home and hybrid culture has made life any better at all? Most importantly ask yourself and your children, have we become smarter or stupider?
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