Perils of Online Culture

Chennai, Apr21 (tamilnaducentral): This is undoubtedly the digital age. People connect better over social media than over direct human to human interactions. Diurnal interactions through smart phones and laptops have become a way of life. Of course, it has ushered in an era of communication and information never seen before, but at the same time it has also eroded the quality of life.

Gone are the days when “chatting” implied meeting up at a restaurant and having cheerful banters; it is almost entirely confined to the limits of LED displays today. The inordinate amount of time that an average teen spends on screens is alarming. Even if the argument of “it is difficult to meet people in this busy life” is to be given some thought, there is absolutely no substitute for the face-to-face conversation that one would have, as in the past. And this argument is but a futile excuse.

How well can you decipher the true intentions of the other person when the only things that you see are the “sentences” they throw at you?

Recent accounts of impersonators with fake accounts targeting the innocuous have been reported widely. There was even the case of a military person divulging sensitive defense information to a lady on Facebook. Another instance is when people from the middle-east countries were extorted with the video clips that were shot over the net while a chat was in progress. The video clips exposed these men in compromising acts that could undermine their standing in society at large.

When even the educated and learned fall prey to these online lottery scandals and put their trust in unseen digital entities of people, how much can the ordinary fathom? Ordinary people with limited knowledge of the workings of this devious world fall prey to these uncouth criminals who thrive on their very ignorance. The cyber crime divisions cannot be omnipresent; there might be hundreds or thousands of other cases that have not seen the light of the day. Cowering in the shadows might be thousands of victims of online sexual abuse or fraud. In a country like India, where it would be taboo to speak of these evils to the outside world, the matter is even worse.

There is also the case of widespread instances of extremists and jihadis using the social media platform to indoctrinate people. It is natural for the human brain to get hooked on to the highly polarizing and clarion speeches and statements of these anti-social elements that twist and convolute the elements of faith and religion to serve their incendiary purposes.

With respect to young impressionable minds, the scenario also presents a moral dilemma to parents. How much supervision of the child is necessary? What draws the line? Would it be an invasion of privacy? Or is it a necessary evil? And there are no easy, straightforward answers.

The policing of the web is no easy task and it is not entirely possible either. It is the imperative of the elders and those around to caution the young ones against the perils of online socializing. They must imbibe the children with ethos and spread awareness of the dangerous elements scouting for unsuspecting targets.

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