Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Absent Generation Parenting an Absent-minded One - Are Social Networks Responsible

A spate of deaths in our community. All of them are of youths, boys emerging from their cocoon into adulthood as a larva emerges into a butterfly. Then I think whether it's the frustration of the young, whether it is a sign of the times, whether they aren't getting any advice passed to them by their parents, or, if it is a fault of their parenting.

I think it is all combined. Let me first refresh your memories about the incident of a few days ago that shocked me, of the death of three youngsters due to drunk driving while on a trip to Goa.Then a youth committed suicide by hanging himself. Then last night a young man breathed his last from some mysterious illness. That's four deaths, all young people.

I guess we (I mean the old doddering generation) have let our youth down. We have not been the vigilant generation we should have been.We saw our world being torn down but we didn't act. We saw injustice but didn't raise our voices. When our children don't get it from parents they look elsewhere for advice. It's the wrong advice they receive. Mostly we were an absent generation: absent on work, absent in a foreign land, absent in mind, absent in mindless entertainment. When we were absent our children were surfing 24-hour music, porn, movie sites. We don't know.

What I am slowly and insidiously waffling towards is that we may be on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Orkut, etc. but don't know where our children may be. We communicate less and less at home and more and more online - on social networking sites. The advantage is that it can be done everywhere, on mobile, at work, in the train. I only speak a few words a day with my wife and son while they speak mostly to colleagues and on social networks. I confess my son is so much like a stranger after I persuaded him to use Facebook. Really. I am the one who persuaded him. I think I shouldn't have. Grumble. Mumble. Can't help it as I am the online person, the evangelist for technology. Social networks are addictive and they are also depressing. We wonder why some people avoid you, we may feel cornered at times. We wonder why such and such person responded the way he/she did. We don't know the technology which is playing havoc behind the scenes. Facebook for example has an interface by which they show only the status updates of only people with whom you network on a regular basis, no one else. This makes you wonder what happened to that friendship, why they have grown so remote over time. That's the reason for our disillusionment and depression.

What does this indicate? A breakdown of families as units of society? An alienation of closely related people.What is the remedy, what is the solution? I don't know, please edify and enlighten this poor hack.

1 comment:

A. K. said...

Bro I can feel what you are trying to say here. It's a mixture of everything. But I believe everything starts from the home.