The greatest social commentary is reflected in the advertising of its time. The Kurkure ad with Parineeti Chopra is a great example of this. In the TV spot, she is looking for something that she has lost and finds it in the end – it turns out to be her family and conversations which is buried in different gadgets. In just 30 seconds the ad manages to capture a great truth. Technology is changing the whole outlook of how relationships function and it is more noticeable in families. We can see its significant influence on a growing divide between the traditional roles that children and their parents play.
A child’s, especially that of a tween’s and a teen’s absorption in technology, from whatsapping to playing video games to watching videos, does by their very nature limit their availability to communicate with their parents. It also provides children independence in their communications with friends. It’s so different than the previous generations, when children used to mainly keep in touch via the land line, that too with restricted usage, giving parents the opportunity to monitor. And not only that, the older generation is also finding it tough to keep up and gain comfort with the new technology that the current generation has mastered. There are so many apps out there, so many seem (say a Snapchat) irrelevant too, and it’s not possible to understand why they are so popular in the first place. However, this creates a big disconnect as the lack of acumen also leads to the teens gaining a sense of superiority, thereby diminishing the parents’ authority in these matters. The big disconnect that technology is causing is quite evident and prevalent everywhere be it in a car, at restaurants, while waiting in queues, basically wherever there is a phone signal and internet connectivity.
However, can we blame the children? Are they the only ones responsible for the growing divide? Parents can be equally guilty of contributing to the distance that appears to be increasing in families. They are often wrapped up in their own technology, for example, talking on their mobile phones, checking work emails at home, or watching TV, when they could be talking to, playing with, or generally connecting with their children.
We can’t deny that family life has changed in the last generation quite apart from the rise of technology. We seem to be busier than before. I have even heard of ‘whatsapping’ between siblings and parents and children while they are in different rooms under the same roof. Most family members tend to retreat to their own corners of the house, so there’s less chance that parents and children will see each other.
Are the ramifications of this distancing much? Less connection—the real kind—means that families aren’t able to build relationships as strong as they could be nor are they able to maintain them as well. At the same time, video, audio, images, and interactive features open doors to worlds and cultures that children could never learn in a book. We need to allow for private spaces for confidential discussions and provide guides for tentative and eager children.
That brings me to another question, are the values of the younger generation changing? Is that affecting the youth’s outlook towards their jobs as well? Or is the ease with which one is able communicate values due to improved technology leading to increased conflict when people with different values come into contact? As they say nothing is right or wrong, it depends on our perspective. Something that I will talk about in my next essay.