Thanks to technology, the world seems to have shrunk. Distance is no more a barrier to reach out to our near and dear ones living in faraway lands. Not once a day but as often as we want; at virtually negligible costs. I saw this phenomenon in evidence when I went to spend a couple of days with my brother in Hyderabad.
Like many parents of Non Resident Indians, my brother and his wife, keep their ‘Tablet’ in the on mode in the evenings, awaiting a call from their daughter living in New York. As soon as they hear the ringing sound, they run to the gadget to see their daughter and their 18 months old grand daughter on the screen, ready for a chat. The chat can go on for hours. With their grandchild demonstrating new words she has picked up or a new game she has learnt to play, prompted by her mother, providing endless delight to her grandparents.
Suddenly she becomes cranky and starts crying. The grandparents promptly try to divert her attention with a new trick. Their daughter says, “I think she is hungry, continue to play with her, I will be back in five minutes” and heads for the kitchen to get some food for the baby. While mother is busy in the kitchen, the baby is kept engaged by the grandparents. This happens several times during the 60 minutes that the grand parents were on Skype and almost every evening this show is repeated!
Their screams of `Ohs` and `Aah’s and clapping of hands in excitement is an indication that they are having a ball, temporarily forgetting all the pains and aches which are their constant companion otherwise. It is almost as good as the grandparents spending real time with their grandchild.
I thought this is a classic example of “Baby Sitting Online”; a far cry from the days when parents had to wait for their NRI children to visit India or themselves go abroad to play with their grand children.I know of many old parents who have stopped feeling lonely because of this ability to communicate with their children living abroad on a daily basis.
The Skype (or Google Hangout) technology has other advantages too! Like my friend who is a “Mridangam Vidwan” has a couple of students in U.S.A. to whom he teaches mridangam online, at fixed times/ days of a week, earning a good income in dollars every month. Thanks to the Rupee falling against the dollars in the last few months I am sure he must be making more money! Many others with similar talents are exploring ways of earning extra bucks through this virtual teaching method.
Today it is not unusual for boys and girls to explore each other through this wonderful medium before they agree for a marriage proposal.
Similarly, if a near and dear one living abroad is unable to attend a marriage or any other important functions back at home – no problem. He or she can watch the event live online thanks to technology.
I understand that you can now use your mobiles to transmit visuals and sound bytes of interesting places you see on a holiday, in real time to your folks back home, through mobile to mobile streaming. Mobiles are revolutionising the way we can communicate with people
Today technology can help us communicate with people for various other reasons too saving on valuable time and money; like Video conferencing, online teaching - the list is growing by the day.
But technology is a double edged weapon. Undoubtedly it has several advantages which has made living easy. But, if misused, especially by children, it can lead to disastrous consequences.