The Social Dilemma

With a business model to drive up engagement, even at the expense of our mental health being , these are all the consequences which has grown exponentially post 2011.

Netflix has recently put up a documentary on the dilemma and havocs of social media. People who have worked in leadership teams of Facebook, Google, Instagram , YouTube are now warning how of the evils of social media and how it manipulates our daily life.

This show scared me. The influence of social media is strong and it can mess up with our heads. What we are already experiencing around us is extremely polarising opinions, extremism, anxiety, vanity-ism, depression , isolation. There are many other “ISMS” and “IONS”, I might be missing some out.

With a business model to drive up engagement, even at the expense of our mental health being , these are all the consequences which has grown exponentially post 2011.

No one can deny the beauty and wonder of these technologies. But when it becomes an addiction , which it was designed to , it is a serious cause of concern. We are literally pawns in the hands of these tech giants, and they sell our vulnerabilities to the advertisers, the highest bidder. The content that you see is altered as per your interest. This is how the algorithm works. It recommends videos and topics of similar interests which leads you to believe one type of narrative instead of a neutral perspective. This is dangerous and it can be/has been exploited.

For eg, The Like button, a stroke of genius. It was developed to create positivity and love but what it become was a source of validation and a popularity contest. Growing children, teenagers who are emotionally vulnerable are now suffering from low self esteem, depression and isolation. And ironically as someone on the show said, the more likes you get, the more empty you feel.

We need to remember, these apps were all developed by IT professionals and marketeers to drive up engagement with their app . We are not their customers, the advertisers are. We are mere subjects and they make money on their knowledge of us.

I don’t know how long the effect of this show will have on me . But I know if I don’t do anything about it for myself and family, It will be my responsibility. Please watch the show and act on it.

Nostalgia and the Circe of Life

How many times have you heard your parents say ‘in our times things were so good’ or the ‘good old days! When they reminisced about the simplicity of life and how wholesome and uncomplicated life generally was

How many times have you heard your parents say ‘in our times things were so good’ or the ‘good old days! When they reminisced about the simplicity of life and how wholesome and uncomplicated life generally was. I didn’t understand then, but I can now understand where they were coming from. Penny for a loaf of bread, 100 pennies for a carat of diamond! It seemed exactly as crazy then as it seems now.

Fast forward to our childhood , we still have the wholesomeness of climbing a tree followed by gradual introduction to internet. We rode bikes , played all sort of outdoor games and most of the things our parents did as children. Then our world changed. Internet, Nokia 3610 and rest is history. Yes, we are the generation that watched pictures download pixel by pixel and files download page by page. So a word of advice, do not test our patience. We used to worry about our 30 hour internet package finishing which was supposed to last us all month long.

Then comes the current generation, which can also be labelled as I am bored generation which needs constant simulation and is spoilt for choices. While kids still do enjoy the outdoor things, but more often than not it is a result of mindful parenting and persistence. Keeping them away from the screen is a constant battle similar to how I battle my addiction with desserts. But no matter how many times we complain about the internet, no one can deny how much it has contributed to our quality of life . Each time I have a video chat with my family, I send a prayer of gratitude to those who made this possible. Made the distance seem so less. I still remember the era of TRUNK call and how expensive it was to have even a 3 min conversation. Now my mom puts me on hold if even a remotely interesting thing comes her way. My value of calls have depreciated so much. 🙂

Sometimes I cannot help but wonder how much has changed with each generation. I am almost scared to imagine how different things will be 20 years down the line. But one thing which is constant, is change itself and it is only if we adapt to the changing times especially in terms of mindset, we can really connect with the next generation.

Picky Eater….Is it Karma?

My mom leaves no stone unturned to remind me how much trouble I gave her in feeding me. Which I do not completely agree with. Yes, I may have some clear preferences about my food choices but still there were a lot of options that I gladly used to have. She just needed to be more proactive and creative.

So here I am, decades later complaining about my picky almost 9 year old daughter .It seems Karma is doing it’s rounds and that too with compound interest. I don’t think I even hold a candle in front of her.

My daughter has had Haleem almost daily for 4 years. I am seriously not kidding . Those who do not know what Haleem is, it is slow cooked meat and lentil stew which takes around 4 hours to make. Don’t panic. I used to make it weekly and not daily :).

So anything fried , crunchy or sweet , she is attracted like moth to fire. But otherwise, its been a tedious task including new dishes to her palate. Today I gathered some courage and told her she should at least include an apple in her daily diet. So after a lot of protest and negotiations with her dad, the agreement was made to have the apple at 5:00 clock.

E at 5 :00 pm : Mama , don’t cut , just bring it as it is.

Me at 5:30 : You have hardly taken two bites! Told you to have in slices instead.

E at 5:40: Okay mama , give it to me in slices.

Me at 6 :00: Lets go for a walk.

E: I can’t . I have to finish my apple.

Fortunately when I came back from the walk , that plate had magically disappeared. But E was extremely upset that she could not go for a walk because she had to finish that apple. The next 15 -20 mins were not very pleasant to say the least and involved lot of tears and accusations.

So its almost dinner time now . Since she isn’t a fan of seafood, I jokingly told E that we are having fish burgers for dinner.

E: I wish I was allergic to fish.

I think tomorrow I should serve apple at 3:00 clock instead ? lol

Remote Learning #CoronaDiaries

So the remote learning at my end officially begins. So husband is on an conference call in one room and daughter is having hers in the other . I am feeling extremely left out.

Post Corona , there will be a new normal . And work from home concept will snowball into so many new things, in education and businesses alike. There are some companies who have earlier encouraged employees to work from home but hopefully more employers would join the work from home wagon. Maybe later people don’t have to turn in 5 days a week and the concept of 9-5 becomes obsolete. Who knows! With change, the most challenging part is the resistance to change. Under the current circumstances, no one really had a choice not to adapt to technology and after few weeks working like this , people are getting somewhat comfortable with the set up. So later, if we have a combination of office and work from home , it would be a welcome change. It may not apply to all fields but environmentally, it will benefit everyone .

Life of a mother of one is so much easier than those with more . It is simple math. If I had 3 or more, I truly would be pulling my hair right now. My friend is going crazy with her 3 kids. Their schedules, their assignments and so on. So if you have 3 or more kids remote learning , good luck !

In the past two days I have downloaded about 5-6 new apps of google. The speed at which I am downloading apps for remote learning, I should have over 25 apps by end of the week. But the good thing is , it is REALLY working. There is google Class room , hangout meet, zoom and other google platform apps. So once you have your gmail Id, you are all sorted . My daughter looks forward to hear from her teacher and reluctantly does the assignments later. Under the given circumstances, it is great what we can do thanks to technology.

Remote learning is not completely new to me . I actually got acquainted with it like a month back. We have kept a Quran Teacher for my daughter and it is working out brilliantly. This was my first experience with an online teacher and I am not turning back with this one. Would definitely recommend going online on this front. No stranger in the house. Flexibility to switch times and even if you travel, you don’t miss your lesson!

The other day, I asked my daughter how she is finding the idea of home learning. She said she was loving it as she could get hot food 24/7 . She usually likes going to school, but she seems to be enjoying the novelty of having hot waffles while doing her assignments. Don’t really blame her there . Though I think by the end of the month, she may feel differently.

On a separate note , I strongly feel remote learning has so much potential. It is cheap and has reach . Your teacher could be sitting in Antarctica and you can still learn. We should consider using this model in villages and for those who cannot afford to send their children to school . This can extend to other fields as well such as healthcare. We just need to learn how to use the technology effectively.