Anil Rajvanshi

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Should we limit our use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace?

Internet, cell phones and TV are great means of communication and information. However we as humans are becoming their slaves. A short essay on what can and should be done is at.

Thoughts, debate and suggestions are welcome.

  • Sep 24 2012: The only person I can ever hope to have peace with is myself. I am reading this as "should I" limit my use to help me find my mental peace. My answer to that is ... limit or get rid of mindless use of technology. If you want to be on facebook or watch TV then do it but know you are doing it, be mindful of that action. It is the mindless actions, whether it be technology,eating or anything else that I am trying to rid myself of. I have caught myself many of times clicking on facebook because it was a default action not because I wanted to go onto facebook. but I digress so to sum it up

    mindful use of cellphones,internet and TV = yes
    mindless use of cellphones,internet and TV = no
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      Sep 25 2012: Well said Glenn
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      Oct 4 2012: Help me mind without ⬆⬇ this ⬅➡ -- guess which direction arrow is missing and you can not represent it right on the screen ?
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    Sep 13 2012: My parents' TV recently died, and they haven't bothered to replace it. It has been several months now, and they watch zero TV. That sounds rather draconian to me, but they both love the new environment. My Father constantly comments about how many books he is reading and that he has begun writing poetry again. I'm definitely missing something in my leisure time choices.
  • Sep 23 2012: There is no definition of what mental peace really is. We have made our lives dependable on these gadgets which we use everyday that without these, we would be missing our mental peace. I can't imagine how I would do stuff without the internet or cellphones. Now, there can be an argument on ho it was done before they were invented. Well, in that case what is progress if we still do the stuff the way did them a hundred years ago? I feel that we have not become slaves to the modern technology, but we have learnt how to make an efficient use of our knowledge and progress so that we can be even more dependent on more gadgets in the future. I remember my dad telling me on how many hours he spent doing his projects during his school days. It took him days at times because he might not find the stuff he was exactly the book he was reading. But now, it takes me just minutes or just a few hours to get my stuff done.
    • Sep 23 2012: Exactly, these technologies can be used for good and people don't need to be told how they are supposed to relax themselves. It's refreshing to read a comment here that's not part of the general "we old people think the lazy good-for-nothing youth don't conform to our idea of mental peace, so we should ban the technology they like and we don't understand" narrative.
  • Sep 10 2012: The key to life is moderation. You can over do or under do anything. Self control. I personally embrace new and existing technologies. Peace of mind ( mental peace ) is a different can of worms. I have learned in my 50 plus years of experience that to achieve " mental peace " there are for me a few things that I had to do. Make peace with my past was one. I have a saying to explain what I mean. The past has already happened you cannot change it. Only learn from it. The future has to many variables. So in a sense all anyone has is right now. And what we do right now in some ways shape our future. If your motives are honorable and you know that you are doing your very best and looking at life in the proper prospective , Peace of mind " Mental Peace " is doable with knowledge, self control and purpose.
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      Sep 11 2012: Yes moderation is the key word. How do you teach that to youngsters? That is the biggest challenge. That will happen when the older generation also follows moderation and then teach the youngsters by their examples. Too often it has been seen that young mothers put their children in front of TV as pacifiers. Right from beginning if children are taught to read books and get into the reading habit then they will be less distracted by electronic information. Well that is the dream.

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        Sep 14 2012: I think I may be able to answer this in part. I teach pre-service educators about technology use. Recently, I've added a component about removing yourself from the technology. We discuss ways to schedule this time and how to reflect on its impact to one's mood. If we are able to launch a new education program on technology and innovation here, this will be one of the key components. Hopefully by educating new teachers about the importance of sabbatical, they will come to value this and teach it in their own classrooms.
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          Sep 20 2012: Amy, I partially agree. Sabbatical is very important, but removing ourselves from technology may be close to utopia, I think. What about teach a right and adequate use of it? But your proposal is very interesting, of course.
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    Sep 14 2012: Over the years these technologies became a huge part of our modern lives. I am 18 and I grew up with them, but with these fantastic technologies comes a fear we have never really had. The fear of missing out on something. In the coming years it will probably be harder and harder to limit our technology usage. There is a great project on the internet to remind us of the fact that there is more than (social) media in life.
  • Oct 5 2012: Mental peace comes from within.. not from limited use of technology. Technology can be great if used to positively affect us. As an example, stalking someone on facebook is not an indication of too much use of technology, its an indication of insecurity with oneself.

    Hope this helps.
  • Oct 4 2012: The only time a human can obtain' mental peace' is when their dead. Like one of the other answers, all will just substitute on thing for another.
    • Oct 5 2012: What sort of peace do you hope to find in death? I don't mean to have a mocking tone, but I for one do not like the idea of having "peace of mind" for eternity. I want to continue to explore and learn. With peace of mind will I have great knowledge and wisdom? Is it there will I find peace...knowing all that is to know?
      Some say we are to be reborn or reincarnated into another sentient being...others still say we are to be with the one who created us...once i was told we would just be collected back into the singular consciousness out in space or into nothingness waiting to collect the rest who are still on this website, at which point still nothing will happen for eternity.
      You are right that if it's not one thing it will be replaced or substituted for another. If it's not radio than it's TV. If not short morse coding than it's short messages on get the point. I do believe we are evolving even if we don't want to believe it. We will adapt and continue our push for more knowledge - perhaps tap into the other 90% of our brain capacity and who knows perhaps surprise ourselves in being able to one day cope with having the vast knowledge we've attained AND be able to spend 5 minutes a day reflecting and gaining back our mental peace.
      Who is to say our mental limit has been reached with the dawn of computers and social media where it stands today. Scientific American published an article on the physical limitations of humans intelligence. I'll end my rambling tonight with this quote, "Humans, however, might still achieve higher intelligence collectively. And technology, from writing to the Internet, enables us to expand our mind outside the confines of our body." Essentially indicating the technologies of today is an extension of our brain! :)
      • Oct 5 2012: Hi James. I meant that only in death do we find inner quiet, at least I hope so. The only inner quiet that can be found in life is by a induced coma and I'm no into that.
  • Sep 24 2012: I banished the TV from home, and did not miss it.
    have started a digital free Sunday, and plan to limit digital connection, cell phone and Computer, to a few hours a day.
    have been able to spend a lot more time with myself since then.
    This TV dumbs us down to be lead, and make us react to its content,often limiting new ideas and thoughts.
    the computer and internet are useful, but getting addicted to them, stops us from our natural selves.
    we all need to cultivate a life outside the digital!
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      Sep 24 2012: I don't think a television has anything to do with this. Before TV we blamed radio...before radio it was something else.

      I feel like we get so wrapped up in "get rid of it" and never focus on achieving balance.

      We cannot run away from innovation...just apply it in productive ways.

      If you are addicted to the internet...and you remove the still have the addictive behavior.

      This for that.
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      Sep 25 2012: Let me say I do like digital free Sunday...I need to steal that from you.
  • Sep 24 2012: dont limit it, people will bored to it eventually...
    I use pc and smartphone everyday, for 20 years and I already bored, so I only use it for few minutes for a day...
  • Sep 18 2012: Yes as long as its free willed and not something like government control. I have deactivated my facebook for about 3 months now, i didn't realize how much time it consumed, my workdays become more productive, I saw things outside downtown where I work that I never noticed before because going to and fro work I was deep in my phone examining the social world. I have been calm and collected and its allowed me to stay away from insignificant drama issues in other peoples lives. I'm also a musician and it has helped me see things differently not having the social world shoved down my throat so what I write now feels more natural.
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    Sep 15 2012: We all know that cellphones, television and internet have a big influence on our own lifes - in all parts. Men and women behind this power usually hit their targets, they make we feel as a "fish out of water" without their tools of communications. Besides, it is not our fault: they force everybody to get into this world of technology - anyone could be in the edges, because, for example,nowdays the whole people that I know enroll in Facebook (my mother, my father, my grandmother, grandfather and also my friend's dog) so I have to be there too. Even tough everything, I believe that the issue isn't about using this products, but the issue is the WAY we use it.

    Of course, either this changes the behavior of people, one of the proves is the socialization that are falling each day and -the worst thing- we seldom don't and can't realize it. I must to emphasize that before I read the essay of Anil Rajvanshi, I was sure we can't do anything to change your reality, but it was a mistake. I agree and support him with the idea of moderated through discipline their use, whose tendency is thrive.

    Indeed, "we seem to be losing the ability to carry out face to face social interation with friends" and this is an unhappy fact. I'll give you a curious example: in my vacations - when my classe of the university has just standardized - we created a group on facebook to previous know each other with the intention to not be "alone" in the first day. Incredibly, the result shocked me: in the first day seemed everybody was a strange for others, we even haven't a decent conversation.

    Who I am to judge this? In spite of belonging to this scenery, I am a person who is not proud of my behaving.
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      Sep 16 2012: The disconnect between the real and the virtual is a disorienting side effect it seems. It is less than intuitive to finish a conversation in the real that began in the virtual. Each perspective requires our undivided attention to maximize perception. The more we are connected the less we may notice.
      The virtue of being unplugged may become technological holiness. Therefore, unplugging may become a spiritual experience. However, to unplug is to first be plugged in, connected and self aware.
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    Sep 15 2012: perhaps we are not smart enough to be able to put it all down yet. we may need to develop the technology that will allow us to develop the social and behavioral skills to efficiently manage ourselves and our environment.
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    Sep 13 2012: before sharing my idea, i want to ask a few question. how to follow the latest idea? is TED a good way to have a discussion with others? if TED disappear, will we feel regretful?

    apparently, modern technology, such as internet, do have a positive impact on our life.

    although, cell phones, TV and internet has brought us some trouble. these things not only make us lack communication in reality society,but also disturb our mind.everyday we come into contact with variety of information,we don't know wether it is right or wrong, ture or fault. we absorb all of it without select,especially for kids.thus,what to do or who am i become a strict question for us.

    however,as i mention, the most important things is not limitation but selection. if we can choose the information we need, we will make full use of mordern technology. TED is a good are the newest idea and great platform to share ideas.we choose the idea we want and aren't worry about the sophisticated matters.then we get back to our mental peace.
  • Mats K

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    Sep 8 2012: I don't think going back is the key here, but I see a much more liberation of such technologies and perhaps even combining them into minimum requirement systems such as Google's Project Glass. Now we can do more things at the same time and at the same place without having different stations that requires a fixed set of time, consuming on each device. I think this integration of communication will drastically change how we use it also. Video games becomes obsolete, when augmented reality becomes integrated with the real world and the possibility is endless and fun. Cellphones becomes tiresome, when it's integrated with a single device that already does multiple tasks. TV and internet will still become something we will enjoy in our leisure time and in comfortable surroundings, but more and more I feel this trend will move out to the real world - waiting for the buss/on the buss, walking to the store, in the bathroom etc. which obviously is already happening. On top of that I think people will crave more interactivity with their content which leaves the real world to an exciting place to explore and enjoy their social medias and means of communication on a much more profound level resulting in a much more relaxed relationship to the technologies.
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    Sep 7 2012: says the guy on the internet :)
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      Sep 7 2012: I think he was talking more about moderation of their uses, rather than to reject their uses completely.
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        Sep 7 2012: Yes but with Krisz one never knows if he's joking with you or not.I have addictive behavioral sets that can lead me into some stupid things but it's not like that of drugs or gambling yet it is still the same type of behavior.I can't have lollies or chocolate biscuits around me,when i was a toddler my mother use to work at a lolly factory and because she used to bring home sacks of the stuff for fundraiser events, while she was at work,what do you think the kids did?
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    Sep 7 2012: Freedom without bounds can lead to bondage; but its no use preventing bondage with bondage.
    If there is ever freedom of choice, there is danger in the possibility of making the wrong choice. In trying to get rid of the danger we could end up robbing people of the freedom to choose.
    TV, cellphones and technology are not bad. Like food, sex, and wine they can be abused. It is the responsibility of individuals to be disciplined and to apply wisdom in the use of technology.
  • Oct 5 2012: Mental peace is more of a Power that one will obtain once they converge their mind towards something powerful, which is GOD. It is not from the use of some gadgets. One is stress free when these electronic gadgets are not used extensively. However, one is not at Mental Peace even at that point in time. Once our Mind is consistently used for obtaining such power by concentrating on something more powerful or reading and understanding extensively any Holy Books, Mental Peace is achieved
  • Oct 5 2012: Yes Michael ( and all) .. we have to be sure that our lives don't get run over by the "information superhighway." So many things can become addictions. It is important to find a balance.
  • Oct 5 2012: The internet is the "information superhighway"... or something like that. With that being said you can op to spend my time reading positive or negative material. One is just accessible as the other, and like a lot of you have already mentioned it becomes a personal responsibility. Whether you will waste some time scrolling a news feed, or be productive in gaining knowledge of info that can actually make a difference in your life. I have learned and am practicing this more recently... and I gotta say that it does help mental peace. so yes we should limit use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace. Or at least pointless use...
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    Oct 5 2012: Not sure about the mobile and internet but watching TV is a kind of passive activity it might not be healthy over a long run as ti does not involve physical activity but uses the least of your mental effort i think.

    But you can always work on finding something that is better to do than these things to keep you occupied. This is what i always do. Come what may you just have only 24 hours a day. If you are currently watching 4 hours of TV and are able to identify a new high quality activity and borrow time from watching TV and put it in this new activity some 2 hours, your problem gets solved. The key ere is high quality activity, should at any cost replace low quality activity.
  • Oct 5 2012: I agree with many in this discussion. The internet has evolved from a want to a need in todays society. Although there are many out their still resisting this inevitable change. I feel that it is only a matter of time.
    Nowadays gaming is done online, research is done online, you can learn, plan, implement and analyse using the internet. It is not only a benefit in so many ways, but it has allowed human intelligent to progress at a far faster rate.
    I guess this can be highlighted through the success of ecommerce and digital marketing companies such as . Only three years old, and growing at a substantial rate. I think its those who know most about the digital world like this company, will provide services for all those possibly hesitant to start up online and give everyone a chance to reap the rewards of an online business.
    I guess my end note is that the digital world is our life. Being a young individual I would not know how to live without it to be honest. The next generation will be so dependent on the digital world that I feel only those who have began to utilize its functions will survive.
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    Oct 5 2012: Of course.

    These days, people talk much about freedom, send troops and use economic sanctions on countries they perceive as limiting freedom. Freedom comes from within. Forcing people to be free is a strange idea, much like hating intolerant people. We should watch that we are free inside - not within our own country, but within ourselves. We should control ourselves - not let things that we possess, our habits, addictions, fears, obsessions, opinions of others, etc. control us.
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    Oct 5 2012: is a spiritual involution of humans - i mean just blase us faster than you think and without feel it for a lot of us
  • Oct 4 2012: You asked, "Should we limit our use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace?" The answer is, "Yes." Nothing is achieved in life without the application of our attention. If we split our attention between too many competing areas then the deep focus required to penetrate life's greater mysteries cannot be achieved.

    The ability to simply sit and think about a problem is of primary importance. Nothing is achieved without the application of attention. The most distilled and powerful application of attention comes by giving our awareness to one thing at a time. The array of options for where to place our attention is not the big problem. The big problem is developing the wisdom to choose the right one and the discipline to keep our attention on our choice.

    Fear makes people jump from place to place looking for safety or satisfaction. Love allows us to focus. As long as there is something that ignites a passion within an individual then love will drive them forward. No amount of technology will stand in their way or fail to serve their need.

    We do need to slow down. I’d say we should make it a regular part of each day. A time to reflect and see how we feel about where we are and where we think we are going. A resting point in each day that allows us to see if we still follow our passion.

    There is a line from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life that says, “Why don’t you kiss the girl instead of talking her to death?” That’s the problem with too many distractions. We talk it to death when all we really have to do is begin.
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    Oct 4 2012: Are we evolving to become a technologically dependent society? I think what we have now was created when it was not essentially needed, but if we are "raising generations of young people who only know how to react", what is this adaptation doing to our ability to analyze and think critically?
  • Oct 4 2012: If we are to evolve, would we need to evolve as quickly as our technologies? Or would we not have to evolve because our technologies do all the growth for us? I suppose this doesn't answer the above but to say that what we have now is not what we need than we should try to find what we will need soon. As Nadine Upton said earlier in this post, "There's no back, just forward". There is so much truth to that simple statement on many levels.
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    Oct 4 2012: Yes. Information is becoming ever more accessible. There is so much to see, learn, hear that it seems development of ones 'self' is getting lost in the mix. People consume more than they can comprehend. We must learn to pace ourselves.
  • Oct 4 2012: I prefer my kindle. It`s another kind of thing.I will never abandon it.
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    Oct 4 2012: Yes.

    (1) Our adapting rate can never match the developing rate of internet, cell phone, and TV.
    (2) Thus, these products are always out of the VALID SCOPE of our instincts.
    (3) Hence, we lost our metal peace operated by our instincts.
    (4) That is, these products give us INVALID HAPPINESS.
  • Oct 2 2012: There's no back, just forward
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      Oct 4 2012: we all have a back, just watch my back, ... be serious :) you know what I mean.
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    Sep 27 2012: One thing that can make you mind about technology is that comes from the years of industrialization when was made the biggest harm to our natural living environment and for just a small cell phone that now we throw on trash, many generations died, humans, animals, plants, vanished from Earth just for a small thing that now also is vanishing. Think about that we are part of the killing of ourself but in a big way like we foul ourself of the "big" discoveries human kind made. Yeahhhhhhhhhh .......
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      Oct 4 2012: You are great!
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    Sep 27 2012: Oh do not be so pessimistic I have a solution for this problem for childs accesing the internet and is about to teach people about "technology abstinence". Maybe you will lough but will work very fast if you offer something better for having fun. I own this project for Safer Internet for children - go to Welcome for english version. Please feel free to contact me becouse I have some experience also from my life and I am conscious about the problem that spreads all over the world.
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    Sep 27 2012: Hey ..... just now when you ask yourself this question you intrigue many people to answer so you make them use the Internet. so .... where is the solution ? :) .... I think to have fun and use them only for business as they were conceived for..... have fun :)
  • Sep 27 2012: ABsolutely! Because of tv presence, we have no time to explore assets in our family love story. We keep admiring, weeping and discussing priyanka chopra, kareena kapoors filmy love stories. :)
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    Sep 27 2012: I am delighted that this conversation has elicited tremendous response. By and large the comments show that people realize that the technology is very useful but it should be used with constraint. However the biggest challenge is how to convince the teenagers and younger people. I guess all of us have to go through the learning curve ourselves. Yet the teenagers and younger person's brain is very powerful and pliable and at this age if it is not given a discipline of reflection and contemplation then it will become very difficult to do so in later years.

    So how do we inspire the younger generation on the need to think and reflect rather than react.

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      Sep 27 2012: (Quote): "However the biggest challenge is how to convince the teenagers and younger people."

      This is nothing new. OUR parents asked themselves the exact same questions about US when we were "the teenagers". They worried that our entire generation was going to grow up incapable of being responsible adults and unable to "Run the World". Disaster was imminent. We were all Doomed.

      Let's step back and try to put this issue in a different perspective. It seems to me the assumption we are making is that ALL of the young of the current generation are going to grow up disabled and incompentant from the overuse of cell phones, Internet, and TV. Same concerns our parents had about whatever we were "using" or "doing" when we were young. But the simple fact is that doesn't happen. It didn't happen to US, and it won't happen to the young generation of today as a WHOLE. Both of those conclusions are verified by the fact we all here right now are discussing this issue, and the "group" here consists of us "old" folks that obviously survived our parents concerns, and the young folks here now participating who are already aware that they may need to be concerned about the "abuse" of these technologies.

      Not all people in a society "grow up" the same way. No doubt many from my generation "never changed", but also many of us DID change our younger habits our parents were concerned about. The same will happen with the young generation of today. Not ALL of them will become "disabled" and "incompetant" because of their current mis-use of cell phones, Internet, and TV. Enough of them will learn the moderation and effective use of the technology so they can "run the world", and the world will go on.

      And they will end up worrying about whatever mis-use of the next generation of technology THEIR teenagers are wrapped up in at the time, too. Payback. ;-)

      The cycle continues.
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        Sep 27 2012: you know today'teenagers have their own characterristics.they groe up with cellphones computers ;
        and i dont think it is a bad thing .as for me .though i have reduced my relationship time .maybe i could not speed as much time as you did .but we do have won something .i think the biggist characterristic of this generation that they can keep silence..they keep a peace mind ..they know what should do .and they desire to do something many of them do not want to relay on their parents .they want to rise their self
        they want to say that they can have a better life on their own
      • Sep 27 2012: "Let's step back and try to put this issue in a different perspective. It seems to me the assumption we are making is that ALL of the young of the current generation are going to grow up disabled and incompentant from the overuse of cell phones, Internet, and TV. Same concerns our parents had about whatever we were "using" or "doing" when we were young. But the simple fact is that doesn't happen. It didn't happen to US, and it won't happen to the young generation of today as a WHOLE."

        Yup, that's the crux of this whole thread: old people who think "the youth" are no good. Countless generations have wasted countless hours and resources on that same myth.
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          Oct 4 2012: I am 34 years old and older in thinking than i should be and I ask you two questions:
          1. Why at my age I am divorced like many others on early ages?
          2. Is autumn ...right ... how many celsius degrees are there? 34 ?
      • Sep 27 2012: As my mom used to say excess of anything is bad... No matter how good it is...

        Most of us tend to miss out on the bigger picture while getting engaged ourselves into satisfying our small needs or desires... Like, while talking to your loved once over the phone all the time, we forget the fact that everyone needs their own personal space, or a simple fact like watching more of TV will make us miss out on bonding with our dear ones... and will increase the distance between you and your dear ones..

        When there will be a time to share your feeling or thoughts or there feeling or thoughts with each other... you may not find anyone to talk..... These are the few reciprocation of the excess usage of cellphones, internet or TV that might happen to anyone of us....

        See the bigger picture... or help other to see the bigger picture.... to make them realized what they are loosing .....
  • Sep 27 2012: Cell phones and Internet are the solution for many issues, but, at the same time, have reduced our privacy in a slight percentage. When we rely on useful technology we go the point that we cant remember how life was without it. We see everyday people that dont go anywhere without a cell phone. From time to time is a good excercise to spend some time away this kind of technology.
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      Sep 27 2012: i totally agree with you on this point that its reduce our privacy .while isnt a good thing?
      with it many people fear to do something bad.with
      it we can reduce crime.with it police can easily settle a case with it we can have a open society. with it we can let ourselves be much better .. right?
      another without it you can talk at ted right? without it you can not see so many friends right ? without it
      you can not watch so many wonderful talks right
      so do it
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    Sep 25 2012: I absolutely limit my tech. uses. Technology is VERY helpful to me for the expansion of my opinions and views. However I am a firm believer in the principal of "moderation in all things". It is tempting to over-use technology to the point that I can (and have) used it to avoid the doing of life.. Ideas are wonderful but "faith without works is dead"...
  • Sep 24 2012: I think that if we show everyone what the world is like without these devices people will stop over-using them anyway.
    I'm one of the guys who works on and with technology quite a lot... but my cellphone can only make and recieve calls and text messages.
    Also I do not use any social media because I value personal contact a lot more than online ones. And besides if they need to reach me they can always do so.
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      Sep 24 2012: I don't think the total exclusion of online communication is productive. It is a failure to adapt..and is just as extreme as being wrapped up in technology.
      • Sep 24 2012: who said anything about total exclusion of online communication?

        Is not having facebook a total exclusion of online communication?

        I'm actrive in forums etc (like TED) which have my interrest and I go there when I want to.
        Also I use mail like crazy. But as soon as I turn off my pc I can exclude as much online stuff as I want from my real life.
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          Sep 24 2012: You said:
          "Also I do not use any social media because I value personal contact a lot more than online ones."
      • Sep 24 2012: Well that depends if you see a web forum as a social media.

        What I mean by that line you quoted is that I do not maintain contact online with people I know (and see) in real life.
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          Sep 25 2012: I see what your saying Richard.

          Do you think teaching our children balance...or moderation could be effective?
      • Sep 25 2012: I think that if we encourage the children to first discover the world without using devices that they will automatically be more moderate in their use of them.

        So in a way yes I think that a balance between the different media is more effective.
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          Sep 25 2012: I see your point here. If you are introduced to technology will increase the chances of being consumed by it.

          Great point.
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    Sep 24 2012: It is exciting as well as frightening to me to think about the kids growing up attached to cell phones and computers the way I was to garbage pail kids and teddy ruxbin. I can't image having that kind of limited attention span. My 19 year friends are addicted to twitter. All my other friends are addicted to facebook. Here I am on TED. There is a great film called PLAY AGAIN that is about the phenomenon of kids and screens (tv, computer, phone etc) and the ADD effect and the complete lack of being in nature. For me that is the key- balance of also being in nature- filmmaker Tiffany Shlain made a film called Connected that also addresses this and she takes a techno-shabbat for 24 hours. Try it- much more difficult then it seems and the expectation of immediate replies is also part of the culture- you expect people to be checking their texts and emails all the time-
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    Sep 24 2012: I also don't think modern society affords us time to take breaks from such things.
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    V Raj

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    Sep 24 2012: Absolutely... Specially if we are still conscious and concerned about not just our Physical But Mental Peace.. Technological Innovations are just like Twin Blade Swords and just as over indulgence of nutritious produce such as milk is bad so is the over dependency of TV - Internet - Cellphones etc.

    The argument that it has shorten our worlds.. has made exchange of ideas simple and easy but in doing so, it has made us lose touch with our inner self.. Agree that the definition of what is good and what is bad can be simply summed up as 'To Each Its Own' but had the life been simpler thanks to these innovations New Age GURU's Selling the Mental Peace wouldn't have been raking in millions :-)
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      Sep 24 2012: what is your inner self?
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        V Raj

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        Sep 24 2012: Still Searching My Friend Still Searching :-)
  • Sep 24 2012: I haven't had a TV at home for 25 years although I enjoy watching it when I away from time to time in hotels. I love watching movies on my computer and do this a couple of times a week. I have no idea how people have time to watch TV every night - I say this without any judgement - maybe they are watching others cook, paint, meet with friends, fall in love rather than doing it themselves. There is an "off" switch on every device I have ever owned and from time to time I like to use it just to see if my world of work can manage without me - and guess what - it can. We flatter ourselves that we need to stay connected to be relevant; we can take charge of our own lives and live the life we want
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    Sep 24 2012: Technology and the growth of the electronics we consume and produce has pushed our world further and so much faster than many other inventions in history. The ability to connect anywhere in the world has increased our communication with foreign people and countries by an incredible margin, people can learn of other cultures around the world at the push of a button, and the sharing of information and education is almost limitless with great minds from around the world able to come together to discuss science, mathematics, and any other field imaginable. The rapid growth of our technologies has created a world of innovators willing to make something new, wether it be a device or web service that pushes what we have done before, and helps out people across the globe. The great inventions that we see pop up almost everyday have led to jobs being created globally, and have greatly helped bring countries into the age of technology. From cell phones in fishing villages on the other side of the globe, to better and smarter tools for teaching here, technology has brought people in the next age of learning, and living. I can't imagine a situation where what has been brought to us by the technological age we live in has not completely overcompensated for some of its downfalls such as leading to more distracted every day living. Every great invention will have some down sides to it; yet you can hardly blame the technology itself for the distracted and distraught users. Like virtually everything else we come across it is not the people who spend controlled and moderated amounts of time on the internet and playing games that are causing the problem of addiction to devices, it is those who spend more time than they ought to on their electronics that are becoming unresponsive to human contact. With just simply controlling the time we spend on our devices and not in the real world, the technological age presents no damage or danger to people, and can only stand to enlighten us.
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      Sep 24 2012: what you said are all right .as long as we use our time properly .i think we can have a much comfortuable life .
      anything if overused will bring us problem .so what we should do is to manage our time .you know all work make jack a dull .while without work we may not have a better future .
      maybe what i said are not all right .
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    Sep 23 2012: I definitely agree that channeling our energy in the wrong direction....causes growth in the same.

    Technology has created many tools that could be used for productive purposes. Fact is...they aren't.

    Currently technology is focused on profit-margins and has no regulation as to its impact on society. We definitely need to take a look at technology as a tool...not a necessarily good tool in every application.

    I don't believe we need to value innovation for the sake of creation. Can we really rationalize creating lines of Ipods while children suffer?
  • Sep 22 2012: Should you?
  • Sep 21 2012: We should.
    The way we go about it will be questioned regradless of the angle we used to approach it.
    In my opinion it is similar to a drug. That being said people will fight untill the end to have unlimited access.
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    Sep 20 2012: Sean, I think I should probably clarify a bit :) I don't really mean for them to take an entire semester away from technology. I'm really thinking just of the 20 minutes each day I attempt to meditate. This would probably qualify as the "right and adequate use" of which you speak. I don't really mean sabbatical in terms of a long period, but more of a sabbath as you may see in religious traditions (which is one day out of seven). I should be more careful about my word choice :)
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    Sep 20 2012: Well, this is a completely subjective question, presuming that these technologies or gadgets disturb your mental peace. It is also an irrelevant question because noone is forcing you to use them, you are doing so for the sake of your own convenience and to satisfy your own need for comfort. Not everyone has the same picture of what you call "mental peace".
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    Sep 20 2012: while i have some different opinions .i dont think using too much is not good .you know there are much information and communication here i can do what i want .i can learn i can chat i can video .i can learn much .if i do not use i feel that i have spent some time is a waste.only on computer i can plenty my life .i can catch up with others .
    so i love playing COMPUTER!
  • Sep 18 2012: I'm against the proliferation of such electronics for two reasons. First, the manufacture of them requires heavy metals that are often mined in Africa and other third world areas where life is hell, warlords rule and sell the metals, coltan in particular, and anyone who gets in the way gets maimed or killed. Secondly, they take people's focus away from more important things, such as nature and health. Television with remote controls and video games require these metals also, and children are being sucked into their void, and aren't outside climbing trees, or learning sports, and are not getting exercise. I might add that texting while driving is now becoming a hazard, and fatal car accidents are accumulating because of it. I think there should be an age limit for cell phones, as with alcohol, voting, and joining the military.
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      Sep 18 2012: It is true. The raw resources of the planet have been harvested mostly by exploitation for thousands of years. This is only beginning to change. I suggest that technology has reduced exploitation, raised awareness and allows pressure to be exerted on oppression.

      The impact of technology on nature and health is seemingly ambiguous. On the one hand it allows the distribution of resources more efficiently, on the other it allows us consume resources faster. Those with access to technology have longer life spans, as the overall life expectancy of civilization, apparently, decreases.

      I am of the opinion that efficiency (mathematics) and compassion (charity) can trump any of the issues we face today. It is simply a matter of popular and political will. Nothing short of full blown global awareness and connectivity will allow such an event to take place in real time.

      Imagine if the will of the planet was coordinated on a singular effort. Nothing could stop us.
      • Sep 18 2012: I'm not so optimistic. I don't see all of the world being able to communicate having much effect on the misery people who live where the mines are have to endure. I don't see technology helping native peoples throughout the world. I tend to think like the author Jerry Mander, who wrote In The Absense of the Sacred - The Failure of Technology and the Survival of The Indian Nations, and Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
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          Sep 18 2012: If it is known that a group is being exploited and that knowledge is communicated to a group that opposes exploitation it may become a matter of group dynamics.

          If we do not know of a problem, we cannot solve it. If we know of a problem and choose not to solve it, it is perhaps a matter of will and determination.

          A problem can be expressed mathematically, therefore, perhaps, it can be solved. If it can be solved then the solution can be expressed mathematically.

          Typically, there is more than one solution to a problem. Therefore, perhaps it is compassion that must compel us into choosing wise solutions.
  • Sep 15 2012: No. Have to keep the masses happy. Remember Rome and it's bread and circus?
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    Sep 15 2012: Absolutely!
    It is probably not well known that the right side of the brain is the powerful side. Constant distractions such as beeps to cell phones, background noises, etc. are to prevent us from going within, and becoming enlightened.Using the right side of our brain to create, live in the moment, and do many other things can't be accessed by distracting technology.
    On the flip side, you can limit all of these things and/or use this to learn. In that way, those technologies are beneficial. I for one read PDF files found online, can listen to recordings on my iPhone, and when I watch TV, 90% of what I watch has to do with me learning in some way.
    I guess it all comes down to how you use it. I will say though it is an intentional distraction for most of humanity by the people who have power in this world. If you're distracted with useless things, you won't ask questions to what is really happening in the world, or at least expand your own mind...
  • Sep 15 2012: "Should we limit our use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace?"

    Some people find these devices disturb their mental peace, others don't, it depends on your personality, so I would advice against telling everyone to limit their use of these devices, people should have the choice to do so, but also the choice to not do so. I also believe the problem you see is just a symptom: these devices can make life easier and result in more spare time for us, but that's not how our society choses to use them, instead we fill the time they save us with more work to raise productivity, as we have done with every invention in the past. We shouldn't blame pieces of machinery for human nature.
  • Sep 14 2012: With technology being adopted at such young ages, the concept of mental peace is an alien one. The benefit is not seen, only the detriment. "I have lost something." Since it is viewed as losing something, it will be ignored. Benefits are rarely paraded.
    "You need to lose weight!" versus "You will be able to run up the stairs easily."
    "You need to study more!" versus "You will be able to get any job you want."
    "You need to stop wasting time with the Internet/Social Web!" versus "You will be able to focus and solve what troubles you."
  • Sep 14 2012: Over the period today's technology becomes an essential service of tomorrow, if you look back at history from the beginning of the human civilization you can understand what I mean. There are certain aspects in life where the technology has become a part of it without which life would be smooth. Communication is important for moving ahead in civilization, where all the mentioned sources great an important role. No doubt there is always a 'crap' and 'junk' involved with any source of communication but learning to ignore would bring what you wanted 'peace of mind'.
  • Sep 14 2012: We cannot just limit the usage of technology. There are several other factors as well such as time and labor. In order to create a meaningful debate, we must create a cost-benefit analysis of the situation.
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    Sep 14 2012: I wrote a TED debate on this a short while ago because I think our use of technology and what technology provides is gratuitous and is causing our minds to shrink in fundamental areas, and is decreasing mental constitution, therefore increasing mental illness including depression, anxiety and the ability to interact socially (face-to-face).
    • Sep 25 2012: so true... honestly, i am 15 but i really have to do a tedtalk to tell it in front of an audience .. and i think this is a good idea to talk about, but i have no time and my mind is blank so whoever you are, can you please help me in doing one??
  • Sep 13 2012: As a third year Graphic Design Student, and starting to write about this situation for my dissertation I feel that we as a society of 'Net Gen' students really underacheive in our performance in studies. We always use the internet, social media, and many other technologies, but yet still fail to walk the small 300 metres to the library where we have an archive of hundreds of magazines, and other literature that would seriously improve our reading for our studies. But, for the reason that I for one cannot understand is that we don't want to move from the studio and belive that everything is online. As Anil has stated, we cannot have full emotion through the internet in social media. I find that 'friends' are distant in face to face conversations but yet are always up for talking online. What is happening, and where will be be in the next 10 years. Imagine.
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    Sep 13 2012: I would suggest that "mental peace" changes for each generation. Being born in this age of internet and related technology, an adolescent would consider life without cellphones, TV, and Internet a living hell.

    Myself, being born and raised without cell phones and internet, could easily function and be happy without either. Many youngsters today may have never built a model airplane, never completed a 2000 piece puzzle, never played canasta with their friends, or never sat down and read a book. I exaggerate in attempt to make the point that "mental peace" will be unique for each individual.

    I can certainly see the downside of being "online" most of the time. We become less physically active but more mentally agile. Yes, we may be more socially connected and yet totally disconnected at the same time. I'm not sure where the balance point is but it would probably be healthy to have some offline time. I would venture to say, there's probably an untapped market for going offline.
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    Sep 13 2012: Use your brain....its easier and better...and free
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    Sep 13 2012: I am delighted with the debate that this has generated. I feel that most of the replies/comments have reinforced what I have written in my essay. That modern technology of communication like cell phones, TV, Internet is good but should be used in moderation so as to have some time for ourselves.

    Now all this debate should be put to practice by teaching others the advantage of "electronic communication" free time.

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    Sep 13 2012: No.
    While abstaining from the use of our current and attention consuming facilitators of communication may bring a sense of peace to a person, their use is capable of bringing peace to the world.

    When you can communicate with others at a level that properly conveys emotion you will begin to understand and empathize with them. Technologies like the internet are providing a high level of global communication which is enabling global empathy. The more world citizens or global souls we can produce the better.

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    Sep 11 2012: But WHY.

    Why and how will limiting cellphones, internet, and TV get *back* our mental peace?

    The problem is that we don't focus on a task for long enough. We need to be able to "go in the zone" and achieve the nth degree of level of concentration. Yes, this requires zero distractions and so limiting the use of cellphones may help, it is not the complete answer since the concentration is not directed at an useful activity to begin with.
  • Sep 10 2012: yes, this would be a big step to regain mental peace. I have noticed that people who have limited the use of these gadgets in their life can give more time to their family.. which leads to mental peace.. some people just don't attend calls after 10 pm no matter who ever is calling..
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    Sep 9 2012: First I would like to have "mental peace" defined. If you are "metallly distrubed" .... that ain't good.

    I am concerned about where we are going with all of this finger pointing and the blame game.

    I have a heck of a headache .... darn beer ... yep jumped right into your hand a held a gun on you yelling drink me ... drink me. She said I was loud, rude, crude, had the hands of an octypus, and the manners and understand of a cave man ... she wans't my type not my fault. So I sold the company secrets ... if they paid me what I am worth I might not have done it. Their fault.

    Can a cellphone, TV, or internet dominate your life ... not without your permission. Yep thats right you did it not the inanimate object. We hear all of this crap at home, work, on the news, in the political debates .... it is everywhere. Not my fault. That is a load of crap. I do not care where the problem came from. You are in the office now and it is YOUR problem to solve ... so knock off the whining and get to work. I will judge you by the progress you make in my decision of if to vote for you again. Ain't looking good so far.

    I have a basic cellphone that my wife calls me on to say she also needs salt when I am at the store. I have a TV and a computer that have a ON / OFF switch. If I watch to much TV or use the computer to much I DID IT.

    If you think you are a slave to these devices do not come whining to me .... You will not like the answer.

    Everything in moderation.

    All the best. Bob
  • Sep 9 2012: We should limit our use of cellphones, Internet, and tv to get back our mental peace. However, I believe teens should be more concern, because they are the next generations that are going to be leading the world. If they are still glued with technology how they are now, the future won't be a happy place. The future might have some young ladies giving birth, man sleeping with every women he can touch, a government that wont know how to govern, or children disobeying their elders to go out in the world and do earthly actions. If the teens where glued with technology for the good use of it, this might be a different story;however, the majority of teens are not utilizing technology effectively.
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    Sep 9 2012: I would say yes we should limit it, but no because I feel it assimilated with the recent generations to the point of an addiction and I guess we should examine mental peace being critical thinking or being able to be stress free?

    In my opinion, learning to decipher and analyze the information and the noise is a more progressive method, than distancing ourselves from the culprits called cellphones, the internet, and TV, though exercise and health should be thought about and addressed as well because people around the world are perishing from their lack of awareness of self.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts, Hope to read yours.
  • Sep 9 2012: Hey Anil

    We actually can live happier with less than what we have.
    I am pretty sure there are millions of items we have got at our homes and garages that we can live without them.
    we enslaved ourselves by wanting to have them and buy them.

    I can't believe how many people nowadays sitting in a bar with friends and paying with their smartphones or watching stupid TV programs and not socialising.

    people go to theatre and instead of enjoying the play they take pictures and send to Facebook telling their "friends" what they are doing and where they are, where in actual fact they have no idea what the play is all about.
    Specially the new youth going to a concert or a party, still hanging on phones , texting their friends about the concert yet not knowing who is playing or the name of the band.
    you sit in a bar with a young lady what they talk about is how many apps they have got in their iPhones. or in the middle of conversation they get a facebook message and go into it to reply. and you sit there at stare till they finish their business. even some goes to loo with their PC, because now we have WiFi everywhere.

    I am so sorry for our society, for the new generation (I call them, iGeneration) they lost the real contact and communication manners with real people. now everything has to be written, (this is more believable then spoken words) I talk to my young friends they con't maintain eye contact, they move constantly and making annoying gestures.

    I believe that we "don't" have slaves but we are slaves.

    as Nigel Marsh said: "There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation, who work long, hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like"

    Now, I don't think we can eliminate that out of our lives, it already become part of our life.
    what we can use it teach our youth the effective use of it. the advantage and disadvantage of it
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    Sep 9 2012: Today itself I read a great article by a world class hacker "My life after Anonymous: 'I feel more fulfilled without the internet''

    Hope this will help the debate.
  • Sep 9 2012: Some of the happiest moments in my life happen when we are at our family hunting camp in upstate Pennsylvania. We just got a land line phone installed there in the last 5 years. No internet, no cell phone, no cable. Unfortunately our technology is portable so I won't say we don't have computers and DVDs to entertain us. The great thing is that the more time you spend there the easier it is to let go of the technology. The stress of my everyday life can be put on the back burner. I can enjoy the family and people that are there with me. My stress can't find me.

    The unfortunate part is that leaving to go home can be very upsetting. I know that the phone calls, the e-mails, the internet, cable news, and all the stress are waiting for me when I return.
  • Sep 9 2012: Sir, I just read your essay and I too sometimes ponder on the same thought i.e 'MAN created gadgets to use or become tools at the gadget's disposal'. The present generation suffers from the 'connect disease' and the moment you take away these three things they behave irrationally and say (this is generation Y and you wont understand).
    But would it really solve the problem ,ie not to use them for single day.
    I believe the new generation needs to be taught semantics to use these tools at their disposal not to depend on them.
    They should be made aware of the power of thinking rather than 'GOOGLE' a solution to it.Facebook and other social sites should be a platform of concern sharing and not relationship status sharing.
    There should be advertisements on BOOKs and the generation should be urged to read.
  • Sep 9 2012: Anil, your essay speaks to a lack of intention amongst the youth you were basing your observations on. They appear to be of a generation that has not known "un-connectivity" as perhaps you and I did as youngsters. They do not have that frame of reference to base their decisions upon. Whether it is addiction or not remains to be seen, but I do know that in addiction recovery, many programs encourage patients to "think through the drink/drug, etc" to see the consequences on the other side of what they might initially believe to be a fairly innocuous action at first. If people would stop and ask themselves what they are doing and why and what the outcome of their actions might be, they may reconsider the idea of being constantly at the beck and call of their electronic devices.
  • Sep 8 2012: Smart phones, cell phones, boom boxes. Walkman's and cigarette smoking have all usurped thinking and listening to our thinking.
    Because people feel so busy and important, they think they are really doing something but they are only becoming more and more distant from themselves and the thoughts that are begging for their attention.

    Now some people think it wonderful that with some of these gadgets they are slaves to, they can do more and more and more and more and more and more, all at once, totally divorced from more important things.
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    Sep 8 2012: Thanks for your question Anil. I often think about this subject and how it is speeding up my own perception of time. I do have a frame of reference to compare. When I was a boy, I spent a lot of time in a rural farming community where my father and grandfather grew crops. I recall my grandfather and I visiting a great aunt. She didn't have a lot of material possessions, a quaint one bedroom home, no car, no television. I always remember a calming peace in her presence. She wore a simple dress, an apron, and house slippers. She always made fresh cookies, lemonade and tea. We sat in the living room and my grandfather talked with her about simple things, the weather, crops, times long past, etc. The only sound you could hear was a clock "ticking" on the wall. I think that due to our fast-paced lifestyles that our lives will have a perception of being shorter lived.

    I also feel that I am a slave to my lifestyle. We as a society want more and more. We want bigger, better, faster, flashier, more expensive. We desire those status symbols to validate who we are and to garner respect. We live beyond our means and justify it because everyone else is doing it. I'm sick of it really. I would love to regress back to a simpler life. I think something about it appeals to our basic human instincts.
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    Sep 8 2012: I do remember what life was like without my cell phone, and it was filled with some sort of chaotic peace. My cell phone has become my safety blanket, I almost feel "naked" without it on me or extremely nearby (codependancy at it's worst?). Last month, my dogs ate my cable wires and I have been left without any TV since then. I have been too lazy to call the cable company since my cable works downstairs, but I'm upstairs 95% of the time. I cannot tell you how WONDERFULLY LIBERATING it has been for me. I've read more in this past month than I have in two years, and I've been more productive in all areas of my life. I even created a TED Talk meeting group in Houston! Do yourself a favor all, get rid of your TV - you're brain cells will thank you for it.
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      Sep 8 2012: I am delighted with your experience. Let thousand flowers like yours bloom.

      Cheers and best wishes.
    • Sep 8 2012: Welcome to the club!
      I do have a cell phone just in case, but I don't really use it.
      The result Facebook , no Twitter.
      I felt a bit isolated at first, but now that I am not obsessed with using it, I can always give myself a break.
      Life's getting more profound, not superficial. :)
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        Sep 8 2012: I'm working even when I'm on vacation...I'll muster up the courage one day to store my phone away for a day, maybe.
  • Sep 7 2012: I think we have to wait some years before we take actions. Means, what you experienced in your essay is probably the first generation of young people who "can" use text message, internet 24/7.

    The generation before had no internet connection and cell phones were too expensive. And you have to see that being insecure in social situations is kind of "normal" for young people, the older they get, the less insecure they gonna be. It will be interesting to look at these students in ten years, at the moment it can't be predicted what will happen.

    I think that other aspects do have a larger impact, for example that the free time for young people has become less, they spend a lot more time at school or university than ever before, and when they work it is the same. If they want to communicate, text message and internet is in many cases the only option that is left over.

    It is right that the new media distracts them from school or work, but, in my generation nobody complained when children "played" outside for hours and were completly off the radar. Todays children and young people simply have no time for this, as their parents and society set pressure on them by forcing them to start with career orientated lifestyle almost right after birth.

    So, they probably get distracted, but to the right path? They want to communicate, but not only based on career aspects or in career related situations. That they do not discuss Wittgenstein via text message should not worry anyone seriously, as my generation and generations before who had no cell phone also did not do this, neither by letter, nor in face to face contacts.

    What i see as a problem is that adults seem to get unable to react patiently and mature on young peoples needs. Nobody wants to be a parent anymore, neither the parents, nor the society. There have been times where the privilege of youth was exactly what they are shouted for today: to be dumb, naive, imperfect and weird.
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    Sep 7 2012: I think the best course of action will be to do this control ourselves and then share our stories so as to inspire others specially young people.

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    Sep 7 2012: I agree as i'm addicted though i have opted to go without a cellphone i still have to have one during the week,now i just have to get off the net,i've given myself to the end of the year.....dreading it!

    Once i decided to go without the phone during home time and weekends, i realized i didn't need it or did i need to check up on things or had to know what was happening across the planet,there is an unnatural stress that we take on or those that are susceptible to such addictive behaviour take on,i think or feel like i'm missing out on something that's actually not real.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 7 2012: My life became so much easier when I gave up my cell phone last year. It was like reclaiming my right to own my time.
  • Sep 7 2012: This is more profound than I had noticed at first. How can we think or experience so many aspects of life with the constant distraction of these devices.
  • Sep 7 2012: Obviously, and for reasons other than those you have wisely suggested. Of course, one must make exceptions for work, but stress is hard on people. Life involves so much more than just playing with toys.