Mr Chetan Bhagat, a celebrated Indian author, wrote an open letter to us, the Indian Youth. (Here is the link) The points he put forward in his article only addressed the negative aspects of using smartphones. What he did not consider was that there could also be a positive side of this coin.
Having frequent opportunities to interact with the youth, I thought it incumbent on me to bring out some of the positive benefits of this little device in your pocket and to let the youth know that it can change their life. Infact, it has already changed many lives.
The Pandemic And Our Smartphones
So think back to 20th March when Covid-19 forced our country to go into lock down. There we were stuck in our homes for more than 2 months. Imagine if you did not have the internet and a smartphone, how would you have survived these traumatic times ?
Feelings of loneliness would have led us up to paths so dark that the consequences would have been devastating. Fortunately, these 6.5 inch blessings in our pockets were there with us and we felt the camaraderie and support of others through experiences shared on the social media, which gave us hope, support and the strength to carry on.
The government too was able to provide us with support, information, guidance and the necessities of life only through various apps. From ration to medical needs, all were taken care of with different apps. So how do you think we would have fared without our phones.
In addition to that our whole education system moved to an online mode. It was only possible because the smartphone and internet is easily accessible to us today.
Being quarantined myself for more than a month, I can certainly tell you that online services were pivotal in saving my life. Living away from your family, when no one can come near you is not easy. It is all because of the apps that gave me life saving services. I was all dependent on food delivered by Swiggy, Medical Services from Practo and crockery from home centre.
How is Smartphone Changing Lives
But let’s say, if the pandemic had never come, then were our smartphones useless before the pandemic ?
The answer is a blunt NO!
India’s Youth averages a screen time of 5 hour, which is almost one third of our daily productive hours. So what are we making out of those 5 hours. To know that we need to dive deep in a day in the life of a young productive Indian.
Let’s assume a kid of 19 who spends 6 hours on his smartphone. Then is he wasting these full 6 hours??
Take a close look, he can be watching videos of great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs. Maybe he is sharpening his communication skills. Maybe he is looking for a freelance job with apps like LinkedIn. Maybe he is trying to sharpen his fitness game. Or even the worst case, he is watching vlogs of some Youtuber, there too there are 100 things that he can learn.
So can you say he is wasting all his time ? No you can’t.
The problem is that we don’t realise that the meaning of productive has changed. The things we previously considered productive might be obsolete today. The things we saw as a waste of time like smartphones can be the gamechangers today.
India’s youth is more entrepreneurial today than it ever was. When we were in our 20’s none of us thought of making a company that will solve people’s problems. Today, Entrepreneurs are heroes of the nation’s youth because they are way more aware than we were.
Majority of successful startups today are based on either a mobile application or website. Zomato to Ola to Practo, all are making our lives so easy. So that we can focus on things that really matter.
The world has also become way fairer for everyone. Small towner or a metro city guy both have chance to make their mark on social media. As a result of which, Youtubers like Hemant Moheto from Bokaro or Digital Prateek have emerged. People Like Abhi &Niyu who have now got millions of followers on platform like Instagram, they are spreading a message of entrepreneurship to every young indian mind.
So we can surely say smartphones have changed lives and for good.
Opportunities with Smartphones
Social Media has alone created more than a million jobs today. Influencers to content creators to writers, all have platforms today. Shakespeare said ages ago “The World’s a Stage” but today it’s the truth of our lives. You don’t need a stage. Just pop out your phone and start making whatever you wanted to. Act. sing, play or do something unique. Making a career in unconventional fields is 10 times easier today, if not more.
Today’s kid doesn’t have to be an Engineer, Doctor or a Lawyer, he has a thousand career options open to him. Now how would it have all been possible without our smartphones.
In this era youngsters are earning with their creativity. Platforms like Youtube for video makers, Yourquote for writers, Spotify for communication experts. Video Editing and photography have emerged as fields with a high potential. Even to find jobs, you have apps like LinkedIn where your skills are your identity. With just a simple smartphone, they can do this all and earn in lakhs.
They can potentially earn way more than the people who spend many years earning a degree. The skills we learnt in 4 years, the youth of today learn them in a few months and start earning soon thereafter. If they face any problem then then they can get help from google which again can be accessed through a smartphone.
We as the people who have seen both the pre-smartphone and smartphone era’s, should accept the change. We need to accept that smartphones have potential and can bring much good. We need to understand that just ranting about the bad effects is going to serve no purpose. Rather if we want to make them aware of the bad aspects, then we have to do so by highlighting the method to fruitfully utilise the much maligned smartphone to further our careers and achieve our aims.
So let our 4G generation be 4Ever learning. With that, I, ‘Free Flying Eagle’ Neetu Chopra will be signed off.
Picture credits to Sify.com, Pinterest, Sentinel.com