Recently, IIT Mumbai announced that they are going to restrict the usage of internet in the hostels and it seems couple of other IITs are also planning to follow the same route. Well, I wont say that it isn’t a good decision but I would just say that it might not work as the “the solution”.
I belong to that generation of students, about which the IITs (and the IIITs, the other premier institutes and the nation) is worried. The guys for whom the basic requirements for life is “Roti, Kapda, Makaan and Bandwidth “. Yeah, we were never worried about the internet access (unless of course in 90’s), for us it was always about the bandwidth but thats a different direction of discussion, let me just talk about this Internet addiction and the current restrictions on it.
As I was saying, I am among those guys for whom internet is “almost an addiction”. We check eMails at least 20-30 times a day, scrap each other’s Orkut accounts, read/write/comment blogs, listen to music etc etc. For us newspaper is not necessarily TOI or The Hindu, but news.google.com and in.rediff.com and music is not necessarily Radio Mirchi or Radio City but Raaga, MusiIndiaonline, last.fm, Pandora and RadiBlog.
In college days, I have seen people chatting for 15-20 hours at a stretch. I have seen (and been one of them) people playing multi player games to an extent that they have started hallucinating about the game characters in their real life. I have seen people spending nights and nights by reading online erotic literatures and I have seen people going through several hundreds of Orkut profiles at a stretch; And all that was 3 years back, I don’t know what are the guys doing these days.
I think it all started with chatting. The advent of eMails and chat rooms opened the door which was separating the west from the east. The average Indian Nerd, who was always shy talking to the girl next door, realized that its easier to make friends online. Soon people started coming with all those “Cool Dude 007” ids and “Tall/Dark/Handsome” profiles. No body cared about the fact that actually the “cool dude 007” was a 10th drop out, and the “T/D/H” guy was actually of average height and below average looks. It was cool, it was fun and it turned out to be an addiction.
Another major thing was, the accessibility to all those pornographic materials. All those DESI*****.com just gave everyone another “interesting” reason to go online. Soon the vision that internet is for education, or internet is for connectivity turned into “internet for porn”.
The next few things which laid the final nails in the coffin were the online role playing muliplayer games (AOCs, Warcrafts, Counter Strikes etc) and social networkings sites (Orkut, MySpaces, Friendster and many in that league).
More or less it has happened to every student in the so called premier institutes of India. And however they disagree, they are addicted to at least one of the things that I mentioned above.
Now, the actual problem that I feel is that we cant stop this addiction overnight, merely by restricting the internet access. Its too late for that. May be 5 years back it could have worked. Internet now a days is not limited to labs and hostels, with the widespread of mobile technology its in everyone’s hand now and you cant put restriction on that. (I just wonder how true that reliance slogan was “Kar Lo Duniya Mutthi Mein”. Now a days the world is indeed in your fist. )
I think instead of banning the internet for a couple of hours, they should do something like what IIIT did, a network free day in a month. Where we shutdown all the PCs and all the labs in the entire University and organize some cultural event, which gives students a reason to come out of their dorms and mingle with others.
The another thing is make the classrooms more interactive and fun filled instead of the existing format of boring lectures. The “how” part for this, I leave as a open discussion as of now 🙂
I think I am almost done with this post but as I reach to the end of this I have this serious question to ask, why don’t we hear of IIM grads committing suicides (I haven’t heard of any such incident?) its why always some IITian ?
May be the solution of the actual problem lies in my previous question. May be we need to look at the very design of these universities. May be I am wrong but still this is a fact that there is a fault somewhere in the system, its just that no one knows where exactly it is…
Technorati: India, Higher Education, IIT, Students, Internet, Restriction