January 11, 2023
It’s a Microbial World
February 7, 2023

Digital Devices or Lost Opportunities?

I heard the scream of a new born in the hospital as I was visiting an ailing friend. “Aww” was my first reaction as I saw the mother and the baby being wheeled out of the L&D, with the father walking behind. As the nurse was talking to the new parents, I couldn’t help but notice the new shiny device that was placed right next to the baby, in a “smart” gift-wrap. To my bewilderment, it was a smartphone! Several questions ran through my mind faster than the speed of lightening. Why would a minutes-old baby receive one? Was I missing something?

With more instructions from the nurse, strange words fell on my ears. The baby was given a smart device because no child can survive without one. On this device, were all the apps a newborn could possibly need to keep him/herself entertained. There was a babysitting app where the parents could switch it on so that a “nanny” would talk to the baby in a gentle voice narrating stories and singing lullabies. And then as I was listening to the lullaby, my alarm went off….. and I woke up shocked at this alternate reality.

Remember, your smartwatch telling you to keep moving because you didn’t hit your 10,000-step mark, while your body was nudging you to rest? What your smartwatch did not know was that you were too tired, stressed or sick, but your body did. Who should we really listen to? Our bodies or our devices that have become an inseparable part of our bodies?

We are glued to some digital device or the other throughout the waking day, or even at night with our smartwatches keeping a “watch” on us. The smartwatch tells us that it is time to wake up or sleep instead of our own circadian rhythm telling us so. We spend most of our life inside our smartphones and laptops, and clutter our homes with stuff we don’t even remember we own.

Our bodies are designed perfectly to give us cues about our sleep-wake cycle, our health, our energy levels and many more aspects. The choice of switching off from our own bodies and listening to an artificial (intelligence) device instead, where our habits are built around it, is completely ours. The peer pressure of owning or wearing such devices is at its peak. Children demand smart watches to keep themselves “fit” instead of indulging in free-play.

Any addiction or attachment to any such device is sadly a lost opportunity to use all our senses to feel what our bodies are designed to tell us. These are lost opportunities to interact with other living beings, be it a plant, animal, insect or others in the human race. We lose what we don’t use is something we are getting to experience very often.

-Team Microbiome Superhero

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