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EDITORIAL: Dangers Of Digital Age



The digital age, also called the information age, is defined as the time period starting in the 1970s at the introduction of the personal computer with subsequent technology providing the ability to transfer information freely and quickly.

No doubt, the world has become a global village, a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan to describe the world that has been “shrunk” by modern advances in communications.

Internet has so become an important part of life that most of us use it every day. It is an extraordinary place for studying, communicating, entertaining, working as well as the biggest information source in the world. Thus, Internet provides many benefits and helps improve quality of living of the people everywhere. It is a fact that one can communicate with anyone with access to the Internet and can watch any conceivable news station, share opinions and do other things.

Through internet technology, the world is informed in real time about some far away disaster or war, about other human sufferings, terrorist acts, novel developments in other world affairs among everything else. All said, it is an accepted fact that humanity is in a global village in which the media are trying to bring everyone and everything together.

There’s no gainsaying the fact that with the advances in technology and communication, life has, indeed, become simpler and easier with hitherto complex tasks made simpler and easier.The boom in digital connectivity has brought gains in productivity, health, education, quality of life and myriad other avenues in the physical world—and this is true for everyone, from the most elite users to those at the base of the economic pyramid.

Being connected virtually makes people feel seemingly equal with access to the same basic platforms, information and online resources even though significant differences persist in the physical world.

As digital connectivity reaches the far corners of the globe, the resulting gains in efficiency and productivity has been profound, particularly in developing countries, like Nigeria, where technological isolation and bad policies have stymied growth and progress for years.  The accessibility of affordable smart devices, including phones and tablets, has also been transformative in these countries.

For instance, the impact of basic mobile phone device for farmers in Nigeria helped a great deal in boosting its agricultural outcomes. Everyone in society benefits from digital data, as governments can better measure the success of their programmes, and media and other nongovernmental organisations can use data to support their work and check facts.

However, we note with sadness that just like the benefits which have enriched the world, digital age is gradually eroding humanity and neighbourly love towards one another as we know it. For instance, just like the success story of the agricultural revolution in Nigeria, brought about with the aid of the mobile phones, many negatives including deaths are being adduced to the digital era.

Health experts are worried that many diseases and even deaths are preventable if the victims present themselves early with their symptoms. That, also, is the case with accident victims. Nigeria records one of the highest morbidities arising from crashes on the road, in the world. Yet, most of these deaths on the road could have been prevented if co-travellers rendered timely rescue mission to the hapless victims. But this is not so as they spend those quality minutes videoing the victims.

As heartless as this may seem, many Nigerians would rather record live, victims at the throes of death in order to upload immediately on the Internet, than lift a finger to offer assistance. The Internet is awash with gory video of such, portraying the fact that the human race is turning on itself.

The world, in our view, in the abuse of the digital platform, may have unwittingly turned into a vortex of evil, greed, wickedness and selfishness like never before. What the digital age has done in spite of the seeming comforts it has bestowed on humanity, is to strip the populace of its basic act of kindness.

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate, warm, gentle, help, extending acts of service to the needy, showing concern, care and affection towards one another. Kindness most times doesn’t cost anything but one will be the richer for it. To this extent, we urge Nigerians, in particular to, while enjoying the benefits of the world as a global village made possible by digital technology they should also avoid its dangers which tend to strip consumers of the facility of the fellow-feeling that ought to be part of it.



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