Author: Dr. Lateefah Shaaheen An-Nu‘aymi
Excessive playing of video games and spending long hours in front of screens during home quarantine doubled the fears of families regarding the health hazards and psychological damage resulting from addiction of video games – whose popularity generates huge profits for the biggest companies in the world – for they have contributed to destroying the minds of the rising generation and enslaving them to electronic devices.
While the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused heavy losses in the service, industry, and tourism sectors and a significant decline of global airline revenues, and millions of people have been placed in isolation from the world and confined to their homes, one single industry has been flourishing to be the greatest beneficiary of this situation, namely, the video game industry. This was detailed in a report by the American news network CNN, shedding light on the rising demand for video games which conveniently do not require going outdoors.
This phenomenon proved that modern technology has become a double-edged weapon, since the dividing line between its advantages and disadvantages now depends on its use. If an individual harnesses it to acquire knowledge and keep abreast of what is going on outside his immediate world, it becomes a positive means. Conversely, if it is misused, it becomes a negative means, like the case of wasting time on playing electronic games that have evolved into an addiction that is hard for an individual to give up, similar to the addiction to narcotic drugs that incur negative repercussions on the addict.
If we wish to benefit from technological development in building the man of the future, we should concentrate our efforts on harnessing the positive aspects of modern technology. The American Forbes Magazine recently published a report about the importance of conscious thinking in helping individuals avoid the potential adverse effects of technology in our time. The report revealed a recent inclination of individuals and organizations towards “self-review about what technology means to them, and the rejection of the products and services that do not meet their needs,” and this means that people have the freedom to choose to avail themselves of the modern means of technology in a way that meets their needs.
Finally, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change not only what we do but also who we are; it will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our concepts of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet and interact with others, and how we nurture relationships. Therefore, we have to be careful in the way we handle modern technology and use it in a proper way that contributes to the building of the future individual, rather than wasting time on gaming and distractions, which causes us harm.