If checking your phone is the first and the last activity of your day; if your daily digital screen time is more than half of the clock, then congratulations dear user, you’ve successfully made it to the virtual world. Etymologically speaking it is anything that is ‘made to appear to exist by the use of computer software’, ranging from a scientific program in Antarctica to a virtual library in your city. The commencement of this virtual or the digital era, as one may call it, goes back to 1950s-1960s. Who knew that someone’s invention of computer combined with other’s internet invention could end up creating a whole new world for people to experience and at the same time exist in? Be it interacting with each other, playing games, having wars or creating a whole new personality of oneself, the world now enjoys the power to give its best day dreams and worst nightmares a whole new meaning, whilst living with a sense of normalcy. This new sphere of technology, being on its peak in the contemporary world, is constantly upgraded to serve the world.
There is an ancient adage, popularized as the Peter Parker Principle that states, “With great power comes great responsibility”. In this digital age, where nearly 91% of the world uses mobile along with internet being available in the remotest regions, almost each individual, holds power. So just like a two-sided coin, everything comes with its own pros and cons and the virtual world is surely no stranger to it. Speaking of the brighter side that we hope you are thriving on; we start off by expressing and being forever thankful and grateful to it for bringing people from around the globe together at a click via various applications, from Google to Meta; providing jobs and livelihood to millions of people via digital media platforms with professions like youtubers, bloggers, vloggers, gamers etc.; adding a whole new sphere of entertainment and relaxation via OTT platforms and various self-help applications. I mean, can you even imagine how we survived before memes existed? The list is almost unending.
However, the problem begins when one starts to get so immersed in the bubble that they forget about the existence of an actual world beyond the virtuality. A world wherein you can’t wake up again if you lose a life. One cannot rule out the fact that many a times when people indulge too much of their selves in this artificial sphere that it starts to feed on their self- esteem and self- confidence instead of making their lives at ease. When people start getting trolled because of their appearances, it often takes a toll on them, both physically and psychologically. A space where one can get popular at the comfort of their own choices also has the potential to become a constant rat race, which if they don’t win, it’s not just the race that they lose but a lot more by then. Resulting in under confident personalities, it leads to validation seeking behaviour from unknown people. Affecting the ‘real’ interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, the ‘virtuality’ successfully influences every aspect of one’s life. Be it the cyber frauds that take place or the irreplaceable real lives that the virtual web has taken away via games and challenges such as the blue whale and the chocking, the digital world’s darker side is no less than a black hole.
To live in the virtual world is to lighten the mood and enjoy time to oneself, but the fact to be never forgotten is that the place of escape should never be ones own home; the reality. Thus, we can state that not the entire virtual arena is ‘a good place’. It stands to be grey as imperfect as our real lives.