WhatsApp – Taming the Genie
No scientific or technological innovation comes exclusively with benefits. Always the pros and cons come as a package. Nothing is exceptional in this regard. Months back in Creofire we wrote about the acquisition of WhatsApp, an android application that has gained never before recognition among the mobizens ( if internet users are called netizens, why not call net users in mobile platforms be called mobizens) by social networking giant Facebook, at a breath stopping price tag.
There have been news reports now and then flashing in media that threw light on the positive aspects of the application that in fact has redefined the way we communicate with each other in the digital realm. Its role in sharing information at blazing speeds proved a viable mean to sharing life saving information such as alerts during natural calamities. The application had redefined the information sharing and the entire work culture of journalists and media people. It has lately become a promising, fool proof, tech tool for sting operations that keep stirring the political and administrative circles at regular intervals. WhatsApp videos have become key evidences in certain cases. From sex rackets to bribery nothing gets spared with this.
In February, a clip of a gang rape, sent deliberately by a social activist in WhatsApp, gained national attention instantly forcing the law keepers to take actions against the culprits. This application is handier enabling anyone with a normal smart phone to respond to local social discrepancies of any kind to bring into public attention sooner than any other social networking platform. A photo or a video clip can go viral broadcasting the news and demand response and reaction from authorities.
But like I said, the positive side always comes with an undesirable company. In the recent months several incidents have been reported across media, globally, of the troubles caused by this wonderful technological marvel. The cons of WhatsApp range from causing familial problems to broken relationships to things as serious as that challenging national security.
Earlier this month an unprecedented educational racket surfaced in the state of Tamil Nadu, where the core issue was fraudulent use of WhatsApp. Teachers of a private school were caught red handed, by the flying squad team, helping their own students during the HSC board exams. To realize the action plan of their school bosses, they have reportedly sneaked into the exam halls where their school children were taking their Math exams. Soon after the commencement of the exams the question papers were photographed page by page and sent to the Math teacher via WhatsApp. Shortly after, the answers were received through the same way. This invited large scale criticism statewide; questioning the credibility of the achievements of the school concerned in the past, for the school had produced state ranks earlier. Last week, we heard from Lucknow, Utter Pradesh, a similar exam scam widely reported. This time it was about selling UPSC question papers via WhatsApp.
These are just a tip of the iceberg, some examples to quote. But something very seriously trending up is the WhatsApp addiction among teens. Just in a short span of time this app has managed to take the social networking arena by storm and claim the crown for itself. Across the globe there have been serious concerns raised by educators and teachers alike over youngsters squandering their time more and more in WhatsApp.
Not just it stops with personal problems. It has recently attracted the attention of the governments, issuing guidelines addressing the limits of transparency for personnel serving in key government sectors – defense, banking staff for instance. The more worried Indian government has lately urged the IT companies to come up with more viable and secured platform for official interpersonal communication platforms by these crucial sectors, exclusively.
Any technological innovation is a genie that can only be tamed only by personal, controlled indulgence. Taming the genie is learning the art of balancing its usage on necessity and never letting it to become habitual.