Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Net Nannies in IIT

IIT Mumbai recently announced to ban free intenet access for thier students in hostels for 13 hours from 11 pm onwards. The reason given was that free internet access was making students into net addicts and social recluse. IIT even claimed that free internet access in hostels is one of the reasons for higher rates of suicide by students. Whereas problem of net addiction is not new (China is even opening net de-addiction centers) and is only to get worse with time as internet becomes more and more available and as new generation gets more tech savvy, its ban in an IIT on the given reasons is only ludicurous.

If there are indeed students who spend time in surfing net and blogging, listening to music or watching movies on it, there would also be students who use internet in doing something more useful. Students will always be students. They would always do things which they want to do regardless of what teachers and professors want them to do. And anybody who has been to a professional college would know this. If it is not internet surfing then they will perhaps read novles or play cards. Or may be they will donwload music and movies during the day and watch them during the night. If studetns become addicted to reading, would IIT then ban the books? It is not that if there is no internet acess after 11.30 pm, suddenly students will become early risers, attend classes on time and start playing sports. I mean, even while there was no internet access, students used to be late to classes and found ways of killing time.

Banning internet access is not a solution. There are other ways of making students socialise. By the way, I dont really understand what do they mean by socialising. Having a girlfriend!! Some of geeky students I have known dont really like socialising and are happier when left on thier own device. Students who go to IIT are some of brightest of the country and I dont think that they need to be told what to do and what not to do. And anyway they will find a way around the ban. Clever,bright people have little respect for hierarchy and authority when it is imposed. Students in an engineering college are matured enough to decide for themselves what is good and what is bad for them. Regulating internet access is a bad solution. A college dedictated to produce technologists, need to be more tolerant of technology and Net nannies just need to chill.

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