Correlation Between Technological Progress and Social Maturity

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The emergence of technology has increased the pace with which development previously took place. It revolutionised films, literature, trade, culture of consumerism and communication and much more. It took Homo Sapiens about 20,000 years to shift from cave paintings to petro glyphs (carvings on rocks). With the advent of technologies like printing press, information can be conveyed over various societies in a matter of day and it started bringing together uncommon people and their ideas. Accelerating development has led to a wide distribution of smart phones to all commoners. This brought many changes in the level of information and thought one processes. It enables people to gain any information they can ask about, helps share talent and collaborate with other maestros’, advertise their products and much more. Several injustices have gained a voice through technology. Developing social media makes it easier for authorities and common masses to be aware of different issues and take a stand against right or wrong. A current example of a social movement giving voice to a revolutionizing ideology is the #metoo movement. It gives victims more chances of being connected to the external population and finding likeminded people or the ones who can help change or do something about the unjust present.

However, technology has also brought its baggage of negatives with it. Newspapers are often filled with cases of cyber bullying, trusts broken over sexing, teens finding confirmation in felonious ideas and many more. Although laws have been developed to protect the privacy of an individual online, there are millions of people undergoing emotional disturbances due to social media. According to a 2017 survey by royal society of public health, youngsters have reported that while social media gave them opportunities for better self-expression and wider community development, it has also led them to anxiety, depression, reduced sleep, excessive worrying about their figures and fear of missing out. (The economist, 2018) In another survey of about 1000 people, 77% people reported that social skills over the last 20 years have been declining due to omnipresence of technology and that mobile phones are making people increasingly rude. (Doughty, 2018) Social media has also popularized several inconsiderate actions like the Kiki challenge wherein many people had accidents and lost their lives. The government had to put up public notices to ban people from participating into something that could so thoughtlessly kill them. (India times, 2018)

The dynamics of the society and individual groups are changing in positive and negative light, bringing a range of changes in people’s morals, choices, preferences and much more. In this environment of omnipresent technology, it is integral for all the users to have a certain level of social maturity. Social maturity is defined as the level of social intelligence a person displays. It can be inferred from the choices a person makes towards the society, in response to changing group dynamics, peers and family. A socially mature individual would act as per the ethics taught to him/her by family, friends or people admired. He/she would have a focused attitude towards work and would display aptness in taking independent decisions.

Adolescents are individuals who are transitioning from childhood to adulthood and undergo many major changes of their personality and identity formation. The adolescent learns to interact with the community and in turn discovers self, forms opinions, beliefs and reflects upon intentions. The need of belonging grows and seeks to be satisfied among the peers. The adolescents are often prone to lie, cheat or in extreme cases, hurt someone in order to achieve a favourable opinion or be accepted by a group.

These adolescents are among the early, enthusiastic receivers of the developing technology. This is the first generation which grew up with technology and is bombarded with tons of information from a very early age. Therefore, it seems apt to primarily understand the views of adolescents who will be the torch bearers of further development. The parents on the other hand tend to be a little apprehensive about their kids engaging into excessive use of technology and try restricting the hours of usage. (Mikelic, 2016) Giving adolescents a proper way to channel their thoughts or an outlet to express their concerns is integral for a healthy development.

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Another important aspect which should also be meticulously noticed is anger management. Aggressive behavior accounts for an alarming proportion of referrals of children to mental health services. Some portions of them who display conduct problems face the police custodies and judges rather than the mental health services.

Adolescents who display anger via aggressive tendencies often lack the ability to resolve situational and relational conflicts due to problem-solving deficiencies particularly as they relate to the generation of new and creative solutions or the ability to adapt effectively to existing solutions (Lochman, et al., 2013). Conversely, individuals severely restricting their expression of anger may also endorse socially inappropriate behaviors as well (Kerr & Schneider, 2007). Thus it is paramount that children be able to regulate the emotional expression of anger in socially acceptable ways to preserve their relations with others as well as to ensure their emotions are heard and recognized in socially and culturally appropriate fashions.

Objectives:

  1. To study anger management and difference in gender across Indian adolescents
  2. To study social maturity levels and difference in gender of Indian adolescents
  3. To analyse the influence of technology and difference in gender on Indian adolescents

Literature review

  1. Deepali Dogra and Seema Sharma (2018) conducted a study to assess the impact of technology usage on social maturity of teenagers of Ludhiana district in urban and rural setting. On correlating a self-structured qualitative questionnaire measuring the frequency of usage of various types of technology like mobile phone, television and computer with social maturity scale revealed that there was a positive correlation between usage of technology and social maturity in urban teens and the opposite was true in case of rural teens. Talking in particular about the results social maturity scale, it was noticed that urban teens scored significantly higher in components like work orientation ability, ability to take stress, social commitment and openness to change. The rural teenagers on the other hand, scored significantly higher in components of trust and communication patterns. On the whole, about 70% of the sample had only average maturity.
  2. Mishra, Dubey and Kumari (2017) did a study on social maturity of adolescence between 12 – 15yr. They claimed that adolescence is an age for individuals to express social maturity. Social maturity is the process of establishing a satisfactory relation between individual and environment. The results were obtained from a sample of 30 boys and 30 girls after conducting a test among two local colleges. As per the results, girls were found to be more socially mature than boys, but on the whole about 66 % of the population was highly mature. The study also shows that adolescences from families of lower income were more mature than the ones belonging to a household earning more 25,000 per month.
  3. An important concept in children’s emotional knowledge is the understanding and appreciation of the social guidelines used in expressing and regulating emotions (negative emotions in particular) during social interactions with others (Parker et al., 2001). Emotional regulation is both an intrinsic and extrinsic procedure used to monitor, evaluate and modify emotional responses to facilitate the accomplishment of one’s goals (e.g., maintain friendships, completing work on time; Thompson, 1994). Furthermore, emotional recognition and expression play crucial roles in the conception of social information processing that convey information to guide and shape social interactions with other people (Denham et al., 2002). Generally, individuals experiencing higher levels of anger arousal tend to endorse a more expressive and less restrictive display of their anger (Kerr & Schneider, 2007). Indeed, anger and hostility have frequently been associated with aggressive behaviors including defiance, temper tantrums and antisocial tendencies, suggesting that an influx of negative emotions and emotional deregulation may be key constructs and potential indicators of early behavioral problems later in childhood (Denham, et al., 2000).
  4. Altınay’s (2013), research named “The Relationship between Internet and Computer Use and Aggression among High School Students” has examined the relationship between internet, computer use and aggression among high school students. 285 volunteers were chosen from different schools belonging to different socioeconomic classes. According to the results, there is a significant difference between the aggression scores of the students who stated that they use computer games and the Internet regularly and the ones who don’t. A significant difference between aggression levels of males and females was also found. Males reported higher aggression levels. Within that group, students who play violent games involving war showed higher aggression levels.
  5. The study examines whether internet intimidation causes behavioral problems in the school. After conducting a cross sectional survey of about 1588 youth, the results indicated that children who had experienced internet harassment (of any form, like a rude comment or threat) were more likely to be detained from school, gain lower marks and carry a weapon around. The authors endorse a need for support from professionals working especially in schools to be aware of possible linkages between maladaptive behavior and usage of internet. (Ybarra, Diener-West and Leaf, 2007)
  6. Nazari, mohammad reza & Salleh Bin, Md & Hassan, Md Salleh & Osman, Mohd Nizam & Yasin, Megat Al Imran & Yasin¹, Bin & Dr, Prof & Md, Salleh & Bin, Hj & , Hassan. (2013). Conducted a study on primary school students (grade 1- 5) to ascertain whether exposure to television increases the level of aggression. The results of 424 students, calculated by linear regression and correlation method, indicated a positive correlation between the two variables. Aggression was more significant in cases of students who viewed action movies or violent content. The findings in this study also add support to the recommendation that parents of young children limit not only the amount but also the content of their child’s media exposure.

Method

The sample consists of 100 adolescents divided into two groups of age 11- 13 and 14 – 16. They were chosen on the basis of convenience sampling. The inclusion criteria consists of children well versed in English and belonging to a middle class family earning about 25,000 – 50,000 per month.

Tools and Tests used:

  1. Children’s inventory of anger developed by Dr W.M. Nelson and Dr A.J. Finch. This tool has 39 questions to comprehensively asses the intensity of anger experienced by a child in response to a variety of potential anger arousing situations. The language is easily understood by any kid above 3rd grade.
  2. Social maturity scale developed by Dr. Nalini Rao. This scale aims to identify and measure social maturity as an outcome of child growth and development rather than as a clinical symptom. It measures social maturity among 3 dimensions – Personal adequacy, Interpersonal adequacy and Social adequacy.
  3. A third qualitative form is developed to measure the technology usage of children. Apart from the hours of use it also aimed to find the type of use that the kids engage in.

Results and Analysis

The current data offers a comparative study between the children of age group 11 to 13 and of 14- 16, on the basis of 3 factors- their social maturity, anger management levels and their use of internet.

The sample population belongs to a middle class household earning about 25000 to 50000 a month. This indicates that the household is bound to have a television, smart phones for husband and the wife and the children might be allowed a second hand phone for occasional use or would be promised one after 12th or 10th grade. Under normal circumstances their exposure to internet is limited to looking for information on a certain class project or area of extreme interest recommended betterment by peers or family.

However, playing games on phone is also a favorite past time for children since playing in the streets with friends is less and less plausible. The children are either enrolled in hobby or tuition classes and rarely have more than one sibling. The virtual world offers more exciting refuges to their wandering minds and thus, they end up yearning for more and more time with technology.

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