The modern world is influenced by the factors of global information access. Free access to the information sources affirms a rapid development of information infrastructure, technology, politics, culture, education, and economics. It is a result of the transition from the industrial society to the information one. Nowadays, information in all its forms is becoming more significant. It is being turned into a powerful resource and product that can be found alongside with other material goods. All the information is provided with the help of information technologies that influence people’s life styles, their work and education, the cooperation between the state and the civil society. The paper will discuss the impact of information technology on the social relationships in the Asian societies.
In the today’s fast developing world, there is an opinion that technologies fracture relationships in families. For example, a traditional family dinner in China is no longer considered to be a necessity, but rather an old-fashioned ritual (Zhen & Wei 2008). A mealtime has turned into a hasty affair during which people do not share their experience and emotions. They do not inquire about the problems or success of other family members. People tend to be busier with their computers surfing the Internet, watching films and videos or chatting with someone else.
At present, children spend on average three hours a day in front of screens. In other words, they spend at least half of all their time with new technologies instead of doing homework, reading or playing with friends (Zhen & Wei 2008). On the one hand, the new media provides a lot of interesting data, increases children’s knowledge and mental outlook. However, on the other hand, it often depicts violence, crime, and aggression instead of ethics and morality.
The results of the public opinion poll in Japan, where parents were asked about their attitude towards the usage of cell phones by their children, have showed the following fact. Parents do not share such an enthusiasm for information technology as a means of entertainment and communication (Ahiauzu & Odili 2012). It has been proved that the line between childhood and adulthood is blurred due to children’s easy access to the adult world. The majority of parents try to control their kids’ visits to social networks or other websites. It makes parent-child relationships more hostile and increases temptation to be involved in the digital environment despite all the prohibitions.
Gaming and Internet addiction is a common problem in Asian societies. Playing games makes people like zombies, who see nothing except the screen before their eyes. Many people have tried to explain why gaming is so popular in China. Some of the interrogated children have answered that it is a great fun to play games. Meanwhile others have stated that they do it to annoy parents. The head of the rehabilitation center in Beijing argues that the problem is not in the game itself. Instead, he blames parents for the indifference and small amount of time that they pay for the upbringing of their children (Garner 2014).
The usage of the modern IT in education is one of the most important and stable tendencies of the development of the worldwide education process. Information has influenced the process of knowledge acquiring to a great extent. New technologies give an opportunity to intensify education, increase the perception, understand and learn the mass data. In fact, the task of modern students is to employ computers in a proper way in order to avoid their harmful effects.
According to the survey in China (Lepi 2013), even American schools can learn a lot from the Chinese society, when it concerns information technology for students’ needs. Chinese students are more likely to use it during their classes. Besides, they stated that Chinese teachers are more technologically developed. As a result, there is no such a gap between teachers and students. Such a situation will probably be helpful to eliminate the student-centered idea and perceive teacher-student relationships as equal and interdependent (Lepi 2013).
The increasing use of technology has made significant changes in the education of India. It has made a distance education possible. Earlier, the problem of the country has concerned the differentiation between poor and wealthy people. Education was available only for the upper class, while a great number of low-lived people from rural areas had remained illiterate. The distance learning was adopted by many colleges and universities to meet the demands of those students who have had not enough money to be educated through a regular course of study (Ahmed 2011). Distance education has made it possible to democratize education, increase access to the higher education, and promote the quality of education in India. With the help of information technology, the distance between ordinary students and education has been considerably reduced.
As the worldwide network develops, and as IT continues to penetrate human lives, there is an increasing problem related to such important issues as privacy and safety of private values in Japan. A lot of individuals and business firms become the victims of offenses such as dissemination of computer viruses, fraud with Charge Cards, and theft of money from bank accounts, stealing of information, and violation of the rules of computer machinery handling (Shimizu, Ogawa & Fujinuma n. d.). And it is not the whole list of crimes that are called cybercrimes. Frauds use various tricks that constrain users to reveal the insider information. Despite the virtuality of these crimes, their damages are quite detrimental.
Mass media and television has made a significant influence on the culture in India. Its influence is quite evident in the increasing of advertising spreading all over the country. No matter what the place of living is, the caste, or religion of the person has, he or she will probably be glued to the radio or television. Mass media has affected the lives of all people in different ways. It is driving social changes in behavior and human values. Indian culture is one of the oldest cultures in the world. However, with the advent of new information technologies, traditional arts and culture seem to be disappearing (Boruah 2013).
In the past, the Indian theatre, music and drama were essential parts of the culture. Nowadays, everything is replaced by new types of entertainment. It is available to larger groups of people. Bollywood cinema and MP3 players are actually popular with both urban and rural masses. There are two responses to the introduction of such technologies in the Indian society. First, it improves the quality, quantity, and variety of Hindu media products. However, at the same time, it is a drive for social and political factiousness, commercial vulgarity, and religious chauvinism (Lal 2007). The broadcast of TV shows, series, and films is a part of a globalization process. Consequently, American culture is becoming more popular in some parts of the country, i.e. the Indian one.
The result of the information spreading is a change in the social structure of the Indian society. All the people in the country belong to different castes, each of which envisages the abidance by rules concerning marriage, ceremonies, customs, and rituals. With the adoption of the mass media, the relationships between castes and their positions in the society have been fundamentally changed (Lal 2007). A lot of people leave their homes and throng to the cities under the influence of television. They do it with an aim to achieve material benefits advertised by the media. In addition to this, social norms of the country have been infringed changing the dressing styles, behavior, and moral values of the nation. In reality, despite the democratization of life, India has undergone changes that influence social relationships, traditions, and methods of communication.
Japan is the country that has the second largest population of those who use Internet all over the world (Gordon 2000). Although it provides many benefits when increasing a virtual interaction, it also challenges the community because of the lack of face-to-face interactions. Furthermore, the Internet affects language issues, as the majority of Internet users are forced to learn the English language if they want to communicate and get information from the web sites effectively. Another problem is the peculiarity of the Japanese language that has different levels of politeness depending on the status and position of the person. With the increased Internet communication such norms are smoothed over (Gordon 2000).
In fact, it is difficult to define the role and influence of new information and communication technology in the world, in general, and in Asian societies, in particular. The thing is that everything is exposed to its influence: culture, traditions, and the human way of life, behavior and consciousness. Information technology simplifies human’s life to a certain extent, but at the same time it complicates it. The main positive effects of technology are: the increase of leisure class and informed society that follows events and trends, the creation of dense social circles, the reduction of prices, and an opportunity to handle more than one task simultaneously. Despite all the positive effects, communities with developed information technology meet some threats: a change of individuality, hacking, Internet addiction, social isolation, increased probability of diseases, and mental disorders. Information provides knowledge. And as it is known knowledge is wisdom. Only wise use of information gives the advantages to those who obtain it.