Are we in an Era of Inferiority Complex?

April 11, 2018

Gone are the days when we never heard of counsellors. We grew as confident, handsome, balanced and beautiful individuals. We lived in bigger family units (joint families) with minimum advancement and less things around. Friendships and relationships mattered more for us than entertainment itself. We never thought of personality complexes.

Today’s buzz word is complexity. Life, humans and human relationships themselves have become complex. This has subsequently led our children to imbibe that complexity which is clearly evident in their behaviour, attitudes, demands and responses. Kids have become beyond our control. Why all this change? Have we ever reflected on and analysed it?

A mother of a kid shared her woes with me one day, saying. “I realized that what had started off as a simple attraction towards gadgets soon became an inseparable part of my son’s life. Now he is beyond my control.”

Another parent stopped me on my way to school, complaining, “My son as it turns out... during the minimal time he spares from his busy digital schedule to spend with me, he speaks only about his day-to-day experiences which included nothing but - shooting angry birds, running from temple to temple, losing candies, and enthusiastically proclaiming how he punched a character on screen to bleed. I felt really sorry for my kid.”

What has led to this complexity? I should not compare or can never compare our childhood days with that of the present generation. But I realise that things have turned out to be worse ...Did we not spend a lot more time with our parents? Did we not have so many real friends...Did we not run around and play freely? Yes, there were no mobile phones then. Getting permission to even switch on the TV was a huge achievement. And video games were considered a luxury.

On the other hand, today, gadgets are everywhere and dominate a child's childhood. Today’s parents are thrilled to see their children as experts with the latest technologies at their fingertips. But they often fail to realise that the more these gadgets become their friends, the more they start losing real human friends.

Questions that have been troubling me

Is being a technocrat or techno-genius (no doubt most parents feel the same about their kid) the parameter or sign of intelligence in modern kids? What are the causes for our children to become impatient, disobedient, beyond our control? Are our children becoming robots or humans with feelings? Who is to be blamed?

Who is responsible?

Parents are partly responsible because gadgets are not everything to our kids. They rob the childhood from our kids. Normal childhood experiences of playing in the mud and with toys, is being deprived to them today. It has adversely affected the modern generation a lot.

The basic question is: who decides whether you are smart or intelligent – people or gadgets? Earlier we were concerned whether we looked smart or handsome. Today the complexity of smart phones dictates or defines our smartness. Isn’t it so? Were we less smart than phones or are smart phones giving values to our worth?

Uncontrolled changes - Paradoxes

Our parents were not rich. But they gave love, not worldly materials. There were no personal concerns. Most concerns were seen as those of the family circle. Today parents give their kids more of gadgets and materials and less of love. We never had cell phones, DVDs, play station, video games, personal computers, internet, chat - but we had real friends. Today we rarely go out of our apartments and homes to visit others. Earlier we listened to our parents. Today parents are forced to listen to their children. We lived well with ‘Limited’ things. We treasured experiences. Today we have too many things, less experiences to be treasured, because we are too busy to meet each other.

Before 1990’s, there was no technology, no internet, no computers, no mobile phones, but the thrill of life existed. We played until evening in the mud; rarely watching TV in our neighbour’s house. Nothing happened to our feet despite roaming barefoot. We played with real friends, meeting, eating and chatting for long hours, not like today’s virtual internet friends of time pass. When we were tired and thirsty, we drank tap water, not bottled water. We rarely fell ill sharing the same glass of juice with our friends. We visited our friends’ homes uninvited and enjoyed food with them. We used to create our own toys and castles in the sand and play with those. Why don’t we find these nowadays?

Our world has become narrow and our gadgets have taken away our freedom. Today orphanages have children of extremely poor parents. But old age homes have parents of extremely rich children. Why?


It is not right to be against technology nor am I against technology. Neither is it right to ask people to go back to the Stone Age! I fully agree that technology makes our lives easier and has become an inseparable part of today's life. But the real question is - How much of Technology should we expose our kids to... and at what age?

Technology and advancement are not bad. But if we become its slaves, they can overpower us and ruin our peace and well-being. Is modernity destroying the fabric of human living? Today we have begun to allow gadgets to defame us. We look up to smart phones, thinking that they make us smart.

What kind of kids do we wish to see in our future? Do we not want our kids to enjoy family time, friends and open to learn and develop their personality? It is human interactions that will define our smartness, not our smart phones.

Have we forgotten that we humans are smarter than all creatures? Let us think smartly and act smart even without our smart phones. Let us expose our kids to moderate technology as much as it helps them to enjoy childhood and not become robots.

Lancy Fernandes - Archives:  

By Lancy Fernandes SJ
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Comment on this article

  • cyril mathias, udupi

    Thu, Aug 16 2018

    Good analyses Father. Today's children have lots of comforts but not emotional support.They seem to be treating their parents as earning machines rather than filial affection. My own relative who was abroad and supported his kids died in an orphanage.His children did not even invite him for their marriage.It is a complex world?.

  • latha, sakleshpur

    Wed, Apr 25 2018

    good article.

  • James Fernandes, Barkur Chicago

    Wed, Apr 25 2018

    "OMG; how did you live without an iphone?" asks a Diet water drinking bubly child to his BOTTLED water parents, TAP water grand parents, and WELL water great grand parents?

  • Collin D'Souza, Santhekatte, Kallanpur

    Tue, Apr 17 2018

    Nice article. I fully agree with your views. In the present situation, parents should aware of their children.

  • Engine Rebello, Kallianpur

    Sat, Apr 14 2018

    Wonderful and excellent article fr.Very true views u have shared.

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Sat, Apr 14 2018

    Futuristic technology experts like late Stephen Hawking n Elon Musk have predicted that AI n bots will one day annihilate mankind!
    Once the Turing test in AI is passed, one would not be able to discern between artificial n human intelligence n most jobs will become sparse!! Already computers have beaten the world champion of the toughest game called GO!!

  • Dr Mohan Prabhu, LL.D, QC, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Sat, Apr 14 2018

    Thank you, Reverend, for a well reasoned observation on modern society which is overwhelmed by gadgets of all kinds, encouraged not just by modern parents who want their children to leave them alone and not disturb them from their daily pre-occupation, but by ever changing technology and the industry which bombards them with new smarphones, videogames, and whatever. The blame is to be shared by both. We should not forget that the world we live in today is totally different from what you - and, certainly I - experienced. I lived in pre-Independent Mangaluru; today the population is seven or eight-fold. Our families were large but the population increased only slightly because of high death rates. We went barefeet to school and everywhere else, but today the government is handing out shoes to students at enormous cost to taxpayers. Everyone keeps up to the times. Our parents hardly sat with the children to find out what they were reading and whether they understood - because they themselves did not have the knowledge. On the other hand, in large families there was sibling cooperation and love, and often they helped each other.

    Society has changed, and every one does his/her best to cope with it, and in the process they become impersonal; children are alienated and when the parents get old and are unable to take care of themselves, they become "elderly orphans" shunted away for pasture in old age homes when they occasionally get visits from their children if they are still in town.

  • Conrad Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Fri, Apr 13 2018

    Very thought provoking article. Wonderfully written !!!

  • Hilda d silva, Kallianpur/Loretto

    Thu, Apr 12 2018

    Very good views on family Father.Often it is fear for the changing scenario making us question where are we heading to.The need of the hour is to educate the parents. Also we need counsellors in schools and colleges.


    Thu, Apr 12 2018

    I totally agree with the views and can say that today our society live in artificial one which is very sad and painful. .... Well article Fr. Lancy....

  • Owen Rodrigues, Kallianpur/Abu Dhabi

    Thu, Apr 12 2018

    Nice Article. I fully agree with your views.

  • nancy, Mumbai

    Thu, Apr 12 2018

    I have never heard about depression, counsellors during my childhood. Even I do not remember my parents sitting with me for my studies or my elder siblings or coming and asking me about my studies. Only when report card was brought home and if marks were little less then my mother used to ask me why this time less marks?

    Ours was farmer family and all were busy with all farming activities. Even night (during moon light) we have worked in filed to pluck paddy crop.

    Now a days counsellors tell parents give time to children, spend time with children but they will never tell children to understand their parents, spend time with parents, help them in their household work or involve them to play.

    Dont know whom to blame? Gadgets/Technology? Parents/work? Counsellors (who always talk on behalf of children) or Artificial society where we live in??? or lack of spiritual life/ humanity????

  • Yvonne D'souza, Mumbai

    Wed, Apr 11 2018

    Excellent post Fr Lancy. Very well put.
    It is very sad - children and adults today are become slaves to technology. It is scary and dangerous . Satan is working overtime. Parents beware :(

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