Issues with Psychological Health :
In recent years, scholars have identified that besides physical health problems, technology can be significantly hazardous for psychological well-being. Therefore, they have started to explore this dimension more thoroughly; hence, there are many known and largely unknown effects of technology on mental health. A debate can be sensed whether changes in our behaviour, due to technology use, should be classified as a disorder; there is no denying of the fact that technology is affecting the way our minds work and some major changes are gradually becoming visible.
According to Professor Larry Rosen (2012), our regular and frequent use of technology brings change in brain’s ability to process information and relating with outside world, which in turn leads signs and symptoms of stress, reduced span of attention and compulsive need for checking technology devices. He called this state as iDisorder, which is a psychiatric disorder and involves symptoms like obsessive need for texting, desperate desires for checking social networking sites, emails and craving for playing games on phone.
Problem in adjustment :
In order to adapt with the current conditions, sometimes postponing our wish or gratifying our desire is necessary. In 2012, Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project underlined that our over dependence and indulgence in technology is making us impatient and developing dire desire for instant entertainment which people find difficult to delay.
Technology, in the form of social networking can encourage total indulgence in oneself and make us appear narcissistic. Western Illinois University explored relationship between people’s Facebook behavior and narcissism in terms of grandiose exhibitionism and entitlement. People scored high on grandiose exhibitionism tend to use Facebook as platform for self-promotion and were frequently updating statuses and posting photos about them. People high on entitlement were likely to react angrily over critical comments.
Depression and social isolation :
Our over connectedness with technology has made us disconnected with our environment. Stanford researchers stated, “Teenage girls who spend endless hours watching videos and multitasking with digital devices tend to be less successful with social and emotional development”. They also found it to difficult to socialize with others due to lack of ‘offline talk’ and feel isolated. People, who constantly and regularly check social media, tend to have negative mood for longer period (Wang, Niiya, Mark, Reich & Warschauer, 2015). A study, done by University of Missouri in 2015, has suggested that in recent times most of the people are suffering from FOMO (“fear of missing out”) and nomophobia (fear of being without your phone). In another study, published in the journal titled Computers in Human Behavior(2016), shown that people who spend most of their times over internet and cellphones, scored much higher on depression and anxiety scales.
General solutions :
- Take a tech break. It can be small like stepping away from the desk and take a short walk across the room or large as taking break from the technology for an entire day each week.
- Talk to people, offline.
- Engage in some fun activities like doing puzzles, gardening or traveling.
- Examine motivations behind online activities. Try to cut down the number of posts or status updates you make each day.
We are living in a technology-driven world and one cannot deny the fact that we are better because of it. We know more than ever before and we are more social than ever before. However, a sensible and responsible use of technology is a crucial requirement of current times as there is no turning back. Take control and use technology wisely for the betterment of the environment, society and of course, of yourself. Share your views on technology and its positive / negative impact on health and society in comments section below.
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