Despite its ever-increasing significance, technology has been wreaking havoc in the lives of people. Many individuals – adults and children alike— find themselves caught in a situation where they cannot live without their IPad or smart phones. Of course, technology plays a vital role in improving productivity and efficiency, but the question is: How much have we gained or lost from the recent technological advancements?
Before the invasion of Facebook or Instagram, cafes and restaurants used to be about spending quality time with your loved ones. People would meet at these public places to sit back, relax, and talk.
Nowadays, family members or groups of friends are seen busy swiping or scrolling down their Wifi-enabled smart phones or iPads at restaurants or cafes. It seems that technology has taken over their lives. Excessive use of technology has hindered the communication and social skills of individuals, especially young children. It has also contributed to rising communication gap between parents and children.
A recent study released by UCLA analyzed the impact of digital media on humans’ ability to communicate face-to-face. According to the research findings, children who were deprived of screens for five days got much better at reading people’s emotions as compared to those who continued their normal screen-filled lives.
Many people use social media to facilitate communication with friends and family. However, for others, it has further isolated them from human contact.
Technology has hindered people’s ability to think. Children addicted to video games may make quick decisions in the heat of the moment, but this comes with a cost i.e. their inability to control their aggression and impulses.
The surge of technological gadget use has made human lives increasingly digital. Be it at work, home or school, technological tools are now at everyone’s fingertips. This, as a result, has shortened people’s attention spans. In fact, according to a recent study by Microsoft Corporation, the human attention span has shortened from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in more than a decade due to digital technology.
Too much exposure to computer screens affects the production of melatonin and prevents deep sleep. Apart from making it harder for tech addicts to fall asleep, excessive use of technology also leads to anxiety and depression, especially among the youth.
Numerous studies have analyzed the psychological impact, including expectation of instant gratification, of excessive use of websites such as Facebook. For example, in most cases, individuals’ self-worth depends on the number of “likes” they get on Facebook. People are made to feel a certain way by the number of shares or likes they receive, which demonstrates that technology does indeed make us unhappy.
No doubt, technology brings closer those who are away, but it comes with a heavy price of social isolation, communication gap, and shortened attention spans.
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Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.