Nothing, absolutely nothing, dominates our lives like technology does. From the moment we rise to the time we return to our beds we are at the mercy of a range of advanced forms of technology. This has mainly been very conducive to society but lately life has taken a new turn. The line between reality and the abstract has begun to blur in recent years. Society today lives in the virtual world and only indirectly lives in the natural world.
Living on a Screen
There are several challenges on the table when it comes to society navigating the world we now live in. First and foremost is the issue of children and how a child can develop properly around a computer screen. Children are not getting a fighting chance in today’s world. From just about the time they can speak and understand language they are handed devices with an endless number of animated games to play. This turns into a vicious cycle of game after game and the young child becomes heavily dependant on the technology. This technology now replaces social interactions and activities and as a result the child does not have sufficient opportunity to hone his or her social skills. Studies also link to disorders manifesting from the increased reliance on electronic devices from a young age. A long study concluded by the University of Alberta found that by the age of 5, children who had spent two hours or longer looking at a screen every day were 7.7 times more likely to fulfill the criteria for a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than the children who spent 30 minutes or less daily on a screen.
Adults of all ages are feeling these effects as well. Video games are heavily popular among young as well as older adults. According to recent studies on average, gamers are playing for 7 hours and 7 minutes each week. As high as this number is, what is even more alarming is that this number is up nearly 20% from last year. The growth in this trend is large and steady. In the 26-35-year-old age bracket the increase is even more dramatic. This group is playing for more than 8 hours a week, making the increase a whopping 25% from last year. Even the 60+ age group increased the amount they play by about 14%. The trend line is steadily upwards across the board.
Social Media and its Many Effects
Social media is on a level all by itself. The addictive nature of social media platforms are partly thanks to the sophisticated design and creative options they offer. They are created with social intelligence in mind to call upon the darkest and most extreme parts of our nature. Jealousy, self-centeredness, narcissism, depression, and anxiety are all easily triggered by interaction with today’s main social media platforms. This is widely understood by frequent users but there are now published findings on this phenomenon. A study published in February 2015 in Computers in Human Behavior surveyed 736 college students and found that when Facebook evoked envy, it increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Pretty straightforward. This study was later linked to another study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Leuven in Belgium who tracked 173 students’ habits over time and found that passive use—browsing news feeds, for example—led to reduced well-being by increasing feelings of envy. This practice has become so standard among users due to Facebook’s user friendly platform that allows for rapid scrolling and quick access to all the posts of friends and others on the app.
Depression? Anxiety? Lonlieness? The circumstances are painfully ironic. As much as opportunity is more readily available because of technology, it has become increasingly harder to find great opportunities and make authentic connections. This is because technology has hyperactively increased competition, making being successful harder than ever before. Society is digitized to the degree that making a romantic connection or having authentic friendship is something of an anomaly. Young people today are struggling to navigate these important parts of life, having grown up in a world that sheltered their human interaction so much. Simply put, how can you meet someone new when your eyes are glued to your smartphone and the other person on theirs?
This is not to put the blame on any one individual. After all, anyone who wishes to do just about anything today must use smart technology, whether it is his or her smartphone, computer, printer, scanner, or camera to name just a few. It is unavoidable.
What is the Solution?
One proactive step you can take to mitigate this issue is to allocate the tasks you wish to complete to professionals or assistants who can take some of your load off you and give you the gift of time. Your soul needs to replenish itself away from any computer screen or electronic device. If your desire is to market for your business, print materials, perform indepth research, or other time consuming tasks of different scales, our diverse services will be of help. Allow the experts to handle some of your responsibilities so you can focus more on the things that matter in life. Your health, mood, and peace of mind will take priority and technology will take a back seat- the way it should be.