Technology has improved the lives of humans tremendously during the past decade. The technological innovations happening today are unparalleled in human history. We are seeing technological advancements in communications, medical sciences and education. However, not all these technological developments are having a positive effect on the health and well being of humans. We feel overwhelmed from the applications of technological advancements in our daily lives. It is important for us to understand the consequences, and learn how to deal with the negative effects of technology.
Most people are spending more time online than communicating with their spouses or co-workers. Humans are inherently attached to games and gaming devices. It appears we love our gadgets and their features than real humans. The negative effects of spending time online or on gadgets have been researched and documented by behavioral scientists. Unfortunately, the solutions to many of these problems depend on whether the patient is ready to take the pills.
1. Addiction to Smart Phones
The past few years have seen the acceleration of smart phones and other devices connected to Internet. These devices help us connect with the world on a 24/7 basis. They help us expand our knowledge and offer a real time window to world events. However, the constant interaction with these devices leads to health issues, depression and other serious side effects. This is more prevalent in teens and young people. People are carrying their smartphones in their bathrooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. Studies show that people experience extreme anxiety when they are detached even temporarily from their smart devices. For many people, a smart phone has claimed the spot of a best friend. We have become completely dependent on smart phones to check bank accounts, trade stocks, read books, send emails, make travel reservations, take pictures and videos, play games and network socially and professionally. We spent less time on physical activity leading to health issues.
Tips to Reduce Addiction to Smart Phones:
• Read a magazine or newspaper instead of reading from a smart phone.
• Limit the usage of mobile devices to specified time intervals during a day.
• Take your family to a movie instead of streaming video on your smart phone.
2. Increase in Use of Social Media
The introduction of social networking sites has impacted the lives of humans in both positive and negative ways. The negative impacts lead to suicide, depression, loneliness, loss of privacy and poor student grades. It is also impacting children in schools with their physical and mental health. Adults must show the way when it comes to limiting the use of networking sites. If parents are not limiting the time spent on online media sites or apps, then it is hard to control the behavior of children and students. We must offer resources to teens and students to help control the use of networking apps and websites.
Tips to Minimize Use of Social Media:
• Provide guidelines and resources at schools to minimize the time spent on media sites.
• Teach the benefits of old-fashioned face-to-face interactions.
• Control the urge to frequently check mobile devices for status updates.
3. Deterioration of Personal Relationships
The technological innovations have minimized the need for natural interactions between humans. We have reached a stage where we do not even know our next-door neighbors. Parents and children often communicate via text messages inside the same house. Behavioral scientists have pointed out the deterioration of personal relationships with the advent of technology. The advances in technology have negatively impacted family relationships leading to increased divorce rates and other psychological issues.
Tips to Improve Communication:
• Enforce rules to minimize device-based communication among parents and children.
• Encourage children to improve social skills and natural communication skills.
• Log the hours of physical activity. Monitor the log regularly.
4. Distracted Driving
The number of traffic accidents from texting while driving has increased substantially during the past few years. Many drivers are using smart phones while driving. A large number of deaths and injuries have been attributed to the use of mobile devices. The distractions from the use of technology include text messaging, use of navigation systems, streaming video, phone calls, and Internet browsing. The use of cell phone while driving increases the chances of an accident by 2.5 times. More than 1 million traffic accidents have been reported from the use of text messages. Today’s automobiles are adding more and more distracting technologies such as entertainment systems, Internet access, display screens, mobile apps and satellite radio systems.
Tips to Reduce the Effects of Technology While Driving:
• Use headphones while attending phone calls.
• Let other passengers operate entertainment, navigation and climate control systems.
• Educate drivers about the consequences of using mobile devices while driving.
We cannot deny the benefit of technological innovations in our modern life. However, we cannot also deny the negative impact of technology on our personal, professional and emotional lives. It is up to each and every one of us to control the use of technology. We must realize that technology should be used to help improve our lives instead of us becoming slaves to technological advances.
It has become impossible for us to detach even temporarily from our gadgets. Some of the negative effects of technology result from the extensive use of smart phones and social media. The deterioration of personal relationships is increasing at an alarming rate. The use of mobile devices behind the wheels results in deadly accidents.