Technology’s Impact on People’s Lives
Tech is the purposeful application of information in the design, production, and utilization of goods and services, and in the organization of human activities. Technology has allowed us to measure, communicate and track in ways that would otherwise be impossible. The fact that technology has become a major part of our lives is not news to anybody but when it comes to the negative effects, people tend to turn a blind eye. Although it is improving, faster than ever technology is a toll on our everyday lives. Newer technologies have changed people’s behavior by isolating them, affecting their mental health and making them dependent of their devices.
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Technology reinvents intimacy and solitude because technology has a strong appeal or attraction towards human vulnerabilities. In “The Tethered Self: Technology Reinvents Intimacy and Solitude”, Turkle, a professor of the social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a clinical psychologist, puts a considerable emphasis on the great amount of opportunities on exploring identity that computers and networking are offering people. In this article, she takes a considerably darker view, arguing that new technologies have made convenience and control a priority while diminishing the expectations we have of other human beings. Instead of real friends, people consider friends strangers on Facebook, instead of talking on the phone or face to face, people would rather text and tweet. Technology, she argues, makes it easy to communicate when we wish to disengage at will. In “Keep Your Thumbs Still When I’m Talking To You,” David Carr talks about the use of technology and how it is becoming more powerful. The value of friendship and face-to-face communication is somehow declining and people either do not realize it or they simply do not care about it. Carr describes experiences he has personally had and gives examples of situations of different people who share the same ideas with him. Carr’s article reflects very well on the title of his essay, Keep Your Thumbs Still When I am Talking to You. He gives examples that relate as well as personal examples of how people today are constantly on their phones. The fact that people are always on their phones has become an act or rudeness towards other people close to them especially when they are having a conversation. If you ask people, “What are the three things you can’t live without?” most people include their phones in the list and in most cases, they mention their phone as the very first thing they would not be able to live without. Years ago, if you‘d asked the same question, the answers would have been very different for sure. It is true that time goes by and brings change with it, and it is true that people’s needs change with time but the fact that they consider their phones so important makes you think that they have in ways become dependent on them. “When we misplace our mobile phones we become anxious… teenagers say that they sleep with their cell phones” (Turkle 493). People often say they feel incomplete without their phones as if a part of them was missing. They admit the feeling of “almost having a heart attack” when they do not feel their phones in their pockets. It is important to remember though, that there are other things in life without which we can’t live without, but maybe because technology makes people’s lives so much easier, they consider it necessary to own one and have it with them at all times. Carr ironically shares a personal experience and mentions when somebody was “casting sidelong glances at his iPhone while we talked. I’m not even sure he knew he was doing it” (Carr 497). It has become a habit looking at the phone screen almost every minute even if we are not waiting for a call or expecting a notification. Since childhood, the people around us, the environment we grow up in and our everyday interactions play a very important role in shaping our character and creating our ideas and beliefs about certain things. Parents often complain that their children do not spend enough time with them or with anybody else for that matter. They prefer to stay in their rooms with their eyes locked to a mobile device or a computer screen and seems like their fingers never stop clicking on the keyboard. Teenagers themselves admit that they would rather text then talk on the phone let alone face to face with other people. Coming back to the point I made above, the people who surround us have a big impact on our lives especially during childhood. Carr makes the point that “teenagers grew up in a culture of distraction… their parents were in their cellphones when they were pushed on swings as toddlers” (Carr 493). Parents, as most children’s role models, spend time on their devices almost as much as their children do. By spending so much time online, texting and tweeting, people admit they become anxious when they’re face to face with strangers or even people they know as if they had forgotten how to have a conversation in real life. Some might say that being connected is positive and helps in many ways and that is true but the consequences that come with it are pretty big and serious as well. “Sometimes people tell me they experience no sense of having connected after hours of communication,” says Turkle. Our feelings are what make us human and it is hard to figure out how someone is feeling only by reading a text.
In our everyday lives, it often occurs that when we try to talk to somebody, we are practically wasting our time and breath because it is obvious they find their phones more interesting, consider them more important and let you come to the assumption that they simply do not care. The worst part about it is that people do not consider it a problem; they just accept it even when they feel offended. Maybe it is because they have given up and have let technology somehow take over their lives or maybe it is because they cannot really do anything to change it.
Technology is being used to cyber bully. People use any and every source on the internet that allows us to communicate to buy others. As this goes on the suicide rate increases. The internet should not be abused in such disgusting ways. In ‘Computers in Human Behavior’ they talk about ways to help change this like in schools the more they make discussion on it the more children will listen and the rates shall decrease. We must use technology for educational and prosocial purposes.
Society’s overuse of cellphones, the internet and other digital devices have an impact on an individual’s cognitive behavior. In ‘Mental Health Concerns in the Digital Age’ they state negative consequences from technology overuse impacts individuals affectively. Counseling interventions and treatment options are discussed as methods to reduce effects of technology abuse and isolation from the real world and help clients find a balance in connectivity. Consequences of attachment to technology include lowered social skills, self-motivation, emotional intelligence, and empathy and increased conflict with others, ADHD, and depression in younger populations. Mental health concerns increase with society’s reduced social interactions resulting from increased technological use and dependence on social media for communication.
Social media has also increased social isolation. The studies found in ‘Personality & Individual Differences’ social media use and social isolation are strongly associated. In addition, those who act less conscientiously compared to those who act more conscientiously, social media use poses a higher risk of social isolation. These results demonstrate the robustness of the association between SMU and SI, and the variations in both SI and the risk that SMU poses for SI with individual differences in personality. They are generally consistent with the behaviors described by the personality characteristics. These results will be useful for making recommendations about personality and SMU with regard to SI, and for developing new interventions for SI.
(Fig 1 Conscientiousness and Social Isolation, Personality & Individual Differences)
Attention spans are decreasing at an alarming rate. In ‘The Impact of technology on Behavior & Happiness’ Ocean explains how the web has become an addiction to everyone which is causing us to lose our minds. ‘Cell phone dependency approaches neurosis’, what Ocean meant by this is that the dependency we have of our devices is beginning to cause mental issues which lead to depression and anxiety. Digital addiction is skyrocketing, and it is fracturing societies and friendships.
Whether we like to admit it or not, technology comes with its benefits and its negative consequences as well. The overuse of it has become our downfall. People get cyberbullied, which can lead to them committing suicide. Isolation is increasing more and more since people cannot seem to put their electronics down. Children are starting at a young age which effect their mental health later in life it with complicate their social life. Children need to put them down and go be active outside. It is important that we should not let technology completely take over our lives because it is us, humans in the first place who invented it and that is pretty miraculous. The best thing to do is take advantage of it while also remembering that we have people around us who matter more than a mobile device, interacting with others is part of what makes us human in the first place. In addition, isolation to a screen can mess up eye vision.
- Turkle, Sherry. “The Tethered Self: Technology Reinvents Intimacy and Solitude.” Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. Eds. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Viginia Clark. 12th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s 2016. 492-495.
- Carr, David. “Keep Your Thumbs Still When I’m Talking to You.” Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. Eds. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Viginia Clark. 12th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s 2016. 496-500.
- Whaite, Erin O. Shensa, Ariel. Sidani, Jaime E. Colditz, Jason B. Primack, Brian A. ‘Personality & Individual Differences.’ Apr2018, Vol. 124, p45-50. ‘Mental Health Concerns in the Digital Age.’ Scott, David. Valley, Bart. Simecka, Brooke. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction. Jun2017, Vol.15 Issue 3, p604-613.
- Nasaescu, Elena. Marin-Lopez, Inmaculada. Llorent, Vicente J. Ortega-Ruiz, Rosario. Zych, Izabela. ‘Computers in Human Behavior’. Nov2018, Vol.88, p114-120.
- Ocean Palmer. ‘The Impact of Technology on Behavior and Happiness.’ Airplane Reader Publishing, 2016.