Mental Health Last updated on 2022-02-04 22:43:57
How Is Digital Overdrive Affecting People's Mental Health?
- Ms. Snigdha Samantray
- 4 Min Read
- Fact Checked
The dilemma of technologyWhile silicon valley is focused on creating a virtual 3 dimensional world, there is an ongoing debate whether it is going to be a boon or bane in the times to come. Technology is definitely going to revolutionize and redefine the way we work and professionally it would make resources more accessible, quick, organized and secure. We are already witnessing medical facilities & health services becoming better with technology and the graph seems to be going only upwards. Indeed Lifestyle would improve with reduced global distance and global inequality. On the other hand, some argue that technology is so revolutionary that it will alter the fabric of society. Mental health experts specifically have raised concerns about technology's impact on mental health. According to the Center for Generation Kinetics, Gen Z shows very little distinction between online and physical worlds and that being tech-savvy is one of the essential qualities of their generation. It thus raises a potential concern that Gen Z will be more at risk of the adverse effects of technology than ever as they would have to face the challenge of a 'perfect world' that would increase the gap between 'real self' & 'perceived self.' Virtual life would definitely challenge their ideas of self and others and pose significant interpersonal challenges if not mindful in using technology. Awareness is the key to healthy use of technology. Here are some signs that will help you identify digital overindulgence:
(1) You feel anxious or stressed out if you can't find your phone
(2) You feel compelled to check your phone every few minutes
(3) You feel depressed, anxious, or angry after spending time on social media
(4) You often find yourself staying up late or getting up early to play on your phone
(5) You’re afraid that you'll miss something if you don't keep checking your device
(6) You are preoccupied with the like, comment, or reshare counts on your social posts
(7) You have trouble concentrating on tasks without having to check your phoneAs use of technology is inevitable, you can choose to technologically empower yourself rather than let yourself get disrupted by technology. Here are some helpful tips:
(1) Balance is the key. There is a thin line differentiating between technology use, abuse & overuse. Understanding this is important as it will help you choose between when to use technology and when not.
(2) Adhere to digital detox. It is all about choosing a screen-free day once a week where you nurture other sources of entertainment and engage in meaningful face to face conversations.
(3) Change social media algorithms, otherwise the AI will continue to show you suggestions of contents you overindulge in. Understand that the AI is designed to hack your mind, identify your taste and make you engage in excesses to generate more commercials. One simple way is to keep changing the contents that you watch as this would limit the AI learning about your taste.
(4) Set limits and remove distractions. It is important to set a limit on screen time and remove apps that either make you overspend, overeat or give you FOMO’s, until you learn to exercise self control.
(5) Practice mindfulness & relaxation techniques. This may sound repetitive or boring however, in a world of technology that offers increased autonomy of choices, it's important we are mindful and know what we want when we make a choice. Regular practice of relaxation technique brings poise to our life, helps us self-reflect and build self control.According to the latest Kepios analysis October 2021, currently there are 4.5 billion active social media users which is 60% of the total world population. More than half a billion new users have joined social media platforms over the past 12 months and this number would only increase going forward. Gen Z, 40% of the world population, is a consumer all ready to use the metaverse. These numbers are highly alarming of the fact that if we are not mindful in using technology then it may bring massive unfathomable adverse mental health outcomes, as we still don’t have enough knowledge of the human body or brain to completely rely and trust artificial intelligence. The fear is, how do we fathom the outcome of something which is yet to arrive which no parents or teachers can teach from their experience? Pandemic is a living example of this. Legislations and policies on technology use and abuse, digital citizens adhering to social responsibility and mindful use of technology seem to be the need of the hour. As Yuval Noah Harari, a world renowned Israeli historian and public intellectual, rightfully puts it, “Technology isn’t bad. If you know what you want in life, technology can help you get it. But if you don’t know what you want in life, it will be all too easy for technology to shape your aims for you and take control of your life. Especially as technology gets better at understanding humans, you might increasingly find yourself serving it, instead of it serving you” Read our complete guide on Depression: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes and Treatment
References- Gen Z is Taking Over the Metaverse (1) - Digital 2021 April Global Statshot Report (2)
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