Technology and social media have become an integral, even necessary part of our lives for work, day to day tasks and socialising. There’s a multitude of apps and websites for us to connect to just about anyone in the world and a million ways to distract ourselves when bored. But what do we lose by this reliance on technology?
Basic human connections is a big one. There’s been recent studies to suggest that excessive use of social media such as Facebook has led to an increase in narcissism and anti-social behaviour. How often have you gone out to coffee with friends lately only to find they spend more time looking down at their phones than looking you in the eye? When was the last time you had a family dinner where the Tv wasn’t on and at least one member was busy texting or sending work emails? Genuine face to face conversations seem to be lacking in quality and quantity these days, and although many think that their 1000 Facebook friends or Instagram followers mean they are connected, more and more people are admitting to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
With a lack of human connection also comes a lack of empathy. Members of Gen Y and Z in particular are far more fickle with their friends and commitments. There is a big concern with how to optimise your image on the internet as attractive, successful, funny and adventurous. People can often be found spending more time taking photos and selfies at an event or outing then actually enjoying where they are and who they are with. The anonymity of the internet has also allowed the worst in people to come out in cyber-bullying and trolling where people make malicious, judgemental and negative comments for the pure fun of it to just about anybody for the most trivial of reasons.
The most important thing that technology is stealing from us is our time. Time that could be spent on family and friends, on exploring new places, starting new hobbies, finishing our work and chores more efficiently, progressing in our careers, keeping fit and being healthy and on reflection and growth as a human being. Spending hours and days on playing phone games, surfing the internet and watching episodes after episode of Tv is robbing us of the here and now and the possibilities that could be achieved with time better spent.
So if you feel you could do with a tech-detox challenge yourself to cut back and switch it off. Internet and smartphone addiction can be a legitimate problem for some people, consider setting boundaries for time and activities spent using media, deactivating accounts and talking to friends or family about strategies to reduce your usage. You might be surprised that once you disconnect you’ll find the connections and entertainment you’ve really been missing.