The impact of technology on our social, mental, physical and environmental health can be devastating if we don’t keep ourselves in check. There is no denying the benefits we have gained from technological advancements, but as with all things in life, moderation is the key. Being aware of many of the harmful aspects of technology overuse may give you a moment to inventory your use.
1. ISOLATION – Technology becomes your most sought after friend.
2. LACK OF SOCIAL SKILLS – Loss of ability to read body language and social cues in other people.
3. OBESITY – Decrease or eliminating exercise and increase in mindless eating.
4. DEPRESSION – Technology creates the perfect recipe for depression with lack of social contact, overeating and lack of exercise. (Anti-depressants will not fix this depression),
5. POOR SLEEP HABITS – It is hard to turn that phone, tablet, game, etc. off and go to sleep. Also the ambient glow from the screen can affect the release of melatonin.
6. INCREASED BULLYING – Bullies infiltrate the security of their victims homes through online avenues. The increase in cyber-bullying has also led to an increase in teen suicides.
7. LACK OF PRIVACY – The Internet has stripped the world of privacy. With a few flicks on a keyboard the average person can find any one’s address and contact information. Plus some people have no sense of personal sharing online. The Internet should not be used as a diary of your personal life.
8. STRESS – Constantly being “plugged in” or “connected” causes an extra layer of stress that wasn’t present before the overuse of technology.
9. LACK OF SEXUAL BOUNDARIES – Exposure to sexual content is more likely to occur at a much younger age. (In programs for sex offenders it is not uncommon for teen males to report they started viewing porn at age 8 or 9) Sexting is also a concern. Young boys and girls are sending nude and partially nude photos via snap chat and other apps. But its not limited to the young, adults are doing it too!! AND DON’T THINK THOSE PICTURES EVER REALLY GO AWAY BECAUSE THEY DON’T!!!
10. CONSTANT DISTRACTION – When we are focused on a device instead of what is going on around us, we miss a great deal. There is also a rise in injuries incurred when people are walking and texting.
It is important to again make the point that technology is not bad, it can be extremely useful and informative BUT it can also be all of the above.
Families and relationships have been on a perilous journey without all the technology but now the stakes are even higher.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
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