Is Technology Affecting Our Health?

As more and more research surfaces raising concern surrounding the use of technology, I’ve been looking into benefits of modern living compared to the adverse affects that technology can have on us both physically and mentally.

The first name that cropped up in my research was Baroness Susan Greenfield. In a BBC article from earlier this year, she argues that “screen time” affects brain development. Greenfield goes on to explain that constant connectivity – or “hyperconnectivity” – could result in a generation for which “the mind might remain more child-like, reactive and dependent on the behaviour and thoughts of others”.

Bad science … Baroness Susan Greenfield: neuroscientist, broadcaster – and now novelist.

The concerns of Baroness Greenfield are not limited to social media and the Internet; as she goes on to discuss video games too.

Her book, ‘2121: A Tale from the Next Century’, which was released in July, was written using more than 250 research papers that support her theory however the Baroness is quick to point out that she’s not totally against technology: “It’s not about the channels, it’s about how they are used,” she explains.

“Facebook satisfies identity, it gives you a status that isn’t linked to wealth or gender,” explains Baroness Greenfield, “People are living online, offline”.

Whilst I do agree with Greenfield to an extent, I suppose it’s worth considering that advances in technology are not slowing down and if you fall behind; you get left behind.

In my opinion, it’s important for the development of the next generation, as well as my generation, to keep up to speed with digital. As more and more aspects of everyday life become technology-dependent, those who choose to play ignorant are at risk of alienating themselves from society.

I read a BBC article online last month, which discussed the affects that social media has on self-esteem and well-being, slamming Facebook as “depressing”.

Facebook Depressing

The study tracked Facebook users for two weeks to monitor trends in their online behaviour.

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it,” researchers at Michigan University are quoted as saying.

I find the results of the study are quite thought provoking: the more people used Facebook, the worse they felt afterwards. The team also found that the more the participants used the site, the more their life satisfaction levels declined.

One term that is used in the article, which sums the study up nicely, is “FOMO” or Fear Of Missing Out.

I’d say that, although we may all be guilty of FOMO side effects, it’s in our nature to be curious. We enjoy staying in touch and interacting with one another – it’s part of what makes us who we are. In hindsight, research such as this is proof that it’s all relative: too much of anything is not going to be good for you.

As Oscar Wilde said: “Everything in moderation, including moderation”.

If you’d like to discuss social media excesses and digital deviations, feel free to drop me a Tweet @DanielleDunn_CA – Let’s get hyperconnected together!


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