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Technology has transformed every aspect of our
lives. It has made it possible to connect with people all over the world but is technology really helping
us connect or is it causing us to isolate ourselves from reality? While social
networking is a great tool, there’s a logical difference between an online
socialization and real ones. It has been shown that technology can also be
causing major negative effects on our mental health. In fact, recent studies
have found that despite being more connected, more people feel alone than ever
before.Experts are finding that the lack of face to
face time with others is having a noticeable
impact on society, and overall affecting their
ability to become well-rounded adults and cope in real life situations where
they must deal with others on an emotional level. The constant use of
technology also seems to be affecting their manners and how they conduct
themselves in a normal everyday conversation. Michael J. Bugeja, a professor of
communications at Iowa State University and author of Interpersonal Divide: The
Search for Community in a Technological Age, cites the common example of
texting in the presence of others. “It sends the message that someone somewhere
else is more important,” he notes. This gives off a terrible impression and
causes people to believe that that person does not have any regard for the
people that they are in the presence of. Pediatric occupational therapist,
Chris Rowan, states that:

As children and parents are attaching more and
more to technology, they’re detaching from each other, and we know as a species
we need to connect. We’re really pack animals. We need to be connected to other
human beings. That’s just a fact for any living organism; it doesn’t do well
when it’s on its own. (Bindley).

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By detaching from each other humans become alone and are unable to
properly function in everyday society and can affect their ability to cope in
real life situations.

It has been shown that technology can also be
causing major negative effects on our
mental health. The uprising in the usage of
technology on an everyday basis can be the cause of anxiety, depression and
social isolation in children, teenagers, and adults. In fact, recent studies
have found that despite being more connected, more people feel alone than ever before,
and several other studies have shown a link between depression and the use of
social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Dr. Saju Mathew
who was interviewed for an article by Piedmont Health stated that, “When we get
on social media, we are looking for affirmation and consciously or not, we are
comparing our life to the lives of others. As a result, we may not enjoy what’s
in the moment.” Those who use social media sites on a regular basis tend to
feel as though their peers are more successful and happier than they are.
Doctoral student Sara Thomée and her colleagues at the University of
Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy completed multiple studies to try and figure
out the effects of constant technology use on the sleep quality, stress levels,
and general mental health of young adults; after collecting the data the
results revealed that constant use of technology can be linked to an increase
in stress, sleep disorders and depression in young adults. More specific
findings that Thomée’s studies revealed about the link of overusing technology
and mental health issues include:

Heavy cell phone use showed an increase in
sleep disorders in men and an increase in depressive symptoms in both men and
women, regular, late night computer use was associated with sleep disorders,
stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women and frequently using a
computer without breaks further increases the risk of stress, sleeping problems
and depressive symptoms in women. (Volpi)

Although there is a clear link between heavy technology use and mental
health issues researchers have not been able to find a clear reason on why
technology users are more likely than others to develop mental health issues.

Excessive technology use can also lead to
internet addiction. The growing number of
studies conducted on Internet addiction revealed
that internet addiction is a psychosocial disorder; this disorder includes lack
of patience, symptoms of isolation and emotional disorders and interruption of
social relations. Internet addiction is generally defined as an uncontrollable
desire to use the internet. When someone that suffers from internet addiction
is deprived from technology they tend to experience intense nervousness and
aggression; they can even begin to feel like someone going through withdrawal.
Young adults and children are far more likely to suffer from internet addiction
mostly because they spend immense amounts of time using technology every day.
The study conducted by the Department of Adult Psychiatry in the Poland Medical
University, showed that Internet addiction was seen to be quite common among
young adults, especially children. According to the research that was conducted
every fourth child is addicted to the internet. Internet addiction can also lead
to social isolation caused by the overuse of technology.

Technology causes people to feel more alone
because they are overly dependent on it;
when people start to get too attached to their technology it starts to
negatively affect their social interaction and causes them to become more
socially awkward and lonely. Research revealed that being lonely is even more
dangerous to people’s health than being overweight and loneliness can even
increase their risk of dying by 26%.

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