With the advent of COVID-19, technology has been a boon to mankind in several ways. Whether it was everything being shifted online with the help of technology, from online classes, to meetings, to virtually celebrating birthdays, weddings and several more important occasions. We humans got very used to this way of ‘online’ living. Technology has definitely made our day to day lives easier but have we ever stopped and thought about the effects of technology on human psychology?
Due to the pandemic everything has shifted online and due to that we are constantly on laptops and phones. Screen time of individuals has sky rocketed now more than ever.
Social media and mobile devices may lead to psychological and physical issues, such as eyestrain and difficulty focusing on important tasks. They may also contribute to more serious health conditions, such as depression(Legg, 2020).
The negative effects of technology on human psychology:
- The psychological effects of technology include isolation because while technology is supposed to bring people together, it has the opposite effect in some cases. Often people get too relaxed in their comfort zones and this can lead to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation. Finding ways to reduce social media use, such as setting time limits for social apps, may help reduce feelings of isolation in some people.
- The physical effects of technology include eyestrain and bad posture. Viewing the screen for hours at a stretch especially in the night time can lead to eyestrain. Symptoms of digital eyestrain can include blurred vision and dry eyes. Eyestrain may also lead to pains in other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, or shoulders. When using forms of digital screens such as phones, tablets or the television, the American Optometric Association recommended using the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20 second break to look at something at least 20 feet away. Doing so can help reduce the strain on the eyes from staring at the screen for long periods of time.
- Poor posture could also lead to musculoskeletal issues. Correcting posture problems while using technology may lead to an overall improvement in posture and strength in the core, neck, and back. For example, if a person finds themselves sitting in the same position for hours at a stretch, such as sitting at a desk while working, regularly standing or stretching may help reduce strain on the body. Additionally, taking short breaks, such as walking around the office or home every hour, may also help keep the muscles loose and avoid tension and incorrect posture.
- Using technology too close to bedtime may cause issues with sleep. This effect has to do with the fact that blue light, such as the light from cell phones, e-readers, and computers, stimulates the brain. Authors of a study conducted in 2014, found that this blue light is enough to disturb the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This disturbance could make it harder to fall asleep or lead to a person feeling less alert the next day. To avoid the potential impact of blue light on the brain, people can stop using electronic devices that emit blue light in the hour or two before bedtime. Gentle activities to wind down with instead, such as reading a book, doing gentle stretches, taking a bath, or meditating are alternatives.
The positive effects of technology on human psychology:
While there are several negative impacts on the psychology of a human mind because of technology, it is vital to note that every coin has two sides and thus it is notable to realise how technology aided humans throughout the course of the pandemic.
- Not only the pandemic but also now, work from home and virtual meetings are still doing the rounds. When everything was on a standstill, people could still stay connected all over the world due to the advent of technology.
- Health apps also track chronic illnesses and communicate vital information to doctors. They can track your diet, exercise and mental health information. During the pandemic virtual doctor visits were the only thing keeping everyone alive.
- Children and young adults were continuing their education and learning online. Through virtual zoom classes and e-classrooms, the world stopped meeting but education and work continued.
- Technology also enhanced our communication with others. Through applications such as zoom, facetime and skype, the human connection felt very close even though everyone was so far apart. With the ease of social media, socialization and staying in touch with friends and family has become much easier. It has also had a positive impact on friendships as it has helped people from all around the world become closer and form more long lasting friendships.
- Technology has also made long distance relationships in the pandemic possible. With virtual dates and phone calls being made easy due to technology, staying in touch with near and dear ones definitely has a positive effect on the psychology of a human. One of the main ways that technology impacts relationships is that it has led to more offline interaction. For instance, if you meet someone online that you feel comfortable with, the next step is to meet them in person. If you hadn’t met them online, you may not have ever met that person. Some studies also show that people who interact regularly through social media, cell phones, and messaging discuss important topics with more people than other users. This sense of community, especially the ability to create togetherness over long distances, is the greatest impact of technology, the internet, and social media. In the past, if you moved to another city, the only way to stay in touch was to “reach out and touch someone” through phone or even by mailing handwritten letters. Now, you can interact with your friends in real time in many different ways such as video chat, which can help us feel closer.
- While individuals could not physically go for their therapy sessions during the pandemic, online conversations and therapy became an individual’s solace and way out of the daily rat race of life. Technology allowed for mental health counsellors and therapists to reach their patients at their convenience and on the platform preferred by both. Using social media to reach a far greater and younger audience and to emphasise the importance of therapy was made possible through technology.
While technology in the 21st century is a necessity it has several positives and negatives that we must review before letting it take over our lives completely. While everything in life comes with a pinch of salt, we too need to use technology mindfully due to its impact and effect on human psychology.
image credit: Unity photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com
You may also read : tips on keeping healthy while at home, during lock down or now post it.
watch the interview with sports psychologist :