Technology has become an integral part of our lives. We use it to communicate, work, learn, and play. However, technology has positive and negative effects on mental health.
Furthermore, growing evidence shows that technology can positively and negatively affect mental health. Conversely, technology can be used to connect with others, access mental health resources, and manage symptoms of mental illness.
Additionally, technology can be addictive, interfere with sleep, and lead to social comparison and cyberbullying. So, this article will explore the potential positive and negative effects of technology on mental health.
We will also discuss how to use technology healthily.
Table of Contents
What Are The Different Ways Technology Controls Us?
Technology can control us in various ways (directly and indirectly). Check out the most common forms below:
- Addiction: Technology can be addicting, and excessive use can result in issues including anxiety, social isolation, and lack of sleep.
- Data collection: Tech companies gather enormous amounts of information about you that they can use to track your behavior, target you with advertisements, and influence your decisions.
- Algorithms: From the news we see to the things we purchase, algorithms are utilized to manage how we engage with technology. Additionally, these algorithms may be biased, resulting in discrimination and other adverse effects.
- Surveillance: Technology can be utilized to keep tabs on your whereabouts and activities. In addition to being utilized for objectives like corporate marketing or government surveillance, this can also be used for legal purposes like security and public safety.
- Manipulation: Technology can be used to control our thoughts, feelings, and actions. For instance, social media companies use algorithms to display things that will probably make us angry or happy, which keeps us involved with their platforms.
- Isolation: The things and people in our real life can become distant to us because of technology. For instance, those who spend excessive time on social media may struggle to establish real-life relationships.
- Unrealistic expectations: Technology might lead to unrealistic expectations in our lives. For instance, social media might make us feel inferior because we may not have as many friends or followers as our peers.
It is essential to understand how technology can control you so that you can use it mindfully and healthily. Additionally, learn to set limits on your screen time, understand the potential biases in algorithms, and be picky about the content you consume. Doing this will ensure that you protect yourself from technology’s adverse effects.
Effects of Technology on Mental Health
Although technology has made life easier today, it has positive and negative effects on our mental health. And in this section, we’ll explore the positive and negative impact of technology on mental health.
Positive Effects of Technology on Mental Health
Let’s walk you through the positive effects of technology on our mental health:
- Connection: Technology can be utilized to connect with others, create a sense of community, and feel less alone. For instance, social media can be used to communicate with loved ones or join online support groups.
- Access to resources: You can access information and resources on mental health using technology. For instance, numerous websites and apps offer information on mental health issues, available treatments, and coping mechanisms.
- Managing symptoms: You can also use technology to control the signs and symptoms of mental illness. For example, some apps can help you to track your mood, medication use, and sleep.
- Relaxation and mindfulness: Technology can help with these two things. Moreover, some apps and websites provide relaxation exercises and guided meditations.
- Education and awareness: Technology can be used to teach individuals about mental health issues and increase awareness of the value of mental health. Moreover, you can get information and resources about mental health disorders through some apps and websites.
- Telehealth: People who live in remote places or have trouble accessing traditional mental health care may find it very beneficial to receive it remotely.
- Virtual reality therapy: A new and developing technique called virtual reality therapy uses virtual reality to address mental health issues. It has been demonstrated that this kind of therapy is helpful in treating phobias, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and anxiety disorders.
- Artificial intelligence: New methods of identifying and treating mental health issues are being developed using artificial intelligence. Additionally, AI is being utilized to create algorithms that can recognize symptoms of mental illness in posts on social media.
It is crucial to remember that while technology cannot treat mental illness, it can be a valuable tool for managing symptoms and enhancing general well-being. However, you should get professional assistance when dealing with a mental health illness. Meanwhile, modern medicine can benefit from technological advancements.
Negative Effects of Technology on Mental Health
Yes, let’s explore how technology, while very beneficial in many ways, can occasionally harm mental health.
- Digital Addiction: The constant allure of social media, online gaming, and streaming services can result in addictive behavior, affecting real-life relationships and decreasing face-to-face interactions.
- Social Comparison: Social media frequently promotes unhealthy comparisons since users only reveal the best parts of their lives, which makes other users feel inadequate and develop low self-esteem.
- Cyberbullying: Because of the anonymity offered by the internet, cyberbullying can become more severe, causing victims to experience anxiety and emotional discomfort alongside long-term mental health problems.
- Sleep disturbances: Excessive screen time, especially right before bed, can cause sleep disturbances because of the blue light that it emits. This can lower the quality of sleep and worsen conditions like insomnia.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Constant exposure to online lives that have been carefully managed can amplify FOMO, making people feel as though they are missing out on events, which can cause anxiety and a compulsive urge to be connected.
- Reduced attention span: Rapid information consumption through technology has been related to shorter attention spans, which makes it more difficult for people to concentrate on activities or have in-depth, meaningful conversations.
- Isolation and Loneliness: Ironically, while technology connects individuals worldwide, it can also encourage a sense of isolation as real-life connections may decline, leading to lonely and depressed feelings.
- Digital Overload: The torrent of notifications, emails, and texts can overwhelm you and make you feel stressed out and constantly “on call.”
Although technology doesn’t necessarily harm mental health, it’s essential to know these effects and balance using technology and engaging in real-world relationships.
Read this article: Exploring the World of Ketamine Therapy: What You Should Know
How To Use Technology in a Healthy Way
While there are two sides to technology (positive and negative), you can still healthily use technology without affecting your mental health. This is what we’ll look at here.
- Look at your workspace and consider how you may improve its comfort. Perhaps an ergonomic chair, a mousepad with wrist rests, or altering the screen’s brightness are possible options you should consider. Additionally, schedule regular breaks from your screen so that you can stand up and stretch.
- Before going to bed, ensure to turn off all of your screens.
- Avoid using technology too much. Alternate between tech-related and non-tech-related activities, such as reading a book or talking to a friend. If you choose to read an eBook, be sure the device you use doesn’t emit glare that could strain your eyes.
- Choose a time when you will use your device. Instead of constantly checking your phone or other device, have your muted and set a specific time. You could begin with 20 minutes and gradually advance to once every half hour or hour.
Ultimately, the impact of technology on mental health depends on how you use it. If used healthily, technology can be a valuable tool for promoting well-being. However, if used excessively or negatively, it can have harmful effects.
- medicalnewstoday.com – Negative effects of technology: What to know