You are now connected – to everything. From your cell phone, you can access your bank accounts, register for school and monitor you the house remotely in addition to performing a plethora of other tasks. From ordering takeout to checking your Facebook and Twitter accounts, your phone has become your lifeline. If it is misplaced, then it may seem like your entire world has shut down. While it probably costs about a few hundred dollars, the information that you’ve stored on it (i.e. pictures, contacts and numerous apps) is priceless. Technology’s important, but its pervasiveness has impacted human lives, more specifically their mental and physical health.
Today, everything is connected to or run by a computer, and this has affected society. For one, technology has changed education. In days past, when students enrolled in courses, they had to go to the registrar’s office. Today, they can not only register for classes but also pay for them using their phones. Technology has also revolutionized commerce around the world. As recently as 20 years ago, if people wanted to shop, then they would need go to the nearest mall or department store. Today, they can purchase anything that they need with a cell phone, an Internet connection and a debit/credit card. More importantly, banking has changed so that all consumers need is to set up their online banking accounts, where they can enroll in online bill pay and complete a variety of tasks. For a person to be a functionally literate participant in today’s tech-savvy society, he or she would need basic computer skills.
These skills are necessary because of the various types of technologies available to today’s consumer. The most widely used technology is probably the cell phone, which has evolved from a bulky, expensive model to a sleek, pocket-sized phone that completes everything and anything. Not only has the cell phone become central to carrying out tasks, but this technology has also become a modern date and address book, as a person can text, email and log onto any social media site to connect to those close and far away. Of all the technologies, this one seems to be central to daily interactions in human life. Other technologies that make a large impact include tablet computers, laptops and personal computers. These are very similar to cell phones, but they have transformed how humans receive information. Computers revolutionized the way that news is disseminated, how the entertainment industry delivers media and the way that online gaming is accessed in the global community.
While technology is pervasive, there are adverse effects to its overuse. The most obvious effect that technology has on humans is a lack of interpersonal communication. Because everything is either automated or can be performed online, humans do not talk to each other as much they should. Whether a person is too consumed by texting and phone calls to interact with friends or walking down the street while looking at his or her phone, technology has driven a great wedge between human interaction and become an even bigger distraction. These digital connections hinder making valuable personal connections with people. Other physical and mental effects involve:
- Sleep quality. Those who spend less time in front of a computer sleep better.
- A 40-pound push affects the spine when the head is tilted forward to look at the screen as opposed to ten to 12 pounds when one sits normally.
- When people are in front of the computer constantly, they do not interact with the world or make new connections.
- Video game addiction. Playing for hours is akin to other addictions, as the rise in the levels of dopamine is similar. Treatment centers all over the country have developed programs for teens in response to this new addiction. For example, Newport Academy offers counseling for technology-related disorders that resolves underlying issues at the root of the problem. This particular treatment center looks at which life stressors might impact a teen’s video game addiction.
- By spending a long time seated in front of a computer, whether for work or play, humans become very sedentary.
While technology is of great importance to today’s humans, it can hinder people physically and mentally. The convenience of technologies has cut in half the time that it takes to complete most tasks. At the same time, though, they have interfered with the way that humans relate and connect to each other. The future of human civilization depends on whether society can balance convenience with the basic human need to bond socially and interpersonally.