A lot of us talk about how social media can impact our mental and physical health as well as our relationships with ourselves and other people. While this is an important conversation that needs to be had, we mustn’t forget that technology itself can be just as unhealthy. Think about it. How many hours do you spend on the computer, on your phone or other device, whether it is for leisure or for work? Our phone is probably the first thing that we look at in the morning, then we spend almost the whole day looking at a computer screen for work, only to go to bed and strain our eyes at night on a small screen. Some of us even use two digital devices simultaneously. Since most of us are indoors it is a lot more tempting to keep picking up our phones too.
There is no doubt that we need technology, especially since the pandemic has shifted school work and office work online. Phones also allow us to text, call or facetime our friends, work colleagues and family who may be far away from us and this is a lifeline for many people’s social life. We need some form of human connection for our wellbeing, especially during lonely lockdowns. However, spending too much time on our devices can have an adverse effect on us. It can impact on our mental health, sleep, productivity and motivational levels and relationships with people in our household.
According to Frontiers in Psychiatry, phone and technology addiction can mean losing interest in other activities, feeling irritable or uneasy if separated from your phone, or feeling anxiety or loneliness when you’re unable to send or receive an immediate message. Some people are addicted to their phones because they are trying to suppress negative emotions and use their phone as a coping mechanism. Although this may temporarily distract users, eventually that suppression of emotion will worsen their mental health. In addition, social media posts endless news content as well as toxic positivity content. When you’re exposed to such endless harmful content for too long it can have an impact on your mental health and even exacerbate pre-existing anxieties.