Is Society Too Dependent On Technology?
Technology plays a major role in our lives, and most of us may find it hard to remember a time when phones, computers, tablets, and other devices weren’t a part of everyday life. While technology certainly makes life easier and more convenient, many wonder whether or not our society is too dependent on technology.
Fact #1: According to a study by Penn State, 77% said that society as a whole relied too much on technology to succeed.
So, is society too dependent on technology? There are even more shocking facts out there to prove it.
Is Society Too Dependent On Computers/Phones?
Technology, of course, has many innumerable benefits. But this dependency on phones and computers has impacted humans negatively, too.
First and foremost, it has led users to be completely engrossed in their devices. In fact, there is even a term to describe this: “nomophobia” (no-mobile-phone-phobia) which is when a person has an actual fear of losing or being away from their phone.
Fact #2: According to Trendhunter, 66% of the population suffers from nomophobia today.
What Are The Effects Of Technology?
What does this addiction to technology do to us? Well, even if we are not addicted, technology can have an impact on our mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing. From causing stiff necks to heightened anxiety, technology has seeped through all aspects of our lives. And, if not used moderately, technology can really harm us, despite all its benefits — ultimately, by making us too dependent on it.
The Effects Of Technology On Entertainment
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were many ways that people could be entertained, which usually involved interacting with others without a device between them. For instance, people could attend dances, live events, amusement parks, or simply play a game of stickball with their friends from the neighborhood.
Though we still do these activities for entertainment, it’s much less so than before. The way we entertain ourselves these days has changed dramatically since phones, computers, and similar technologies have been interwoven into our lives.
Fact #3: The type of entertainment we get from technology today is known as “passive” entertainment. This could be anything from binge-watching a show on Netflix to listening to a podcast. It does not require much effort. Passive entertainment, or passive leisure, is different from active entertainment or active leisure, which involves the exertion of physical or mental energy.
The Effects Of Technology On How We Communicate
Technology has had an effect on how we communicate. Back in the day, people had to communicate primarily by talking to each other in person. Over time, technology gave us the unique ability to communicate with people who were far away from us, whether it was by making a phone call, sending an email, or shooting off a text.
Now, with a click of a button, we can talk to anyone in the world, any time of day — albeit with a few exceptions (being in a place without Internet or phone service). This may be good in theory, but the basic principles of healthy communication have been broken down. Think about it: has someone ever dumped you via a text message?
The Social Effect Of Technology
There’s no denying the fact that technology has made it easy for us to talk to our friends instantaneously. But, at the same time, many of us have forgotten how to interact with others without the devices between us. Or, they are able to use the device as a cover-up.
For example, technology has led to an increase in instances like cyberbullying, which is one of the many dangers of technology among young people.
Fact #4: According to DoSomething.org, about 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online. 30% have had it happen more than once.
The Effects Of Technology On The Way We Travel
Technology has strongly impacted the way we travel. Today, we are able to find where we are going much more efficiently. This started with inventions like trains, automobiles, and planes. And, centuries later, we have taken this light years further by utilizing the internet and phone apps to make travel easier and more accessible.
Fact #5: In 2019, more than 37 million Americans traveled overseas. In 2002, less than twenty years prior, that number was 23 million. There’s no question that this can be largely attributed to advancements in technology, making travel more affordable and accessible.
However, this has brought humans further away from our hunter-gatherer roots; most of us would have a hard time surviving or even getting around in a foreign place without access to technology. Technology makes it easier for people to travel who otherwise wouldn’t feel confident doing so, but there’s no denying that it’s made us have more dependence on technology.
The Effects Of Technology On How We Research
A long time ago, people would get their information by doing the research themselves, usually with the help of books, a librarian, interviewing experts, or conducting experiments themselves. This could be a rather long process, and you may never come across the answer you’re looking for.
Nowadays, you can quickly type the question you have into a search engine and find your answer. Yet, there is a downside. With the easy access to information, there’s often a lot of misinformation out there, too. Some of it isn’t even written by humans.
Fact #6: According to writer Max Read of NYMag, “…less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot.”
Knowing the Signs: How To Tell if You’re Too Dependent On Technology
There’s nothing wrong with using technology to make life easier and more convenient. It’s when we become too dependent on it that we need to take a step back and re-evaluate our reliance on technology.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re too dependent on technology, ask yourself if these statements apply to your life:
- Nothing can be done without Internet access. If you lose Internet access, you’re done working for the day.
- You lose track of time when you’re online.
- You use calculators for simple calculations.
- You feel anxious without connection.
- You are addicted to your mobile phone and/or you allow machines to dictate your responses/behaviors.
- You feel buyer’s remorse everytime you buy a new device and/or you obsess over the latest gadgets.
- You have a hard time disconnecting and focusing on the present. You find you’re not living in the present and often record moments instead of appreciating them.
- You don’t have phone numbers and/or addresses memorized.
- You find it difficult to sleep.
- You don’t go out enough; socialization takes place on your phone.
- You haven’t been creative in a while.
- You’re not able to have important and serious conversations in person.
- It’s been a while since you’ve shopped at a brick-and-mortar store.
- You feel like something’s missing when you don’t have your phone.
- You have little concern for your privacy.
Most of us probably will have answered “yes” to at least a few of these statements. But, if you’ve answered yes to a majority of them, then it may be time to start addressing your reliance on technology.
The Dangers Of Technology Dependence
If you think you are too dependent on technology but wondering why technology is bad for society, well, this dependence can be dangerous. Technology can impact us physically, mentally, and emotionally if we are not careful. It can also be harmful to others. Here’s how.
1. Anxiety And Depression
Technology dependence has been linked to anxiety and depression. Whether this comes from the fact that we are withdrawn from others, the pressures from social media, the rise of cyber bullying, or the bright phone screen that is detrimental to our sleep, all of this is taking a toll on our mental health.
Fact #7: According to a study by the University of Missouri, “We found that if Facebook users experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook, they are much more likely to report feelings of depression,” said Margaret Duffy, a professor and chair of strategic communication.
Technology has made us much more impatient than ever before. Because people can be available and accessible at all times, this has led us to believe that people should be accessible and available at all times. Most of us may get frustrated when someone does not answer their phone right away, or if we see that someone has seen a message but has not yet responded. For many, many years, hearing back from someone could take a long time; it was the norm.
Another way that our dependence on technology is dangerous is because it can impact our memory and the happy emotions that come with memory. Since technology has given us the ability to use memory cards on a device to store our information, we have not been accessing our brain’s memory as much as we are capable of doing.
Fact #8: A scientific article entitled “The Brain In Your Pocket” states that “Across three studies, we find that those who think more intuitively and less analytically when given reasoning problems were more likely to rely on their smartphones (i.e., extended mind) for information in their everyday lives.”
Technology has increased the rate of technological addiction, which is characterized as the uncontrollable urge to constantly and consistently use technological devices or the programs, apps, and platforms that come with them. Technological addiction is more common among teenagers, but children and adults are seeing the effects as well.
Fact #9: According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, “Researchers have found evidence that people who overuse technology may develop similar brain chemistry and neural patterning to those who are addicted to substances.” This can cause or worsen anxiety, depression, and even play a role in suicide in extreme cases.
5. Skill Replacement
Technology gives us the opportunity to learn new skills no matter where we are located. People can start businesses from scratch that run entirely online. However, this quick access to skills can present the same problem as with memorization. Because we turn to our devices for a particular skill-set (for instance, using a water intake app instead of knowing how much water we should be drinking on our own), it can impact our natural skill attainment abilities.
Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay
The Role Of Technological Dependence On Advancement And Innovation
So, technology helps us advance as a society, but are all the dangers of being dependent on technology actually hindering us and pushing us backwards? Many experts think so.
The more we become attached to certain devices and dependent on types of technology, the more we’ll work to improve those particular devices (while simultaneously losing our abilities to socialize, memorize, find solutions, and learn skills) and the less we’ll have the focus, desire, and ability to invent something new. Therefore, we need to reduce our dependence on technology if we want to keep innovating and bringing new ideas to fruition in the future.
Finding The Balance Of Technology And Society
Technology has so many advantages and benefits for society, and it’s important for us to not lose sight of that as we critique the problems with relying on it too much. Like with anything, moderation is a good way to not become too dependent. To mitigate this, we need to find a healthy balance between technology and society. This could mean limiting the amount of time you spend on your phone, to giving yourself an opportunity to find the answer to a problem without immediately searching for it online.
Is society too dependent on technology? Technology is a great resource in the classroom, and it can help us obtain the skills we need for a successful career. But, this must come in combination with learning how to navigate the requirements of academia and a future profession without completely relying on technology.
Fact #10: At University of the People, you can start earning your degree online and completely tuition-free — one of the great benefits of our program and technology — and find that balance on your own. Check out UoPeople’s degree programs today!