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There are 4 major repercussions of over use of technology.

1. Increase in anxiety.
2. Decrease in our ability to attend and focus for extended periods of time.
3. Boredom.
4. New found ability to be unable to talk to anyone face to face.

~ Dr. Larry Rosen, Author of The Distracted mind: Ancient brains in a high-tech world.

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Part A: Our Distraction Addiction:

 

Tech has tuned us out and engrossed us in a world of screens and fantasy fiction. Its desensitizing us and making us overlook human connections. It is dangerously reducing our attention spans. Allison Graham, an author and a TED speaker says, “If you’re driving 55 miles an hour, and look down at your phone for 5 seconds, you’ve just now driven the length of an entire football field completely blind.”

As we continue to engage online with exponential amounts of speed, our regular lives can seem exceptionally boring and monotonous. And as a result, we’re overwhelmed juggling between the online and real worlds. Read more HERE.

 

Instant Gratification and Irritability:

In a world of instant downloads and instant meals, online shopping can feel like a blessing. The speed and ease with which things can be delivered and the instant satisfaction of purchasing what we need with a click is also part of the allure. This short-term satisfaction reinforces the cycle of rewards and desires. As a result, we stay tethered to our devices.

FOMO:

7 out of 10 people feel the need to be on some form of social media, because of FOMO. The fear of missing out because you’re not connected to your peer group is difficult. The choice can leave one feeling isolated. Imagine the number of Facebook invites, garage sales and school closure information you missing out on – can be one’s validation to hang onto their online community. People report even having biological responses for fear of social anxiety.

Stress Infused by Information Overload:

It feels good that we have likes, there is absolutely no requirement for talent or having to be exceptional, rare and have anything valuable to offer. Cue, the Kardashian sisters.
Stats: YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens. Fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’ (Pew Center, 2018)
Risks: Overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted.
AND
Juggling our online and offline lives constantly.

Highlight Reel:

1100 college students commit suicide every year in the US. High standards of life are brought about stupid comparison stories people tell themselves in their head. No one knows the background of the person who has a flamboyant highlight reel on Instagram. Raw personal stories of struggle almost never make it to the wall on any given day. Even when a tumor is being removed today, a person will wait for 15 days to share their experience, while today he or she is liking pictures of their friends from the hospital bed.

Content Creation and Distribution:

We are living in a world of information avalanches that are choking up the internet and in turn our brain waves. The first lesson on the harmful effects of Email itself should be a great reminder. “Email is someone else’s important agenda for you to work on.”

Perfectionism:

What: Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame.
Stats: Teens who spend 3 or more hours per day on electronic devices are 35% more likely to have at least 1 suicide risk factor. Teen suicide rates has increased 46% from 2008 to 2015. (Twenge, 2017)
Risks: Low self-esteem.

Counter Productivity:

Technology was supposed to be a super cool addition to make our hectic lives as efficient as possible. Instead, it has turned out to be the main stay of our lives, while we try to work on our big goals in the margins. We are fighting daily matches of distractions to eke out a few minutes here and there between our social media and Internet consumption to work on our serious personal and professional goals.

Social Forgetting:

People are becoming victims of their own stupid behavior online, because the internet has the memory of an elephant. There have been instances of many employees who have been fired or are in fear of losing their jobs because of their personal photos on the internet, many of which have been taken out of context from years ago.

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Part B: Social Evils: 

 

Loneliness:

Today, an estimated 28% of all American homes are single-person households, according to a 2018 report from the US Census Bureau. Nearly 5% of the US population lives in retirement homes. More than 2 million Americans are incarcerated, according to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

A 2019 Pew Research center survey found that 36% of girls report being extremely anxious every day. They’re anxious about school shootings, global warming, and their ability to afford college.

There’s been a lot of attention devoted to how technology is scattering our attention and corroding our relationships, but less to how it’s impairing our capacity for solitude. We’re so overstimulated that being alone has become unbearable—a fact that was highlighted in a series of studies from 2014, where people preferred giving themselves electric shocks rather than sitting still alone in a room for 6 to 15 minutes. In the lab, we shock ourselves; in real life, we reach for our phones in a lecture hall, in line—even when we’re driving.
~ Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters.

Doomscrolling:

Dictionary says that Doomscrolling or Doomscrolling are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Many people started finding themselves reading continuously bad news about COVID-19 without the ability to stop or step back.
Read more HERE.

Watch our struggles with Phoneliness, Doomscrolling and The Rise of The Blurred Reality HERE.

Digital Drama:

Children, tweens, and teens—unfortunately—have always had to deal with bullying and drama. We did, our parents did, our grandparents did…and so on. Traditional in-person bullying and drama still exists.

But our youth today also have to deal with bullying and drama online now because of how connected they have become with each other through technology. They have more avenues of staying connected than us, through texts, emails, online gaming, video chat and of course, social media.
Read more HERE.

Fame Hungry:

In 2018, New York Times had reported that the standard price for 25,000 fake followers on Twitter was $225.
What: It feels good that we have likes, there is absolutely no requirement for talent or having to be exceptional, rare and have anything valuable to offer. Cue, the Kardashian sisters.
Stats: I tweet, I post, I blog, therefore I am. ~ Dr. Mark Federman
Risks: Shallow lives.
Negative self-attention

Superficial Social Capital:

Likes, comments, shares – This is the Attention Economy that we live in. Consequently, we are victims of the reinforcement paradigm. We are taking down pictures if they don’t get enough likes. Middle school kids post mostly after 5pm on Instagram, so they can get the most activity on their posts.

Phubbing:

People give their devices more company than their loved ones who’re sitting across them in the same room. People attend parties, so that they can feed their #hashtag addiction by posting pictures of the event on their social media statuses. See those duck faced aunties pouting for selfies while giving the chills to their teenage children?

Materialism:

What: Instagram and celebrity culture has introduced brands to children and teens. Anyone can shop 24/7 from anywhere thanks to the internet. Sometimes, with a single click of a button.
Stats: Materialistic kids have lower grades, and higher rates of depression and substance abuse than non-materialistic kids. They are less philanthropic and feel dissatisfied with what they have. (Levine, 2006)
Risks: Entitlement.

Ghosting:

Dictionary says, Ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Young people ghost each other these days after going on dates for a few times. They simply don’t have the people skills to face the other person to say, “Maybe this is not working out. Let’s not hang out anymore.”

Buying Shopping Disorder:

Anything on the internet where money is traded for goods or services can be categorized as online shopping. Online shopping turns into BSD – Buying Shopping Disorder, when the nature of our gambling, trading stocks, attending online auctions, unlimited online shopping exceed what is deemed necessary.

Read more about this and other technology addiction disorders HERE.

 

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Part C: Criminal Mentality On Steroids:

 

Online Harassment:

40% have experienced it and 73% have witnessed it. You just have to look at the comments section of any article on any website to see the violent nature of the dark side of the internet. Trolls, cyber bullies abound – hiding behind fake screen names and masked IP addresses.

Grooming:

Groomers or perverts, through DMs, are encouraging children and teens to send them explicit content in the guise of mentoring.
Watch the Documentary: Keep This Between Us

Grooming

 

Cyberbullying:

What: On the internet, it takes very little for a harmless joke to become a deeply hurtful verbal assault, especially if it’s done publicly. Parents can be held liable for juvenile behavior.
Stats: 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online, and a similar share says it’s a major problem for people their age. At the same time, teens mostly think teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing at addressing this issue. (Pew Center, 2018)
Results: Suspension or jail sentence for bully

Doxxing:

Doxxing is a very common way of taking revenge online on people or harm the safety of a stranger or celebrity. Spiteful people spy on your personal data and publish it to harm you and your family. Doxxing is to search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the internet, typically with malicious intent.

Sexting:

What: Teens share nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Or forward compromising pictures of friends or others that they’ve received.
Stats: Around 15% of teens are sending sexts, nearly 27% of teens are receiving them. (Covenant Eyes Porn Stats, 2018)
Risks: Legal trouble

Keyboard Activism And Outrage:

No one wants to dig deeper into any news. They look at things superficially and jump to conclusions. Most of us are just looking to be recreationally offended.

Gone are the days when movements and protests took weeks and months to organize. The means by which activists are making protests, petitions and persuasion tactics for change in mass mentality using online methods has risen to what’s being referred to as Keyboard activism. Like in traditional activism, unfortunately, most people engage in this form of activism if its easy (in this case, a click of button to spread the message), non-committal and comes at no particular personal cost.

Read more HERE.

Fake Opinions:

Hotels, restaurants, books, movies – So many places you can champion the opinion on the internet. Ugh. Some books on Amazon.com have 3000 comments. Reddit is full of *$#$%*#$%#$%, that I know so many 20 year olds are spending their entire days reading and laughing across coffee shops all across the world. Who are these people who have the time to consume everything that’s on the internet??? Why are we creating so much content?? Who’s
having the last laugh?

Online Predators / Sex Offenders:

What: While they’re seeking stimulation, strangers are seeking their attention. Kids are starving for attention and are befriending strangers on the internet.
Stats: 57% of teens have met a new friend online, and nearly 29% say they’ve made more than five friends in digital spaces (Lenhart, 2015)
Risks: Psychological, mental and physical assaults

 

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Part D: Physical Ailments:

 

Our persistent foggy hysteria – called life, is sadly not being adapted as a real addiction. Along with a long list of ailments like headaches, dry and red eyes, vision loss, weight gain there are other physical manifestations of stressors of our modern technology driven lives.

 

Text Neck:

Wiki: Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently.

Sleep Disruption due to Tech:

Source: Hysing M, Pallesen S, Stormark KM, et al; Sleep and use of electronic devices in adolescence: results from a large population-based study
BMJ Open 2015;5:e006748. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006748

Phantom Vibration:

Wiki: Phantom vibration syndrome or phantom ringing is the perception that one’s mobile phone is vibrating or ringing when it is not ringing.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the inflammation of the median nerve in the wrists. Not using ergonomic equipment can exacerbate pain and numbness in the area.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

It’s important to remember that the gut is the second brain. And anxiety, FOMO, depression and the inability to focus can lead to long term digestive disorders.

Nomophobia:

Is the anxiety and fear of being without a mobile phone.

 

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Part E: Co-occurring Conditions:

 

• attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• anxiety
• depression
• hypomania and bipolar disorder
• obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
• substance use disorder
• suicide risk
• dissociative symptoms
• insomnia
• alexithymia (trouble feeling or identifying emotions)
• low self-esteem

 

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Solutions: How To Leave Good Digital Footprints? 

 

Read them HERE

 

* * *

 

About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

The Digital Literacy Project: Disrupting humanity’s technology addiction habits one truth at a time.

Truth About Technology – A Digital Literacy Project

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