Remember when placing a remote call meant stepping into a free standing phone booth? Electronic and wireless communications have made it possible for us to handle emergencies, reach across the globe to family, and work remotely. But all of that convenience and efficiency comes at a price. The incursion of technology into our homes means less down time. Smart phones and Blackberries rip into relationships and thwart leisure pursuits. And work/life balance seems to be a thing of the past.
Families are feeling it, too. Ask any parent. Many teens seem to have fallen into a tech sinkhole. And their constant texting and abuse of social media may even be holding them back from attaining social and developmental milestones. Likewise adolescent communication skills may have gone the way of the Dictaphone, at least according to one expert. So, when is overuse just that, and when does it become an addiction?
It’s easy to blame social media outlets, those splashy internet newcomers, for the upending of our privacy. Even therapists have started communicating on Twitter, raising the question of whether private matters can ethically be unveiled for all to see. Bullies, too, have jumped on the bandwagon. Technology has armed them with a new arsenal of hate-tools, raising the dangers of internet aggression to new levels.
I have been thinking about these issues and others, and about the mixed blessing and perils of technology. Even as wireless communications and the internet have opened things up, constant contact and 24/7access imperil mental health and overall quality of life. Has all of the convenience been worth it--what do you think? Please leave a comment.
Stephanie Newman, Ph.D., is the author of Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit TV Show, which can be purchased from Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, and Amazon.