In a world that grows more digital by the minute, our devices seem to have become our lifelines. The lack of good internet connection or data services turns into a bigger concern than the quickly depleting natural resources of Earth, climate change and pretty much most other phenomena that occur.
The developments with Social Media only add fuel to this fire. With an increasing need to be seen as woke and living your best life, people care about such issues not out of genuine concern but rather to achieve the requisite posts and likes on Social Media sites. The first reaction a person has to any particular situation has gone from being the logical reaction to “I need to post this.”
For those of you who read this and say, “Nah, this isn’t me. I use my devices for better purposes like working more efficiently”, I do hope you’ll understand that your behavior isn’t healthy either.
While we understand that technology is the base of life, work and social interaction today, we also recognize that it comes with certain side-effects. It was once rightly said that once a company buys you a device, they’re turned you into a corporate slave. Their devices enable you to access their servers and the requisite data from anywhere and at any time, which leads to your boss expecting you to work from home on weekends and during unreasonable hours or your holidays.
Take for example your mobile or your laptop, having constant work notifications is something we’re all used to. A sudden urgent deadline that you need to handle, a report that needs to be sent, a meeting that must be kept – all of these take away from your time, whether or not you’re on the company clock. How often has it happened that you were enjoying a nice family weekend and your boss texted you saying you need to send in a report by Monday Morning, rendering your entire weekend into a working hell? Quite often I’d resume. Although we know that it’s common for employers to do this, studies have proved that constant workload and notifications from work tend to increase stress levels continually and create a number of health issues such as heart diseases, stress, anxiety and more. Due to the realization of these side effects and studies, several countries across the World have made it illegal for employers to contact employees after hours or have them work during unacceptable hours and weekends.
The constant need to post of social media has been credited with causing severe depression, anxiety, bullying and other mental health diseases due to its adverse effects. Constantly running into a subconscious rat-race to prove that your life is better than that of everyone in your circle eventually gets to you and leads to breakdowns amongst individuals. Not only this, several deaths have been reported in cases where the victim died trying to achieve the perfect selfie or video for social media. The need to show “The good life” has become more important than life itself in several cases.
With the advent of online streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, it becomes much easier to lose yourself for days. Simply starting with one episode and finding yourself days later, un-showered, unkempt and absolutely unproductive has become a more common and accepted situation that is desirable. People lose their weekends and valuable time to TV, Video Games and the like without even realizing it. But when you get out of bed after your binge-spree, you no longer feel good about yourself. Somehow all this entertainment leaves you feeling exhausted, puffy, irritable and guilty about binge-eating and the time wasted! A once-in-a-while weekend binge might just be excused but when it becomes more common (as is the case with our generation today), it signals at bigger problems and more health effects amongst humans.
We need to understand that although technology is a blessing, it can also be a curse. It just depends on how we use it. Using your office devices to keep in touch with colleagues or working during emergencies is great but when they become the means by which your employer controls your life and takes up all your time, it’s a warning call. It’s important to set time frames for work hours beyond which you don’t even check the notifications on those devices. When it comes to Social Media, most experts recommend taking a day a week of abstinence from all social media platforms in order to improve your mental health. And as far as our binge-watch shows and video games are concerned, I highly recommend you either have massive self-discipline to stop after an hour or two of screen time or avoid the devices altogether when there’s a better alternative.
It is often said that electronic inventions are for human convenience but that’s only the case when they are used correctly and in moderation. Excessive use of technology can have adverse effects on your physical, mental and emotional health which may be tough to cure.