In a society that praises its ability to connect with others from virtually anywhere, we have allowed for real interactions to fade away. The quality of genuine interactions between people is a thing of the past. Not only have face to face interactions changed, but so have our attention spans. It is difficult for people to maintain their concentration for more than twenty minutes. Lack of concentration can be attributed to the distractions technology has created in our everyday lives. Moreover, people are too focused on what is on their phones, rather than on what is happening around them. Instead of spending time with their loved ones, people spend time glaring at their phones.
Technology, with the help of society, has caused us to be concentrated more on how people perceive us, than what is truly within us, specifically, through the invention of social media. Similarly, people view the quality of a photo as more important than the making of the memory. Technology is unconsciously impacting our day-to-day lives and changing society as we know it. Here are six ways technology is adversely impacting the people of the twenty-first century.
1. Studies Show People Have Lost the Ability to Communicate
While technology has connected our world via the internet, it has hindered the ability for people to communicate effectively in face to face interactions. Individuals “hide” behind their screens and don’t know how to engage in social settings. In a study conducted by Przybylski and Weinstein, technology proved to have adverse effects on the quality of face to face communication. Similarly, people are more inclined to communicate with one another through their phones even in close proximity.
2. Reliance on the Internet
Technology has enabled self-education to thrive through the use of the internet. We are able to look up almost anything and answer all our unknown questions. However, this has hindered the intrinsic intellect our ancestors possessed. Today, individuals rely on the internet more than ever, causing the loss of motivation to learn. Memory is not crucial when you can find the answer on the internet. A study in the Journal of Digital Information, found that technology has hindered our long-term memory. Our quick searching tendencies on the internet has allowed us to find answers rapidly while inhibiting our ability to retain information, which in essence drives human progress.
3. Compromised Privacy
The nature of less face to face interaction has formed a segway where talking to people online, whether known or unknown, is all the same. People have become desensitized and do not see the possible implications and threats of talking to unknown individuals online. Children are the most vulnerable due to their inexperience with technology and the internet. They post things online that could possibly put them in danger. Not only has the internet compromised our privacy, but it has allowed for bullying to change forms from face to face interaction and now through the internet. Bullying can now occur anywhere and at any hour of the day.
4. Preoccupation with Social Media
With the creation of the internet came the emergence of social media. Social media has allowed us to stay informed in what is happening in the world, and stay connected with our family and friends across the globe. However, social media has placed too much of a focus on “likes” than on our human values. Individuals are preoccupied with their appearance and impressing others, that they forget about the inner qualities we should all strive towards.
5. Degradation of Academic Integrity
Of course, academic dishonesty has always been around due to human nature, but technology has enabled for almost anything to be available online including answers for tests, homework, research papers, and so on. In a study conducted by Papp and Wertz, showed that technology has enabled students an innovative outlet to assist in cheating activities. The help of technology through phones, students can easily cheat and gain help through the use of these avenues. Students are relying on the internet for answers, hence, truly not mastering the content of their coursework. This presents obvious implications as to how competent individuals will emerge into the workforce.
6. Easily Distracted While Driving
Needless to say, our attention span does not last very long. While driving you try to do it all- eat, drink, change the song, text, and so on. Although one should focus on driving, many try to multi-task, especially when it comes to using their phones. Phones present a huge distraction and can lead to alarming repercussions. There have been studies conducted to see if people can multi- task while driving. Studies show that texting completely distracts people, and prevents people from focusing on their surroundings. That is why everyone’s center of attention should be solely on driving the car.
Bringing It All Together
Technology has clearly influenced our daily lives and will continue to influence us in the modern age. Our society will only continue to advance and make our daily lives easier and easier. However, while our lives may get easier in some regards, we must pay attention on how it affects our human characteristics and human interactions. There are a myriad of implications associated with technology and we should tread cautiously. Technology has numerous benefits, but we must keep our human qualities intact and avoid creating shortcuts that are enabled through the use of technology.