While technological improvements have made collecting data and allowing many people to collaborate on a project simultaneously easier, they also have made many of us feel lonely. Technology has built walls that isolate us from one another; we merely call them “screens.” Recently, there have been many mental health movements interested in technology and how it affects the brain. Some people say that the new possibilities technology has introduced weighs out any negatives, but should we be losing our humanity too?
Technology has caused separation between people, especially through social media. Social media has destroyed the intimacy and trust it takes to talk to one another in person. For instance, a study that was conducted at Michigan University concluded that, “college-aged users feel worse the more they used Facebook” (Study at Michigan University, 2013). In addition, social media has not only deprived us of conversation, but also the ability to express our emotions to one another. The “like-button” has somehow made people feel that their emotions can be conveyed accurately through the click of a button. Some critics contend that people need to look deeper for self-worth, than achieving “likes” by posting selfies on social media.
Social Media is not the only technology causing these feelings of loneliness and depression, but also the devices themselves. For example, a normal interaction between people requires eye contact, listening skills, and empathy. However, due to phone “conversations,” people have been reduced a couple minutes of interaction where one person could be not paying attention, miscommunication occurs, or someone ends up hurting the other’s feelings. According to a study done at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, “one third of Blackberry users demonstrate many of the same signs of addiction as alcoholics and or drug users.” Cell phone addiction causes, similar to that of drug and alcohol addicts, detrimental effects on the mind. It deprives us of true human contact, and so magnifies our greatest fear: the fear of being alone.
In order to combat this increasing loneliness, we need to open up this conversation to all. Despite everything, technology aims for perfection, but it is imperfections that truly make us human.