Sarah Scott is a public relations advanced diploma student at Humber college.
Do you ever wish you could unplug yourself? Not just your Mac, PC, tablet, or smartphone, but unplug your mind? In a society fuelled by smart phones, television, tablets and laptops, it is easy to loose track of the number of hours our eyes spend looking at screens. Many people in North America are dealing with overwhelming anxiety, depression or even stress. One has to wonder if it is because of the pressures of school, work and home life. Or, is it all somehow connected to our screen time usage?
In a world where we have nervous breakdowns when our phone battery is at one per cent,
one has to wonder if technology is to blame for the 200 per cent increase in mental health illness in the past decade. After reading the article, “Heavy Technology Use Linked to Fatigue, Stress and Depression in Young Adults”, which was published by Huffington Post, one cannot deny that there is a connection between the power of our minds and the power of our technological devices.
As we are constantly texting, tweeting, listening to music or checking Facebook or Instagram, we leave ourselves no time to process difficult emotions or stress. We have no time to sit in silence and contemplate all that we have been through that day, week or even month. And, no time to allow the brain to work through problems and figure out solutions. We distract our minds with LED screens and funny cat videos on YouTube while tucking our worries and anxieties into the back of our minds and hoping that one day they will work themselves out.
At some point we have to look at ourselves and ask, what has changed? Why now? What is it that has led to this horrific increase in mental illness in youth and young adults? With technology being as innovative and new as it is, articles are only being published now about the detrimental effects of heavy technology use.
One of the questions I have been asking myself lately though, and I challenge you to ask the same, is it the screen time that is affecting our minds and mental health or is it the content we view? With unlimited access to music videos, advertisements and risqué content I believe that it is not just the screens that are affecting us. It is the limitless images of unrealistic body types and unhealthy relationship dynamics that we bare witness to in our hit TV drama series that may be contributing to the negative influences in our lives.
We have forgotten that the real world and our true values as a human race exist outside of technology and cannot be found within the digital world. It is as if we blanket ourselves with these devices to make us feel more safe and connected. We hold onto our phones so tight that we develop a closer bond with our iPhones or Samsungs than we do with our friends, significant others or family.
Cyber bullying, physical ailments, intimacy and self-esteem issues have all been linked to technology use in one way or another. It is about time we pull ourselves away from these devices, not to just prevent ourselves from walking into poles and people on the street, but to prevent a world where the psychological issues stem from the one thing that was meant to bring us closer together, technology.
With our heads constantly looking down at a screen, the world outside our electronic devices continues to pass us by. Our unlimited access to information, communication and social media, is turning our generation into a hunchback society filled with serious musculoskeletal problems, communication, intimacy and trust issues. It’s a major contributor towards low self-esteem and cyber bullying. Our society is neglecting the real world and taking for granted many wonderful things about life. Don’t let a screen destroy your health and happiness; pick up a book, go for a walk, window shop, exercise, take an hour a day and do something for yourself and for that hour, unplug yourself.
The real world awaits your arrival. How will you unplug yourself?