The Internet… it seems to make people happier and more productive… But does it really? We all feel we know the pros to search engines and social networking, but what are the cons, if any, to staying connected to the iworld outside of our personal boxes?
Believe it or not, studies show that not only could our portable devices and social networks be making us dumber and lonelier, but could also be causing us depression, anxiety, to be prone to obsessive-compulsive (OCD) and attention-deficit disorders (ADHD) and even causing outright psychotic nature. Ouch! Our digital minds are causing normal people like you and me (sometimes I wonder about you) breakdowns in seemingly new ways and I’m not sure we recognize it!
I read this morning that in the summer of 1996, seven young researchers at MIT blurred the lines between man and computer, living simultaneously in the physical and virtual worlds. They carried keyboards in their pockets, radio-transmitters in their backpacks, and a clip-on screen in front of their eyes. They called themselves “cyborgs”—and they were freaks. But a woman named Sherry Turkle, a psychologist at MIT, points out, “we are all cyborgs now” in this 21st Century. This life of continuous connection has come to seem normal, but that’s not the same as saying that it’s healthy or sustainable, as technology—to paraphrase the old line about alcohol—becomes the cause of and solution to of all life’s problems.
In less than the span of one childhood, the average person has merged with machine, staring at one screen at least, but for most two or more screens, for at least eight hours a day, more time than we spend on any other activity including sleeping. Teens have some seven hours of screen time into the average school day; 11, if you count time spent multitasking on several devices. Just over 4 years ago when President Obama last ran for office, the iPhone had yet to be launched. Now smartphones outnumber the old models in America, and more than a third of users get online before getting out of bed. Wow!
Meanwhile, texting has become like blinking: the average person, regardless of age, sends or receives about 400 texts a month, four times the 2007 number. The average teen processes an astounding 3,700 texts a month, double the 2007 figure. And more than two-thirds of these normal, everyday cyborgs, myself included, report feeling their phone vibrate when in fact nothing is happening. Researchers call it “phantom-vibration syndrome.” I felt that more than 10 times in one day just last week. I kept checking my iPhone screen only to see there was no communication attempts made. I must admit… I was slightly disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong friends from this blog, I appreciate my technology and social networking sites. I try to use them to encourage others about Christ and our Father while it helps me excel in the workplace but hopefully not to the point of addiction or stronghold. However, I think we need to be aware of where this may be heading down the line so we can keep a grip on our reality, our faith and who God is creating us to be and not who the iworld wants us to be. The Internet is still ours to shape, but our minds may very well be in the balance if we don’t stay in control. I don’t desire any of us to become iCrazy!