The use of the Internet and modern technological devices have abnormally stimulated the thinking and behavior of the mass majority of people who use these gadgets. The new iPhone introduces new features such as easier connectivity with friends that make it easier to stay online for a longer amount of time. Students, business professionals, and the young people have become trapped by their cell phones, laptops, and tablets, talking to their friends and sending business emails while disregarding the rest of their lives.
This way of living creates a lack of focus on work and relationships, making people want to manage their way of living on the grid. Social media websites could ruin friendships generally, but also contain many practical remedies that help one unplug from social media and focus more on their relationships. These devices also promote new ways of managing the negative effects of technology on cognitive thinking skills. These ways of handling the bad aspects of the Internet could create positive productivity in one’s life.
Technology could be metaphorically compared to a drug dependency with crazy withdrawal symptoms, proving to be an addiction that is difficult to break.
Technology has brought negativity to relationships around the United States, causing features similar to that of drug dependency. The New York Times article, “More Americans Sense a Downside to an Always Plugged-In Existence” by Marjorie Connelly states, “One in seven married respondents said the use of these devices was causing them to see less of their spouses. And 1 in 10 said they spent less time with their children under 18.
” People who are dependent on technological devices are losing touch with their family and friends and potentially destroying relationships because of their high reliance on these devices. The Internet can transform a committed relationship if only one partner is addicted and the other one has to deal with loneliness and real-life problems.
Technology also changes the behavior of parents from hands-on parenting to letting their children learn how to deal with life’s obstacles on their own. Julie Scelfo, author of the New York Times article, “The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In,” explains how the behavior of newer parents is changing, an negatively affecting children’s cognitive thinking skills. Scelfo further describes how the children of technology-addicted parents tend to feel hurt, jealous or sad, since their parents are constantly using Internet devices instead of watching their son or daughter grow up. This could change behavior in future generations, causing children them to mirror their parent’s way of raising a child and creating a new type of issues when communicating with friends, family, and parents.
Distraught from living on the computer and phone, these people are being molded into an attention deficit mess. The article, “Attention Deficit: The Brain Syndrome of Our Era” by Richard Restak says, “civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span. The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology” (415). The updates and adding of new phones and devices have transformed people to be more focused on technology than on relationships or work, serving as a distraction and taking the focus away from the things that are actually important. Parents, school teachers, and people of importance can negatively affect the younger generation who looks up to these mentors, creating a generation of distraction. In addition to changing human behavior, technology also changes the way the people think. The Internet has made people less focused and more prone to distraction. Matt Richtel wrote the New York Times article “Attached to Technology and Paying a Price” and says, “Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information… The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored” (1). The Internet may transform the human brain to feel dependent on technology because it is used to being on technology all of the time at work, school, and home. Brains develop dependency on those “ecstatic” moments while technology transmits information from the device to the person. Instead of the things that used to cause these “feel good” moments (e.g., conversations with a friend, doing something adventurous, or even having sex), the brain is receiving a similar level of engagement and excitement while staring at a screen. This could lead into a misconception of many things related to one’s life.
The use of the television or the Internet can manipulate viewer’s perception of reality and further change the thoughts and opinions of the people. The YouTube video, “Broadcast journo exaggerates flood” published by Newsbitch depicts the media trying to control what one watches. An NBC news anchor exaggerates by calling a flood in New Jersey “very bad” and is called out. The news network was probably trying to make a big story about the flood to increase their popularity. This goes to show that many times these corporations are manipulating the viewer to think dependently rather than independently. The media could create a population of people that rely solely on the information given to them by a technological source instead of actually researching a topic with books and scholarly research papers. The media could transform viewers into ignorant people who lack common logic because of the way news corporations manipulate information.
Another issue is the fear of missing out (FOMO), which is a way to manage many of the negative effects of the Internet and the media. “Plug in Better: A Manifesto” by Alexandra Samuel prescribes a cure to manage the impaired thinking and behavior caused by technological devices. Samuel mentions hiding negative feeds from social media websites that could be distracting. This could help distracted parents or people who are being manipulated by the media but want to change the way that they are thinking or change behaviors that negatively affect them. Samuel also states, “The real solution to FOMO is to accept the fact that, no, you can’t be everywhere and do everything.” From time to time, one needs to unplug from anything distracting and spend time making themselves less ignorant and more aware of problems occurring in the real world instead of being immersed in the nonsense technology offers. If one learns to limit their distractions, they can better enjoy the experience technology has to offer. This is illuminated in the New York Times article, “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” by Matt Richtel, which describes a student who uses technology as a scapegoat for not doing his summer reading, dropping his 4.0 GPA to barely passing. Richtel states, “video games are not responsible for his lack of focus, asserting that in another era he would have been distracted by TV or something else” (3). If people have the will to keep technology from owning them then there would not be any problems, but humans are designed to have addictive personalities, which can ruin all that technology has to offer. Most people do not have technological devices and cannot experience all of the positivity social media has to offer. Social media, FaceTime, and instant messengers are meant to be used for positive interactions and not for the users to become dependent on them.
Dependency on technology could lead to many habits, similar to drugs, which could potentially damage the user’s brain and cognitive abilities. A human’s thinking and behavior should be maintained at a homeostasis level, getting amusement from actual thrills that one experiences in life. The Internet, an ever-expanding information abyss, should be used in moderation. Alcohol and technology are similar: a little is good for you, but a lot could create a dependency and a loss of many relationships. Technology should be managed just like anything else in life: everything is good in moderation.