Did you know that children today present the same anxiety/depression levels as those who were psychiatric patients in the 1950s? (Twenge 145). The question arises, What is causing this steady drop in the mental health of society? Only one other thing has had the same, consistent, back to back results: The growth of technology. The consistent advancement and normalization of technology has aligned itself with the world’s worsening state of mental health. The correlation between the two cannot be ignored.
Technology has created many different ways for people embark on journeys that include learning new things, meeting new people, and communicating faster than ever. Because of the technology’s captivating fashion, people tend to abuse the use of technology. This abuse eventually leads to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety are becoming more and more prevalent due to the steady advancement of technology.
One way that technology leads to worsening mental health is by causing insomnia.
Insomnia has been proven to have negative effects towards one’s mental health. He prolonged use of technology has become extraordinarily common throughout the world. This use has been proven to lead to insomnia. In the following quote, “Indeed, several studies have identified health repercussions associated with increased technology use in college-aged adolescents, including decreased sleep quality…”, Marsha B. Novick, and other professionals of medicine, explain that multiple studies all point towards the same thing: Technology negatively affects sleep. There are multiple causes to how technology disrupts sleep quantity and quality.
One of the most common is the lack of discipline when using technology, or not being able to dictate a specific start or end to one’s use of technology before bed. Another very common cause is the magnification of physiological, emotional, or mental stimulation. Finally the last major cause for how technology affects sleep is that the blue light from the screen(s) one views before bed also prevents the mind from entering into its resting state (Caitlyn Fuller, et all 1). The inability to sleep in hand leads to the mental health problems. Although insomnia can cause a variety of mental health issues, the two most common are anxiety and depression.
Depression has grown to become one of the most common mental illnesses in the world. According to Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, authors of ‘Mental Health’, over 268 million people across the world suffer from depression every day. Dr. Lawrence Epstein, Medical Director of Sleep Health Centers and an instructor at Harvard Medical School writes, “Studies have found that 15 to 20 percent of people diagnosed with insomnia will develop major depression” (Epstein 1). In this quote Epstein clearly shows that insomnia may in fact be a direct factor to how someone has become a victim of depression. Another very big problem that can be caused by insomnia is anxiety. Anxiety is another type of mood disorder that has grown to frightening numbers. Over 275 million people around the world suffer from anxiety. (Ritche, Roser 1). Epstein explains, people with insomnia were 20 times more likely to develop panic disorder (a type of anxiety disorder)”(Epstein 1). He is explaining here that Insomnia is a major catalyst in anxiety. If insomnia is prevented, many mental illnesses may be prevented as well. Depression and anxiety are very big problems in society. It is imperative that scientists, parents, and kids take time to understand how technology can contribute to the cause of insomnia, a gateway to mental illness.
Another major way technology causes mental illnesses is through internet addiction. Brief detail: Internet addiction is starting to become more and more common throughout the world. Many people now suffer from the addiction of surfing, browsing, or interacting with various areas of the internet. In the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene, Bahrainian, and other psychologists, conducted a study in which they found nearly 41 percent of college students deal with internet addiction. Internet addiction has many negative effects, one of the worst being the cause of , depression. In this same study Baharainian concluded, “ depression positively predicted Internet addiction” (Bahrainian et al). He explains that due to the lack of social interaction, an individual becomes more lonely and less confident, ultimately leading to depression. Another mental illness that can be caused by internet addiction is anxiety. Anxiety rages through people off all ages all throughout the world. According to Mental Health America, “Adults who are addicted to the Internet are also likely to have…anxiety…” (Mental Health America 1). This quote shows that anxiety can very well be caused by internet addiction. When one is addicted to something their behaviour and thoughts change completely. These thoughts and behaviours slowly become more and more revolved around what a person is addicted to, causing them to constantly it (medlineplus.gov). Because of this victims of internet addiction become completely dependent on the internet use. When the mind is away from resources it believes it needs it begins to panic. This panic is anxiety. The anxiety that comes along with addiction can completely overbear a person, as if they are being held by a weight underwater.
One of the largest ways that the advancement of technology can be an avenue to depression or anxiety is social media. Social Media has grown exponentially to every corner of the world. In 2015, over 90% of teens in the US had used social media in some way. That’s nearly 36 million teens! Social media can also go hand in hand with internet addiction, often causing people to replace real life interaction with online interaction. There are many different ways social media can cause depression. A study by the Child Mind Institute states, “teenage and young adult users who spend the most time on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms were shown to have a substantially (from 13 to 66 percent) higher rate of reported depression than those who spent the least time” (Miller 1). This quote explains that people who use social media often than others are also more likely to have depression. The study also states, “Some experts see the rise in depression as evidence that the connections social media users form electronically are less emotionally satisfying, leaving them feeling socially isolated” (Miller 1). Although social media connections may provide a temporary “high”, it does not last long. The rewarding feelings that come from developing connections in real life provide a much more genuine, satisfying, and intimate response from the brain. Real life connections also last much longer than connections through social media. As soon as the social media connection ends, the person is left feeling stranded and alone, ultimately leading to feelings of depression. Another way social media can cause depression is through cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is bullying that can happen over any digital device, many time this being social media. Over 70 percent of teens have admitted to seeing or being bullied online (dosomething.org). Bullying is a cause that has lead people to depression and even suicide for decades. Having the access to anyone in the world has created new opportunities for bullies, damaging more and more people.
Social media can also cause anxiety. Social Media is filled with different ways teens can compare themselves to their peers. Whether it be likes, followers, comments, or general popularity, negative comparisons can lead to low self esteem (Miller 1). Seeing people react to another person’s post more positively than your own creates feelings of inferiorness. Inferiorness can eventually make a person feel as if no one cares or likes them. To avoid these feelings teens feel a constant drag to do whatever they can to get more likes, followers, or just look more attractive. This continual feeling can cause extreme anxiety.