Technology has become one of the key drivers of social evolution and has been embedded in every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Since the launch of the smartphone around 15 years ago, I have seen first-hand how technology has transformed the way we interact with each other, how, as just two examples, it has opened our eyes to new methods of education and how it has provided us with the tools to take healthcare into the palm of our hands with wellness apps and fitness trackers.
I must confess, for me technology is both a blessing and a curse. I have mastered the art of procrastination by mindlessly scrolling through social apps; but I have also witnessed the benefit that technology can bring to everyday living, and how this can transform the most mundane of tasks into something interactive, engaging and ultimately enjoyable.
Take dating for example – since the mid-1990s the internet has revolutionised the way we network, meaning it is possible to e-meet a potential partner through social media and online dating sites such as eHarmony and Match.com. It’s an industry that’s expected to grow even further, with predictions stating that online dating will contribute more than £265 million to the UK economy by the year 2030.
As digital social interactions become more commonplace, it means that all types of relationships can thrive with the aid of technology and topic-based communities are able to come together without the boundaries of location. It offers social satisfaction without having to leave the house.
However, like all things in life, moderation is key. According to Market Watch, on average adults spend 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media on one screen or another. The negative effects of excessive usage continue to hit headlines on a monthly basis.
Luckily, there are functions in place on most smartphones that can help you track your screen time and apps that encourage a balanced lifestyle. The Headspace app is a winner as far as bringing the practice of meditation to the masses, with scientific studies listing mental acuity, patience, productivity and sleep as just a few of the benefits associated with meditation. Another great app, Fooducate, works by offering users a personalised nutrition and ingredient analysis by using your phone to scan product barcodes. This is an increasingly popular method used by brands to make the experience more interactive so it resonates with the user, making them part of the experience. It perfectly demonstrates how the integration of technology can fit so seamlessly into your life.
With this in mind, I think that when it comes to the effects of technology on our lives, we need to accept that the world is becoming more digitised and that it is moving forward at a rapid pace. But when we want to slow down for a second and take in everything and everyone in front of us, here are a variety of apps that will limit our smartphone use – the true exemplification of how technology can help us achieve balance after all.