We all know that technology is now an integral part of our daily lives. Just like we need food and water to survive, we need technology to be able to communicate, work, play, shop, entertain, cry, laugh – the list is endless.
Yes, technology has changed our lives; I never thought I’d be able to control my lights and television just using my voice or transfer money to a friend with just my email address. But despite being in awe of what technology is now available and its uses, is it having a completely positive effect?
There are some definite positives — we no longer have to write letters to our loved ones because we can easily connect with them 24/7 from anywhere in the world, whether this be in a text, WhatsApp or social media platforms. But this doesn’t just apply to our personal lives, it also affects the business world. Thanks to the advances in technology and improvement in communications, I can do my job – in 2018, if there’s no instant communication, there’s no PR. There’s no online retailers, call centres, air traffic controllers, police, pilots. The list goes on.
Another key benefit of technology is how it has improved education. In fact, several studies have shown that students who have access to technology have better chances of doing well at school than those without. Thanks to the internet, I am able to constantly educate myself – even if that is learning silly facts on BuzzFeed, or keeping up with the latest news on the Mail Online – I am still digesting new information throughout my day and improving my knowledge, both for the benefit of myself and my job.
The benefits go far beyond just improved communication and education. But what are some of the negative effects of technology on our lives?
First of all, we are now an ‘always on’ generation. Designated work hours no longer exist and the communication between colleagues, clients and customers goes beyond the traditional 5:30pm finish. This may, in fact, seem like a positive, and knowing that you can respond to your emails from the comfort of your home may make you feel more at ease.
But this isn’t always the case. We need to relax, take time for ourselves and switch off from the outside world every now and again — it’s all about the work life balance. Britain is in the grip of a ‘stress epidemic’, with 82% of us feeling stressed at least some of the time during a typical week, new research suggests. The findings from AXA, suggest stress is strongly linked to the ‘always on’ culture created by workplaces, with almost three in every five Brits (59%) admitting to taking calls outside of working hours.
These stats are indeed worrying, especially considering the physical effects stress can have on our body. In fact, tech evangelist Belinda Parmar has recently discussed her fears around how technology can affect our mental health, and explains the importance of building a digital resilience. Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways that technology can have a negative impact on our lives, from cyber-bullying, a lack of privacy and security online and addiction to social platforms. There are always going to be negatives to technology, but the important thing here is how we let it affect us.
If you’re feeling stressed due to being glued to your phone 24/7, or find yourself endlessly scrolling through your social feeds on an hourly basis, change up your habits and leave your phone behind. You might experience the FOMO (fear of missing out), but it’s worth it. After taking up yoga classes and mindful meditation, I can promise you that taking the time to focus on yourself and switch off from the rest of the world can bring you happiness. Of course, there will be things we can’t miss… but the key, for both our business and personal lives, is finding that equilibrium. With that in mind, the world is not going to end if you leave your phone behind every once in a while!