January 19, 2022

Is Technology Ruining My Mental Health?

While the conveniences of technology have helped shape the way that Gen X and Gen Z individuals have grown up, there may be a downside. Having so much information and so many ways to network with others at the touch of a screen may end up weighing negatively on mental health.

By Annie Wright|Anxiety, Depression
Is Technology Ruining My Mental Health? | Evergreen Counseling | Berkeley, CA | www.evergreencounseling.com

Computers, smartphones, the internet, and a variety of other technological developments have added immeasurable convenience to our lives.

There are very few tasks we can’t complete online, and as such, it has become a staple in homes all over the world. 

While the conveniences of technology have helped shape the way that Gen X and Gen Z individuals have grown up, there may be a downside.

Having so much information and so many ways to network with others at the touch of a screen may end up weighing negatively on mental health.

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How Can Technology Affect Mental Health?

Though technology is generally positive, the immense power that it presents may be too much when it comes to maintaining mental health.

The negative impacts can take a toll on an individual’s life in a number of ways.

  • Social media dependency. Though social media is a great way to reach out to friends and family from a distance, it can bring about feelings of isolation with prolonged use. In addition, many people become dependent on social media for validation and often become swept up in negative situations that don’t benefit them.
  • Security issues. People tend to share a lot of information about themselves online, which can negatively impact their safety and security. Not only does keying personal information into webpages/ social networks open users up to identity theft, but it also exposes users to people who may have harmful intentions.
  • Preoccupation. Because the internet is so easy to access and information is constantly being updated, some users find themselves occupied with online activity when they’re supposed to be handling important tasks. While it’s acceptable to check the news and respond to emails, doing so constantly tends to interfere with work, sleep, and social interactions.
  • Information and anxiety. One of the biggest ways that technology impacts mental health by presenting users with information on every topic possible. When we’re feeling under the weather, we may look up our symptoms and find terrifying potential results. When we’re attempting to research a social or political issue, we may come across information that has no basis in truth, but it still frightens us.

Technology and Your Mental Health

Though parents often hear about the negative impacts of technology on children, technology can impact mental health in people of any age. 

If you find that yourself, a loved one in your home, or your child(ren) seems to be incredibly dependent on their devices, there are a few steps you can take to improve your family’s relationship with technology.

  • Take breaks. The world exists outside of our phones and computers, and it’s important to maintain a tech/non-tech balance in our daily lives. If you find that you or your family is constantly preoccupied with technology, have certain times of the day when everyone takes a break from technology (dinner time, family time, etc.)
  • Encourage safety. This step is especially necessary when children in your home use technology. Have straightforward conversations about what is and is not acceptable to say or do online (much like the “talking to strangers” speech our parents gave us).
  • Get involved. Have open discussions with your household about their feelings and daily lives. By encouraging communication within your family, you can help ensure that your loved ones have somewhere to turn other than the internet when they need to talk. On top of this, be observant when it comes to moods and behaviors within your household. If something seems off, have a talk with your loved one and validate their feelings or experiences. 

Is Technology Addictive?

Despite technology not being a substance (like alcohol or cigarettes), it can become addictive when users rely on it to stimulate the pleasure sensors of the brain.

Because technology provides a quick, simple way to meet many of our basic needs, it’s no wonder why people turn to it when they’re feeling lonely or bored.

However, the sense of relief users experience is not always a healthy one, especially when it takes precedence over real life.

Preventing dependency on technology can be accomplished by setting healthy boundaries. 

However, if you notice that you or someone you love has already become dependent and these boundary systems are not successful, it may be time to seek professional assistance.

Speaking to a licensed therapist about your concerns can help make sense of the way technology affects mental health, as well as developing ways to find a more healthy balance. 

If you’d like support in working through technology dependency, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with technology and mental health, and we would be honored to help you, too. 

Please feel free to book a complimentary 20-minute consultation with one of our licensed therapists if you know who you would like to work with, or you can book a consult call with our center’s clinical intake coordinator who will match you to the best-fitting therapist for your clinical and logistical needs.

Medical Disclaimer

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