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Technology is making us more anxious; psychologist explains how


Is your cell phone giving you anxiety? Being tethered to modern technology is causing a massive spike in anxiety nationwide — and it could be affecting you, too. There are a number of ways in which our ever-expanding technological world can be harmful to the human psyche. The advent of the smartphone is the clearest example of this; since its humble beginnings in 2007, the smartphone has truly infiltrated virtually every aspect of our society. Whether its the need some people feel to have the latest, cutting-edge devices, or that sense of dread you feel when you’ve forgotten your phone — it is increasingly evident that the downsides of technology need to be addressed.

In a recent article, psychologist Ellen Hendriksen explains five ways technology promotes anxiousness.

How technology causes anxiety

There are a number of ways in which technology can cause anxiousness. One of the biggest drawbacks to the advent of smartphones, social media and texting is that we no longer need to have human contact if we don’t want to; you can order pizza and groceries online, you can work from home and “socialize” via internet forums — all without ever having to leave your house. You can “block” people you don’t like, too. All of this avoidance simply leads to more anxiety and insecurity about what may happen when you are around people — and then more avoidance.

As Hendriksen contends, “[I]t’s not just avoiding people, it’s avoiding the uncomfortable emotions that come with interacting with people: awkwardness, anxiety, boredom, self-consciousness.”

The psychologist also notes that technology “insulates us from small uncertainties but leaves us vulnerable to the biggies.” The more mundane details of life can easily be fleshed out over a nearly instantaneous text message. We can completely control our internet environment regarding who we talk to and what we see; we can use GPS if we’re lost. All of these things take away uncertainty in small doses — but larger issues remain. And without the practice of dealing with life’s smaller issues, big issues suddenly become colossal.

Hendriksen adds that as technology has changed the way people communicate and interact. She writes, “[O]n-screen communication allows time to compose, edit, and perfect, whereas face-to-face communication (or even calling someone—that thing in our jeans pockets is called a phone after all) happens in real-time.”

This ultimately makes face-to-face communication more difficult (and anxiety-provoking).

The advent of social media comes with its own crosses; Everything you post online is fair game for public scrutiny. Many people put on a phony facade of happiness and perfection, because social media gives you the ability (to a degree) to shape others’ perceptions of you and your life. This leads to another problem Hendriksen calls “compare and despair”.

People only share what they want you to see on social media, and all those smiling vacation photos can leave you feeling inadequate.

Other health risks of technology

Anxiety is no doubt a terrible condition; it can be downright crippling for some people. But anxiety is not the only health risk you may have to deal with thanks to smartphones and the like.

Multiple studies have shown that cellphones, WiFi and aspects of our mobile tech world can set the stage for cancer. A recent large-scale study showed that the radiation emitted from cellphone was linked to brain cancer, for example.

The potential for cellphones to cause brain cancer has been reported on many occasions, but few governing bodies are willing to take this risk seriously. But it’s not just the phones that cause cancer — even the networks and cell towers they rely on can be dangerous. 5g wireless internet is another suspect in the cancer-causing technology ring.

Stay current on the latest tech controversies at Glitch.news.

Sources for this article include:

ScientificAmerican.com

QuickAndDirtyTips.com

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