The Effects of Technology on Mental Health

Technology has changed how we work, interact, and access information. Billion people use social media, and the average individual spends over four hours a day on their smartphone. 

This extensive usage of technology presents concerns and effects of technology on mental health. Studies demonstrate that excessive smartphone use might cause anxiety and despair. Technology’s constant connectivity can blur work-life boundaries, causing burnout and stress. 

In 2020, Edelman’s Trust Barometer found a 6-point dip in worldwide technology trust to 68 out of 100. This trust hit a record low of 57 out of 100 in the US. These findings encourage a discussion of tech’s pros and cons. This begs the question: Does technology really improve or harm us?

This blog post discusses the negative and positive effects of technology on mental health. Understanding these implications helps us make better technology choices.

Positive Effects of Technology On Mental Health

postive use and effect of technology on mental health - bright point md

The speed at which the technology is being adopted and improved through development enables communities to have high production, equality of services offered, and enhanced general welfare. Then the question that may arise is where tech progress shows the best its features. Below are some positive effects of Technology on mental health.

Support and Information Access

Technology is mandatory for mental health obstacle-facing. The online sources give you access to information about mental health issues, the treatment available, and what works to fight them. 

Technology has mirrored through online support groups and therapeutic apps that make it easy for a person in need to get social support to which they are entitled. No more crowd of professional confusion, help is accessible with Talkspace and BetterHelp.

Enhancing Communication and Relationships

By virtue of technological breakthroughs, we are becoming capable of being close with those people we care about no matter how far they are. Online chats, instant messaging, and social media shorten the distance between people who haven’t seen each other for a long time, making it easier to make real connections. 

As a result, the probability of loneliness decreases. Technology offers positive social opportunities as well due to the scope of online and cyber relationship-building or collaborative efforts via multiparty gaming, joint projects, or shared interests.

Increasing Mental Health Education

The technology platforms can be utilized for spreading awareness as well as education programs on mental health. Mental health inequities are often exacerbated by poor access to health information.

Therefore, the internet can be used as a forum, social media initiative, or educational website to help people better understand the nature of mental health disorders and reduce the stigma around them. 

The World Mental Health Day and the series of mental health awareness weeks are built on the power of technology to give the entire globe a common platform to build empathy for mental health issues.

The effects of technology on mental health are profound, impacting how we perceive, analyze, and handle mental health issues today.

Encourage Physical Activity and Mindfulness

Technology could relax the body and the mind by giving all the useful options that enhance mental well-being. Customized workout plans and performance tracking functions of health apps can motivate one to exercise and to start adopting a healthy lifestyle. 

Besides mindfulness apps, meditative applications provide cognitive skills exercise which helps to fight stress and stay healthy. The apps work for both me and my friend because of the excellent quality of mental awareness which helps to elevate mental lucidity and develop emotional steadiness as a daily routine.

Negative Effects of Technology on Mental Health

The negative effects of technology on mental health involve mass-made products, which are most often blamed: for posting videos and pictures on social media. This is the result of misleading, hate speech, and harassment which stands on the one hand, and loneliness, and depression on the other which are based on the numerous researches that took place on this issue.

Misinformation and Scam

In today’s digital world, rapid technical breakthroughs make it hard to tell fact from fiction. The Edelman Barometer 2020 found that 61% of respondents thought technology was changing too rapidly and 57% thought digital media platforms were full of untrustworthy material.

The Cambridge Analytica affair raised concerns, with 76% of respondents believing fake news is being used to polarize and radicalize.

Global bewilderment and insecurity increased due to the COVID-19 outbreak and fake news. Recent threats like deep fakes are a major issue for social media sites. AI-generated videos might look authentic, making them hard to spot.

A Dutch parliament foreign affairs committee was recently tricked into a video chat with a deep fake Russian opposition leader, underlining the risks of this technology.

Facebook established the Deep Fake Detection Challenge in 2019 to build autonomous algorithmic detection methods to stop deepfake videos. However, social media networks struggle with content moderation. In response, Twitter established the “Birdwatch” pilot program in early 2021 to build a community to fight misinformation and fake news. 

Isolation and Loneliness

While technology is capable of connecting people, excessive usage of it alone can be ironic in the sense that might easily lead to such feelings of loneliness and isolation. The all-time low of digital devices cuts us off in the social world, making people prefer online connections with other people over offline touch. 

Numerous researches prove that this kind of heavy usage leads to the feeling of loneliness which is stressful and brings about the symptoms of mental problems.

On the contrary, a study in the American Journal of Conflict Management proves that these young adults spend more time with social media that they are more likely to become socially isolated than those who use it moderately.

Another specialist from the University of Pennsylvania introduces that limiting social media content to 30 minutes a day, already may have a positive effect on reducing loneliness and depression.

It is true that although technology is effective in fostering links, we should put forward more efforts to achieve a balance and value the physical interactions of the real world to preserve our well-being.

Sleep Disturbances

Technical time before bedtime is detrimental, it alters sleep schedule and ultimately affects mental health. This kind of screen interferes with melatonin production by emitting blue lights. Melatonin production at night is suppressed by blue light causing an issue with falling asleep (namely because of the research results published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

Insufficient and unrestful sleep may be connected to irritability, anxiety, and other mental health problems or even neurological troubles. As suggested by the JCSM research, there is a greater chance of feeling depression and anxiety among insomniacs.

Increased Stress and Anxiety

Constant connectivity through technology can contribute to stress and anxiety. The pressure to respond to messages immediately and stay updated on social media can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed.

A study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that the fear of missing out (FOMO) on social media was significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety and stress.

To manage stress and anxiety related to technology use, it is important to set boundaries, practice mindfulness, and prioritize self-care. Research published in the journal Psychological Reports found that mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing, can help reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. Setting limits on screen time and taking regular breaks from technology can also help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

10 Positive Effects of Technology on Mental Health

The following list checkpoints 10 positive effects of technology on mental health.

  1. Technology offers access to mental health services including online therapy and support groups which happens to be good for the many who usually do not have access to the other traditional psychotherapy.
  2. Technology has assisted in promoting awareness about mental health problems by using social media movements, and online educational materials, which is leading to perceiving stigma related to mental health less seriously, and talking about it more openly.
  3. Technology makes it possible to communicate with close friends more often and to reach our relatives who are far or out of sight – this can diminish the feeling of loneliness.
  4. Virtual healthcare platforms give furnishing to those, who wish to provide mental health treatment from their homes and no obstacles, like getting to doctors through transport or impinging on your busy schedule.
  5. Purpose-built apps that function as meditation and mindfulness virtual coaches can be instrumental in alleviating stress and relieving anxiety, which in turn improves mental health status.
  6. Technology can be used to help people in the area of mental health education and self-guided tools, which gives everyone a chance to do what they can to improve their mental health and their well-being.
  7. Through tracking an individual’s mental health measurements like mood and sleeping patterns, device apps can serve as a means for both the person and his healthcare provider.
  8. Tech has provided people with the use of various instant crisis intervention services like hotlines and text support for those facing immediate needs for mental health support.
  9. This type of community and forums, although they are anonymous most of the time, is an opportunity for people who experience mental health-related issues to find support and to develop a sense of cooperation and acceptance.
  10. Technology facilitated some innovations in the field of mental health treatment (such as virtual reality therapy and biofeedback), thus, people are starting to look at it as a new method for how mental disorders are managed.

Summary

The recent outbreak of technology has literally changed the way in which normal American life is characterized. On the one hand, there is a huge range of negative and positive effects of technology on the mental health of advantages, yet on the other hand, there is a close shadow of the possible risks.

Those who feel that technology controls them and wonder about its effects on them may consider lowering the time they use gadgets and spending a decent time away from the screens to understand how they feel with and without these tools. This kind of self-reflection can provide valuable insights into the effects of technology on mental health.

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