Recognizing negative mental health effects of technology in modern society

Madison Thompson

How often do you choose to call and hangout with your friends online rather than going over to see your friends in person? Being online has made us disconnected from ourselves and others. It has also affected how we see others with the extreme and unrealistic expectations and the toxic content witnessed.

We should limit our use of electronics, not just for ourselves but also for younger kids. Kids being exposed to the use of electronics will end up building bad habits early. Besides the fact that it is bad for an individual’s physical health to lay down inside staring at a small screen all day it is also bad for one’s mental health. 

When most people think of electronics being bad for mental health, they might think about social media and how some people will photoshop themselves to fit a certain standard for others. 

Besides photoshopping, which I do think affects mental health, I believe being exposed to certain things through the internet negatively affects mental health. Things like violence, drug use, and sexual content in things like movies, games, or videos posted online can affect the way people see others. Individuals can see other people as violent and harmful, develop unrealistic ideas of others, or believe toxic behavior is normal and acceptable.

 A main example of this are those groups of YouTube couples that “prank” each other. While some of it isn’t harmful, and viewers would have to be really young not to realize that they’re staged videos, the main ones that I find harmful are the “Being abusive to my boy/girlfriend prank” or “kidnapping my friend prank” How are these pranks? Aren’t pranks supposed to be funny and harmless? 

It’s extremely stupid, especially when these “pranks” are done with others who aren’t aware nearby. If you witnessed someone being taken and thrown in the back of a van, the first thing you’d think shouldn’t be, “Oh, maybe it’s just a prank. They’re not really getting kidnapped.”  

Besides content, how often do you see people on their phones or any other sort of electronic device? This is a bad habit many people have, including me. People will decide to stay home on their phones, computers, and Tvs instead of socializing with their family and friends in person.

Most people immediately go to their phones when they get home or get a break from doing school work. People are on their phones while eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of talking to their family members. Instead of going outside during the weekends to ride a bike or go shopping, most teens would rather stay inside playing on their phones, computers, TVs, or whatever electronic device they have access to. Staying inside all this time can be very emotionally draining, and makes it harder to connect with others. 

Some people have spent so much time disconnected from others from being online on social media that it’s become harder for them to connect with the people in front of them. They choose to hang out with people online rather than with family and friends in real life. Spending all that time alone can get to people; they can start feeling like they have no one who cares about them. It can feel like they have nothing to do and have no purpose in life. 

This isolation makes it harder for people to put the electronics down and to reintegrate back into society. They’ll be in this constant cycle of wanting to change to do better and to get their lives back on track, but will fall back into the comfort of the internet. We’re all so consumed with the internet and social media that we may not even realize that it is the problem. 

Besides becoming disconnected from others, being online also subjects people to harsh judgment instead of constructive criticism. For example, some people make art and post it on social media, hoping to get likes or comments, which is good to improve their art. But, some commenters, instead of telling the artist what they could improve on, harass or insult them. This can make them want to quit something they originally really felt like pursuing. Besides artists, or any other form of hobby that people can be judged on, you also have young kids or teens posting pictures of videos of themselves, just to be criticized unfairly. These unfair and destructive criticisms in comments can make kids, teens, and young adults depressed, anxious, and, in worse case, suicidal.  

Though devices are beneficial in certain ways, it negatively affects people by taking up most of their time which causes them to communicate less with friends and family and by the negative interactions with others online.