Whether it’s your Smart Phone, your laptop, or tablet, these days technology plays a monumental role in our lives. Yet this despite this, HEALTH learns that taking a time-out from technology is paramount…
Boon or Bane
Kids are busy on tablets, husband is texting for work and mom is on the cell phone. Sound familiar? Boon or bane; like all things in our world, Devika Singh Mankani, Psychologist, Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre reiterates that technology can be a wonderful blessing or it can feel like the greatest curse. “On one hand, technology has strengthened bonds between family members, especially those far from one another while on the other hand, it has brought the ‘outside world’ into homes and family spaces such that it encroaches upon much needed quality time between family members,” she says.
Despite its undeniable attractiveness and benefits, Mankani says that we do see the negative effects where it has distracted individuals from engaging in activities that naturally nurture and bond relationships. Having said that, she explains that some families use technology to their advantage and create fun, shared experiences; for example, watching funny videos online together or playing console games as a family. Many technology driven activities improve cognitive skills, motor skills and in some cases social skills, explains Mankani. “Children who keep in touch with friends and family are developing their written abilities,” she tells.
Implications in Kids
According to Mankani, one of the major drawbacks of the use of technology in the young population is that it provides constant and instant options when a child is bored. “We know from the research that it is good for children to experience boredom because this motivates creativity,” she says as boredom inspires children to figure out what they would enjoy. When the solution to boredom is always within reach, these children are deprived of this basic developmental learning process.
Work and Technology
For individuals whose work is directly technology related, Mankani says that it becomes even more critical for them to take time away from the ‘electronic world’ and enter what she calls the ‘earth world’. “On a physical level, the use of technology often exposes us to radiation and ultraviolet rays so it is important to give the body a break,” she says as the constant use of technology can imply a lack of movement and therefore restricted blood circulation which leads to less blood and oxygen flowing to the brain. This can result in lethargy, fatigue and brain fog. For people in technology focused jobs, she adds that there is often restricted social contact during the day which is essentially face-to-face contact. Mankani recommends at least two hours of social interaction per day with a friend or family member to prevent social isolation.
Signs Your Technology Use is Getting Out of Hand:
• The most obvious is less conversation, not necessarily less time together because many families still spend all weekend together but they are engaged in independent activities.
• All activities are centered on some form of technology.
• Withdrawal from electronic devices, this can be really debilitating for some people, much like an addict. This can manifest as anger or depression when access to technology is withheld.
• Preoccupation with the use of technology.
• Denial when one is using technology more than the average use.