Technology harms social skills

Brendan Donaldson, staff writer

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Technology has been added to people’s lives, and it has been taking a serious effect on people. How technology changes the way we interact with other people is increasingly cause for concern. It is important to come up with a way to prevent people from losing vital social skills needed to succeed in the real world.

In a Time Magazine article last year, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health published the “StatusOfMindsurvey.” The study found, “91 percent of 16-24 year olds use the internet for social networking; the rates of anxiety and depression among that age group have increased by 70 percent in the past 25 years; and social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.”

One important finding is that addiction to technology can cause depression, primarily because a lot of human interaction is being replaced by technological interaction. Since social media makes it easier to communicate over the phone, people begin to lack communication in person, which decreases and wears down the social skills that have been learned and developed.

There is something unique and special when it comes to talking with another person that is different from almost anything else. Having a face-to-face conversation with someone is much different than texting or even calling.

For those who have become addicted to their phones, there are ways to reduce the need to have their phone at all times.

  1. Use technology to stay off technology. On iPhones, there is now a setting called “Screen time,” which keeps track of where the user is spending their screen time. It also allows time limits on certain apps that they are spending large amounts of time on.
  2. Make a list. Jamison Monroe, Founder and CEO of Newport Academy, which is a comprehensive treatment center for teens, found that most teens start scrolling when they have extra time. Monroe recommends making a list of more positive things you can do in those moments. “Taking a walk, writing a love note with paper and pen, dancing to your favorite song, doing a few stretches, meditating for 10 minutes,” suggested Monroe. “The key is to come up with options that appeal to you.”
  3. Turn off notifications. David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in Connecticut compares smartphones to slot machines. “It elevates your dopamine receptors, and you continue that behavior over and over again because it offers and unpredictable award,” just like gambling, he says. Simply turning off the notifications will make you less likely to look at your phone every few seconds.

On the positive side, not all technology is bad. For example, we can now contact almost anyone almost anywhere, and social media also has the potential to break certain barriers of human contact with each other.

Like most things in life, the answer is a balance. Counteract the negative effects by taking breaks from screen time, not checking the phone before going to sleep, and using technology to track your screen time.


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