Early psychologists studying theories of attachment concluded that a basic human biological need is to form attachments with other human beings. These findings were long before the advent of handheld technologies. They believed that relationship separation and deprivation could be at the root of longer-term emotional damages. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the longer a person was isolated and/or deprived of human contact the worse the prognosis for healthy, happy and fulfilling relationships.
Extrapolate those findings to today’s environment where people spend more time interfacing with their smart phones than interacting with people face-to-face and we can easily conclude that we have real measurable problems with connectivity of the humankind. It is hard to argue that we are largely driven as a civilization by technology. Some would go so far to say that we are ‘attached’ to it, meaning that some could suffer emotionally and mentally when they are unable to get connected. While the research on mobile phone usage is far from complete, some studies report that the average person spends 4+ hours daily on their mobile device.
We need to start asking ourselves if this is the best use of our time? If you were on your deathbed talking to the person you are today would your advice be – “spend more time on your mobile device and ignore those key relationships in your life?” Adults who report having had high quality relationships have better overall mental health and are at decreased risk for mental disorders compared to those who report low relationship quality.
In conclusion, it’s not that technological connectivity is bad in and of itself; instead it is the meaning that we give to it in our lives that makes it problematic. We have willingly enslaved ourselves and made it our connectivity platform of choice and there is a real price that we are paying and will continue to pay at the expense of our interpersonal relationships.
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