The modern world cannot be compared to the traditional lifestyle where most people would do most of their activities face to face. In a traditional setting, most people would set aside time to meet friends and interact with one another. However, as the world progressed, different technologies have also emerged to serve different functions. The internet is one of the technological advances that has resulted in man making significant strides in life (Yahya et al., 2019). The emergence of the internet has resulted in people connecting with their friends in different parts of the globe by just logging online and beginning their conversations. The internet also fulfills entertainment purposes whereby it is possible for people to download some of their favorite music on their cell phones, laptops, and even iPad. These changes leave us with the question: Does the internet make us connected make us feel connected with people just like in traditional settings? Traditionally, most individuals would set time to meet and interact with their friends (Yahya et al., 2019). For instance, one would not fail to note people sitting in groups storytelling after a busy day in the evening. Such meetings provided an avenue for catching up and creating time for bonding between friends, family members, and workmates. However, with the emergence of technologies such as the internet, most people have abandoned their traditional ways of doing things. Most individuals prefer texting or calling their friends on video calls or messaging on different social media platforms (Yahya et al., 2019). Despite technology especially mobile phones shaping our social lives, it is also one of the factors contributing to increased loneliness among individuals due to increased addiction, negative influence on relationships and cyberbullying.
Technology has devastating effects on relationships
Users of different technologies such as social networking sites and social media note that the use of technologies such as mobile phones and technologies helps enhance their relationships and social circles. However, individuals with these thoughts are delusional since the overreliance on technologies such as mobile phones and social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook negatively impacts how people interact and relate with each other. According to a study conducted by (Yahya et al., 2019), human beings are special creatures since they need to interact with each other to strongly strengthen their relationships constantly. Before the emergence of mobile phones and the internet, whenever one wanted to meet with their friend, most people would schedule time and an appropriate venue where their meeting would take place (Yahya et al., 2019). However, with the emergence of these technologies, most people have opted to make appointments on the phone whereby they talk casually, marking the end of their conversations. Conversations made over the phone and those that are face to face are different. When people meet and discuss, they can empathize with each other and gain deeper insight into how the other part is feeling (Yahya et al., 2019). However, conversations made online do not give one a platform for explaining themselves in-depth or developing the emotional connection needed in a conversation. As a result, failure to develop emotional connection may result in the relationships or bonds once shared between two people slowly fading away.
Despite the advantages associated with social media, Yahya et al. (2019) note that social media platforms can only be used to enhance relationships that had been formed through face-to-face interactions. As a result, individuals who heavily rely on the social media sites such as Facebook in maintaining their social relationships may become over-reliant on it and hence forget how to maintain physical interactions with other people in the outside world (Yahya et al., 2019). Due to such aspects, this person begins feeling a disconnection between their friends, family members, and community, which translates to loneliness.
Technology is to blame because it has resulted in some people becoming too dependent on it and making its users not to be concerned with wanting to know what is happening in other people’s lives (Peper& Harvey, 2018). Most individuals who use technologies such as the internet and social media platforms are primarily concerned with their lives and experiences. It is possible to sit with friends, and they will be all glued to their phones all day. This is one of the primary signs of addiction. According to Peper & Harvey (2018). People who get too attached to their mobile phones predispose them to start experiencing a change in their behavior, including their interaction patterns. Currently, smartphones have various sites where one can download movies or even stream them live. As a result, when one spends most of their mobile phones glued on the screens watching these games, it may lead to addiction. Addiction to mobile phones may predispose one to develop depression or mental health disorders since they do not interact with peers or friends. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Centre, loneliness is one of the major public health concerns since it increases the risk s of dying by 26 percent. This is attributed to the fact that most individuals who feel lonely may resort to engaging in unhealthy lifestyles, including substance or alcohol abuse, which significantly lowers their quality of life (Peper & Harvey, 2018). The internet has got a wide range of materials, with pornographic content being one of them. Some people can get addicted to this content to the extent that they decide to stay indoors to practice some of the sexual fantasies watched. Staying indoors trying some things that you do not know is one factor that has resulted in addiction and loneliness in the long run (Peper & Harvey, 2018).
Cyberbullying is one of the negative impacts associated with emerging technologies, especially social media. The different social media platforms give people easy access to confidential information such as photographs and even mobile numbers. Most of the perpetrators of cyberbullying can use this information to make mean comments about individuals, which may significantly lower their self-esteem (Field, 2018). Teenagers are among the group that has been largely affected by cyberbullying because they rely on social media sites to meet new friends and maintain their social circle. Since some of the cyberbullies stalk some of their victims, some of these victims may choose to stay indoors to avoid coming in contact with their perpetrators (Field, 2018). Some of the victims also suffer from anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues. In the long run, most of them may be pushed into loneliness due to their isolation.
Mobile phones and the internet are some of the technologies that have created positive impacts in people’s lives. For instance, these technologies have provided a forum where individuals can learn and explore mysterious life aspects. Additionally, social media sites have helped individuals make new friends, and this has made them feel confident. However, loneliness is one of the worrying trends that has emerged due to overreliance on some of these technologies. Some people prefer staying indoors watching movies and playing video games instead of interacting with their peers hence leading to increased cases of loneliness. Despite the advantages linked to technologies, it makes us lonely instead of encouraging face-to-face interactions. If society does not start making changes, its people will increasingly become lonely, which would predispose them to suffer various mental health disorders and thus reduce their quality of life.
Field, T. (2018). Cyberbullying: A narrative review. Journal of Addiction Therapy and Research, 2, 10-27.
Peper, E., & Harvey, R. (2018). Digital addiction: increased loneliness, anxiety, and depression. NeuroRegulation, 5(1), 3-3.
Yahya, Y., Rahim, N. Z. A., Ibrahim, R., Azmi, N. F., Sjarif, N. N. A., & Sarkan, H. M. (2019, April). Between habit and addiction: an overview of preliminary finding on social networking sites usage among teenagers. In Proceedings of the 2019 5th International Conference on Computer and Technology Applications (pp. 112-116).