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Technology and the Increase in Stress

Living in the age of selfies, instagram celebrities, and viral YouTube videos, this world of ever increasing technology is more self-consumed than ever before. The increasing prevalence of self-focused millenials is out of control. The disproportionate number of teens chronically and mindlessly using their smartphones—against their intended use to connect and educate the world, is creating an epidemic. More people are stressed out than ever before, even with the benefit of modern technology—which was designed and created to make life easier and more efficient. Technology is now a distraction, and that distraction is stress inducing.

Finding the relationship between self-focused individuals and modern technology (including but not limited to snapchat, instagram, and YouTube) to stress is fairly simple and straightforward. Research has shown the association between self-focused individuals and negative affects such as anger and anxiety. It has also been shown that being self-focused is associated with general distress. The self-consuming behaviors and tendencies towards that technology is worrisome. Examples of this behavior include: only posting the best selfies on snapchat, waiting to post an instagram photo when it is peak time which increases the probability of getting a lot of likes on a photo, or trying to do whatever it takes to go vial on YouTube. These behaviors are the essence of self-focus. These individuals perceive stress when they do not get the expected amount of likes and even remove photos and other media from online if it did not get the attention they desired.

The side effects of being self-focused are interfering with individuals’ problem-focused coping abilities. Being self-focused promotes individuals to ruminate about one’s moods and problems, which can reduce that individual’s cognitive capacity to develop a plan of action and to improve his or her situation. The lack of control by the individual or locus of control of one’s self-focus increases the perception of stressors. Self-focus also deters individuals’ motivation for achieving a goal. As well, self-focus heightens emotions, allowing them to become so intense; the self-focused individual must retreat from their goal. This conundrum created by self-focus is imperative to talk about because of the multi-variate effect it has on individuals impacted and the influence it has on their stress.

The stress of self-focused individuals arises when the amount of time their technology use interferes with their responsibilities: jobs, school, family, and friends. Modern technology has made the world a smaller place and has altered the way people perceive time and space. With technology everything has to be faster and technology must always be accelerating. Now, there is a greater demand placed on productivity at the work place because of the technological advances with production and shipping. This stressor on a capitalist economy in the United States gives the perception that life is more rushed. Yes, in reality, there is more occurring: increased work demands and increased family (social) demands because of the technology advances, which gives the perception that there is not enough time increasing the levels of perceived stress. However, if individuals were to look at their time wasted at work and during the dead times of the day, they would find themselves filing that time with social media.

Social media is a blessing a curse. The need for speed impacts social relationships on and offline. It has allowed for people to connect all across the globe. However, it has changed how people interact with each other in the flesh. There is this new need to always know what is going on with other people’s lives (people that they may not know, but celebrities or friends of friends). This increased desire is a distraction, and causes people to insistently and chronically scroll through newsfeeds. Scrolling is seen during lectures, meetings, and in-persons conversations. People are missing out on what is in front of them. Modern technology in the form of social media deters attention from the present and reality, which can exacerbate stressors when attention is shifted from their technology: tablets, smartphones, and laptops, to environment they are actually in and have responsibilities to deal with.

Modern technology was meant to make life easier. It was meant to increase education and connect the world in a meaningful way, no offense, but posting a selfies and getting over a million likes is no contributing to society. That kind of use of technology is what is fuel the self-focused individual and the self-consuming desire to foster the attention of people whom they may or may not know. Technology is contributing to distractions from the work place and is altering how people perceive time and space. Lastly, modern technology is contributing the number of increasingly stressed individuals. It is laughed at that technology, never works when it is supposed to, but that alone does not directly lead to stress of the individual. Technology contributes to stress by altering people’s perceptions of control and diminishing their problem-solving abilities, which leads to increased perceived stress of life.


Article Written By GUADS Staff Member: Kaitlyn

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