It is difficult to be away from technology in every facet of our lives. It is constantly changing and at times is very difficult to adjust to. Technology in mental health can affect us negatively especially in children who need the support and care of the human touch more than anything at that age. The effects of technology can start as early as infancy. Infants are being exposed to music, TV’s DVD’s, spend hours in their strollers, car seats or swings and after too many hours a day being exposed to technology can have negative effects socially and responding normally to the human touch. They just aren’t getting enough human contact. Parents are too busy to spend time with their children and spend more time on their cameras and devices monitoring them for safety purposes and not thinking of even their infant’s mental health issues. Too much technological devices can be more harmful that good if there is no balance.
The majority of children have TVs in their bedrooms. They can spend 6-7 hours of their day watching TV or playing video games on the TV leaving them with less and less human interaction. Even at school many elementary students are spending time working individually on lap tops or left at computer terminals to go work individually and not in a group interacting setting. Humans were designed to touch and smile at each other. Technology is taking that aspect of our lives away from each other. At the same time as children are spending more and more time using technology, in the last five years the use of psychotropic medications has tripled for 2-4 year olds and quadrupled for elementary school aged children. Very young children are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, autism and other types of mental illness.
Much of our stress is caused by technology. We often even as adults become overwhelmed by technology’s flood of incoming demands on our time and energy. Cell phones, texting, e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, all types of media is demanding and expects an immediate response. We have allowed the gadgets to dictate our lives and take all of our social interaction over. Social isolation can be caused by the overuse of technology. It is important to cultivate a balance between face-to-face and online communication. The interruptions and urgency’s of technology’s demands can affect family life as well. Failure to set boundaries is harmful to physical and mental health.
The effects of technology on mental health may depend on whether we are in control of the technology usage or whether the technology is controlling us. To properly treat any mental health issue is still being effectively done the old fashioned way through counselling and group therapies. One of the most successful mental health programs is the widespread network of people available for each other any time of the day or night through Alcoholic Anonymous which also discusses issues of other drug addictions and general mental issues associated with the use of booze and pills.