Too much tech is un­healthy

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

WITH all the email, SMS, tweets, pings, dings and no­ti­fi­ca­tions we re­ceive, it’s a won­der any of us sleep at night.

If you feel as if you’re be­com­ing a bit of an in­som­niac, you’re not alone in the cold dark hours of the morn­ing, click­ing and scrolling your way to­wards an­other dawn.

Re­searchers at Swe­den’s Univer­sity of Gothen­burg have found a link be­tween heavy phone and com­puter use and sleep dis­tur­bances.

‘‘ Reg­u­larly us­ing a com­puter late at night is as­so­ci­ated not only with sleep dis­or­ders but also stress and de­pres­sive symp­toms in both men and women,’’ study re­searcher Sara Thomee writes.

At the Mis­souri Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, a new study has found a link be­tween de­pres­sive symp­toms and ex­ces­sive on­line chat­ting and fre­quent check­ing of email.

Dr Larry Rosen, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­ogy at Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity and au­thor of

the book iDis­or­der: Un­der­stand­ing our ob­ses­sion with tech­nol­ogy and over­com­ing

its hold on us, warns that our ex­ces­sive tech­nol­ogy use and abuse is caus­ing us to de­velop symp­toms of dis­or­ders such as nar­cis­sis­tic per­son­al­ity dis­or­der and ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der.

‘‘ Ev­ery sin­gle psy­chi­atric dis­or­der can be pre­dicted by use of tech­nol­ogy and it turns out that one of the main cul­prits is so­cial me­dia,’’ Dr Rosen told Ra­dio Na­tional’s All in the

Mind pro­gram. ‘‘ Par­tially that’s be­cause we’re do­ing it more, but par­tially it’s be­cause so­cial me­dia is re­ally a palate to ex­press our per­son­al­ity and so if we have a ten­dency say to be a bit nar­cis­sis­tic, then what we do on Face­book is a lot of post­ings about me.’’

Th­ese are com­mon traits of what he terms ‘‘ i- dis­or­ders’’ and they’re a grow­ing con­cern.

Of course tech­nol­ogy is af­fect­ing our psy­cho­log­i­cal sta­bil­ity.

But re­ally, how are we to avoid star­ing at a com­puter for eight hours a day, when it is es­sen­tial to our work?

How can we avoid check­ing in with friends when so­cial me­dia is so preva­lent? It does not mean that Face­book is bad. Dr Rosen in­sists so­cial me­dia sites can be mar­vel­lous tools for con­nect­ing with peo­ple. The prob­lem is that, par­tic­u­larly for younger peo­ple, they be­come con­di­tioned with this way of pre­sent­ing them­selves to the world and they only want to do it in a way in which they look good, clever and con­nected.

And that’s where the nar­cis­sism stum­bling blocks oc­cur.

The best way to keep some san­ity and ob­jec­tiv­ity in our hy­per- con­nected era is to sim­ply take some time out and take it of­ten.

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