We all lead stressful lives in one form or another. There is no escaping stress…it is one of the few equalizing aspects of everyone’s life. I have heard in conversations with those many years my senior that people today are more stressed than they were when they were my age (some 30-40 earlier). Several studies have been done that have shown this.* Studies are also looking at the links between technology use and stress.
A recent Huffington Post article looked at how social networking is affecting us.** Looking at research by the Pew Research Foundation they found that those who actively use Social Media are 14% more likely to say their lives are “Somewhat Stressful”. The article gives a few reasons for this including the pressure to keep up with others and the drive to put our best self forward. How many of us are truly honest about who we are online?
Admittedly, I have found myself being affected by Social Media Stress. For myself it hasn’t been the desire to keep up with the Jones’s or to show my best face but instead had manifested in self degradation. I have found myself beating me up for being a bad husband/father because I’m not doing all these things my “friends” are doing with their spouses or kids. This of course in not healthy and when I recognize it I log off of Social Media for a while. ***
While I have mainly focused on the physical health aspects in this short series there is also a much bigger and more insidious side…the emotional and relational. In this connected society it has amazed he as to how less connected we have become. When I go out in town I see it all the time…the vast majority on a phone, tablet, or other technology and not actively engaging with the world around them. I have to admit I too have been guilty of this. It seems to be happening more and more but what could possibly be the issue with this use?
It isn’t hard to imagine the possible physical issues that could arise from a distracted person. One could walk into a wall, a hole, or even traffic. In fact these technology distracted injuries are becoming more and more problematic.**** This distraction can cause us to be disconnected from those around us too. Who know what we have missed while looking at our tech…we may have walked past an old friend we hadn’t seen in years.
This distraction can be especially harmful if those being distracted are parents. Besides the obvious lack of supervision that could lead to injury or worse. But what about the emotional aspects? A recent Boston Medical study observed 55 groups of children at fast-food restaurants. They observed that 40 of the 55 caregivers “primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child.”***** I have to admit I have been guilty of this at times and I admit it wasn’t even important use of tech.
Much of my reading and pondering has been admittedly uncomfortable. I have become convicted and ashamed of my actions. I have taken steps to remedy my stumbles but I am a long way from where I want and should to be. It is a long road and a difficult one. I have found for myself the lure of technology can be an all too tempting one. Lord willing I will reach that point. I hope this short series might help someone.