Telecommunication equipment, through which information is transmitted, have evolved and formed an important part of our daily lives, we went from the telegraph to WhatsApp and from black and white television, which deserved its own space, to cell phones or high-resolution tablets that can even be taken into the bathroom. But technological devices not only provide practical value, but also aesthetic and symbolic ones that lead us to choose among endless options: not only the most efficient, but also the most beautiful, the one with the best design or the one that gives me the greatest status.
It is therefore worth starting to reflect on technology in our daily lives, questioning not only the way in which we use it, but also why and for what.
TECHNOLOGY AND MIND
We Mexicans spend more than eight hours a day interacting with some technological device connected to the Internet, be it a cell phone, computer or tablet. It is impossible to think that something in which we already spend most of our time cannot have an impact (both positive and negative) on our minds, it does, and technology has marked not only a new way of relating to others, but also also with ourselves.
Properly applied technology helps us, for example: to organize ourselves better, to learn new things, to keep track of our goals and personal progress, or to shorten distances with friends or family. However, the other side of the coin is that, by not being aware, we can bombard ourselves with harmful, stressful information or look for situations in which we are exposed or at risk. Universities are registering more and more cases of depression and anxiety that are directly linked to the use of social networks. According to the Mexican Internet Association, 82% of users connected to the Internet are active in some social network, this being the main activity on the Internet above mailing .and the search for information. In addition, according to the latest research on Internet habits, it was recorded that Mexicans spend an average of eight hours a day online (that is, a working day), with lunch and the end of the day being the hours of greatest traffic. This means that, regardless of whether we are alone or with others, we are online , so where is the time for intimacy with myself and my relationships?
On social networks, we interact and exchange information with people with whom we somehow have something in common, we filter the things we upload or remove from our profiles based on the number of likes , shares or comments .that we receive This “attention economy” depends entirely on our reaction to the interest of others and their responses on social networks. Studies have found that each like generates dopamine production in the brain and the activation of systems linked to reward, which is why networks are so addictive. A good dose of likes and exchanges can indeed make us feel very good and contribute to our self-esteem, the problem comes when in the outside world there is nothing to support my self-esteem and my ties, therefore, the issue with social networks, technology and the mind, has nothing to do with isolating ourselves and depriving us of the exchange, but with grounding how we use them. In the first place, we must keep in mind that in networks we tend to appreciate the moments of achievement of people, the greatestlikes come from successes and exceptional situations, so that’s what people upload the most, not their daily moments of doubt, anxiety or failure. Keeping this in mind is essential, since depressive disorders linked to the use of social networks have to do with comparing our lives and daily moments with those of others, without considering that these are exceptional issues.
Another factor of anxiety in social networks has to do with FOMO , which means fear of missing out , and literally refers to the fear that is generated by remaining disconnected from the networks and thus missing the opportunity to share a photo that would generate many likes or not to find out in real time the gossip of the moment and even feel that we lose the opportunity to connect with others.
We also have phenomena that are not related to what we publish, but to what we observe on social networks. 75% of Internet users have witnessed cyberbullying or cyberbullying and 40% of adult Internet users have experienced it at some point. The vulnerability to which we are exposed is another stressful factor not only in adults, but also in adolescents. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, high school youth who spend more than two hours a day on social media report higher
symptoms of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, and the WHO projects that if cyberbullying continues to grow in the way it has done so far, by 2025 there will be around 85,000 suicides a year. Despite having such alarming data, we should not demonize the networks or technology, we simply have to keep in mind that their impact on life is important and that is why we must use them responsibly, always keeping our health and safety in mind.
TECHNOLOGY AND WORK
According to Forbes magazine, 33% of Internet users who are active on social networks are of working age, with Facebook (95%), YouTube (60%) and Twitter (56%) being the most common. There are many advantages to the use of technology and the use of social networks within the workplace: first, technology has made jobs more flexible and home office or remote office possible , to avoid stressful factors such as traffic or “going to warm up the chair”, and thus optimize the time of employees, eliminating barriers of schedules, distances and contributing to form a feeling of productivity and assertiveness in managing schedules. On the other hand, coexistence in social networks, although it increases the risk of mobbing(labor harassment), it also promotes employee interaction, the strengthening of business identity, as well as the company’s relationship with customers. Studies have shown that 75% of people are more inclined to consume a product that they follow online than those who are not.
Research on workplace productivity and social media use remains in question, with studies skewed for and against. Social networks and technology are tools, their good or bad use depends on who uses them and how they use them.
TECHNOLOGY AND FAMILY
Undoubtedly, technology has presented new challenges for today’s families, especially in terms of communication, but it also offers new ways of living together. First of all, we must focus on the fact that technologies are tools that offer us alternatives, so we must use them to our advantage and understand the role they have in the lives of our loved ones. As parents, it is important to understand that children are not “born with the integrated chip”, knowing how to operate and manipulate a gadget (which, it is worth saying, is precisely designed to operate intuitively) does not mean that they know how to use it responsibly and ethically. As parents, we must offer a guide for our children and understand the networks that are within their reach. We can also understand certain phenomena and explain them to our children, for example, UNICEF points out that when interacting on the Internet, the limits that exist in the physical world are not so clear, so we tend to generalize or exaggerate the links; It must be clarified that not everyone we have on social networks is a friend or is trusted. Adolescents are a particularly vulnerable population, since they tend to seek intense bonds in which idealization predominates. From an early age, we must teach them to use security filters, not to share personal data and to strengthen their self-esteem through quality coexistence with them. Adolescents are a particularly vulnerable population, since they tend to seek intense bonds in which idealization predominates. From an early age, we must teach them to use security filters, not to share personal data and to strengthen their self-esteem through quality coexistence with them. Adolescents are a particularly vulnerable population, since they tend to seek intense bonds in which idealization predominates. From an early age, we must teach them to use security filters, not to share personal data and to strengthen their self-esteem through quality coexistence with them.
Never before had so many movies, series, photos or videos been seen in a week. All those images—positive or negative—remain in our minds, for better and for worse.
Technology itself offers very fun alternatives to bond as a family and get closer, such as watching series on Netflix and playing online games, but the idea is that we should not let it become a distraction, but rather a moment of conviviality and dialogue. Applications like Homester also seek to encourage dialogue between parents and children, focusing on the work of limits and rules, permissions, rewards, etc.
In Mexico, people begin to have access to the Internet (through apps or games) from the age of three, so, as a family, it is worth starting to establish rules with gadgets, setting limits, for example, by age (setting a age to have a cell phone), time or security (limiting the use of certain applications). This setting can also encourage time with family, alone, or even doing a recreational activity, like exercising or reading. It is our responsibility to know how to use what we have at our disposal, not only at an operational level, but also ethically.