We all rely on technology on a daily basis. But here’s a scary status update: Technology may actually be hurting our health. There is growing evidence that we may want to hit the ‘dislike’ button on heavy gadget and social media use. Here are three reasons why:
Your news feed is killing your mood!
The first thing you do in the morning is check your Facebook or Instagram feeds. It can be fun, but it can also be a bummer. If your co-worker posts constantly about his divorce or you can’t escape your friend’s dismal daily updates since she lost her job, it can certainly put a kink in your mood for the day.
On the flip side, you may suffer from Social Media Envy. You know what we’re talking about. Your feed is full of happy people traveling to exotic places, buying new cars or nabbing the newest, hottest handbag. It seems like everyone is leading a perfect life―-except you. “Unfortunately, for some, particularly children, technology can be overwhelming and encourage social comparisons focusing on how we don’t “add up” in comparison to others,” says psychologist and author Kelsey Latimer.
“In my professional opinion, children are particularly vulnerable to these effects because they are unable to fully recognize that people are essentially airbrushing themselves on social media,” she says, adding that lives can look better than they appear. When this happens over and over it can have an impact.
She explains there is a phenomenon called ‘Facebook depression’ where people, particularly pre-teens and teens, exhibit classic symptoms of depression after spending time on social media sites. “What I attempt to help people understand when this occurs is that, essentially, we are comparing our insides (i.e.your toughest thoughts and feelings) to other people’s outsides (i.e the mask they choose to show the world) and this is not a fair comparison.” Dr Latimer says it’s critical to remember that no one’s life is perfect.
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Gadgets are ruining your memory
It shouldn’t be such a shock that we don’t use our brains as a memory bank as much as we used to since we have the external hard drive known as the Internet to do the remember-ing for us! Researchers conducted multiple experiments and proved what they termed “The Google Effect”, basically that we don’t have as much recall to information when we have the ability to look it up later.
Dr Latimer points out, however, that other studies found that technology can be used as a tool to enhance memory in certain people. “Overall, looking at the results may suggest a buyer-beware mentality of recognizing that like many things, there are pros and cons to using assistive technologies. If we choose to use them, we may want to make sure we are exercising our internal memory hardware in other ways.” She suggests taking mental snapshots of our surroundings and playing memory games without the use of technology.
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Food Instagrams can make you hungry
C’mon, admit it—you scroll for porn, food porn, that is. Instagram is filled with foodie fantastic posts. The thing is, the eye-catching pictures may actually make you hungry. Seems that the phrase “We eat with our eyes first” may actually carry some ‘weight.’ Researchers looked over a variety of studies and concluded, “Our suggestion here is that the regular exposure to virtual foods nowadays, and the array of neural, physiological, and behavioral responses linked to it, might be exacerbating our physiological hunger way too often.”
Basically, you may want to be careful liking photos of cheeseburgers or that amazing dessert if there are still hours to go until lunch. You just may find yourself grabbing something to eat to hold yourself over!
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