There is no doubt that technology has influenced our cultural landscape. From offering non-stop entertainment opportunities to being an endless source of communication, this unbridled technology is everywhere in the form of tech devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. The proliferation of gadgets has made it easier for people to maintain their social connections through internet, which has become an integral part of our lives.
Mobile technology is a dominant communication platform for teens who maintain contacts with people through social networking sites. Once major aspect of modern technology is that it has improved social interactions among teens; be it texting to friends or playing online games with someone from across another continent. However, there is one downside of this digital communication: social isolation.
The current techno-digital era has reduced the gap between physical and digital world. There is an increased global appetite for cell phones among the teens who use them for much more activities than making phone calls. A survey conducted by Pew Research Centre reveals that 75percent of the teens in America perform texting on their phones. They prefer this informal mode of communication so face-to-face interactions are becoming less natural.
Disconnection with the real world
Can you imagine a world without internet? A new study suggests that people are taking advantage of the mobile technology and looking for social connections online. Instead of getting to know the person sitting right beside them, they remain hooked to their phones, constantly tapping the fingers on the screen.
Instead of cultivating real-life relationships, young people spend their time and effort maintaining superficial connections on social media. Real conversation is merely an illusion today as there’s too much of chatter lately. Whether they’re listening to music, playing games, or surfing on social media, kids have isolated into their tech cocoons. There is absolutely no concept of family time as tech devices accompany kids to even the dinner table where they’d be eating with one hand and navigate the internet with another.
The proliferation of social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, or Instagram are mostly used by younger generation. There is an amplified pressure on teens by their peers to use these social networks to remain connected with the virtual world. Kids put in a lot of effort to create profiles that are in line with their expected lifestyles. This increases inferiority complex in a lot of teens.
Consequences of isolation in teens
Researchers claim that social isolation results in mental health problems. With their phones in hand, kids face the constant barrage of notifications and alerts that distract them from what they’re currently doing, the constant beeps of mobile phones demand their attention, and they feel the urge to check their phones. Such a behavior drives anxiety in kids.
Moreover, kids worry over the number of followers they have on Instagram or keep up the struggle to step into the shoes of the profiles created so that they meet the expectations of other people. They are often impressed by the glitz and glamour shown on social media and try to imitate that lifestyle. This often results in frustration and agitation.
‘Facebook depression’ is another term that’s more frequent in kids with low self-esteem. Sometimes they’re trolled by friends and strangers on updating a status or photo. In some cases, cyberbullying may result in depression and negatively affect their health. Sometimes, their information gets hacked by some online predator who then blackmails kids to indulge in sexting, pornography, etc. In extreme cases, kids may commit suicide to escape the constant social pressure. One thing that has recently come to notice is that ‘night time specific’ use of tech devices results in higher level of depression and anxiety in kids as they have poor sleeping patterns.
If your teen is a tech addict, falling grades are a usual thing for them. Since they cannot concentrate on work, their education will also be negatively affected. It is also seen that those who indulge more in their devices tend to be socially awkward when it comes to real-life socialization. They don’t know what to speak or how to behave with others when having face-to-face conversations. Therefore, kids must have limited use of technology at appropriate times, and that too under parental surveillance.