Is Technology Making you Worry?

by mwing1 on February 17, 2014 - 6:42pm

        Technology has grown exponentially since the first television and telephone. This, accompanied with the changing social anxiety seen among adolescences begs the question; just how, exactly, does the technology of a culture influence the anxiety of the youth today?  “Trends in Anxiety during Adolescence” explores this issue by breaking down the two main types of technology influenced anxieties. The first are self-body issues with an increase in the desire to modify or self-harm the body based on visual stimuli. Graham investigates this in connection with two women, ‘Brenda’ and ‘Chloe’, and a Fijian study. The women and the study delve into the effects of visual stimuli on the development of BDD or body dysmorphic disorder which is a disorder affecting both genders involving the imagined image of a distorted body, or feature (Graham 2011). The second anxiety is seen from an increase in social and communication networks. ‘Adam’ believed his virtual world was better than realty and suffered anxiety when his family tried to pry him away from it. All three of these adolescents were affected by technology in negative ways, but the technological influences go even deeper. The establishment of identity is effected by technology as it creates distress as noted in ‘James’. His obsession with self-diagnosing using the internet led to a depressed outlook on life. As seen in all these cases, anxiety isn’t increasing in regard to the rise in technology, but is changing over time, to parallel the current ideas, beliefs, and technology (Graham 2011).

            This article’s main purpose is to inform the reader how culture, in specific, technology in culture, affects anxiety of adolescents. Throughout history the youth have always dealt with anxiety; the types, however, have changed. As our culture and technology changes, the anxiety changes with it. Being a woman in this society I can understand what this article is exploring. In our culture today, technology is everywhere giving people access to all resources; including the media. The television shows beautiful, touched up, perfect women, while the internet is telling us the “Five easy ways to lose 10 pounds.” I don’t see how adolescents in our society couldn’t have anxiety; whether it is BDD or an obsession with self-diagnosing just like ‘James’. If the types of anxiety continue to parallel our culture, then over time, our anxiety types will continue to change. If our culture becomes more and more reliant on technology, then our anxieties will probably become more and more focused on aspects of technology. This means that counselors and psychologists will eventually have to change the way they deal with their patients. In a broader respect, this article also shows how everything is really influenced by our culture; our technology. “Trends in Anxiety during Adolescence” allows the reader to learn about how negative personal factors (anxiety) parallels the culture and technology at large. However, it doesn’t explore the depths to which technology affects us; couldn’t one say technology in our culture helps us too?

           

References: Graham, Richard. (2011, January). Trends in Anxiety during Adolescence. Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal, 14-18.

            

Comments

This article brings up a valid point in todays ever-changing society communication technologies may be a leading cause of our anxiety. I think that the prevalence of technology in today’s society has caused an increase in anxiety among all age groups. Most people feel the need to always be connected in someway, just by carrying a cell phone there are numerous ways people can contact you via text, call, e-mail, or social network. That alone can cause a huge increase in anxiety just knowing that you are almost always connected to everyone around you. Growing up in the digital age we went through many different communication technology advances first landlines, then AIM, Cell phones, and lastly social media. Sense many and I have been surrounded by the ability to be always connected to the internet I never thought that it could be a major cause of anxiety, but it makes a lot of sense.
One could also look at always being connected as a positive thing. Technology has helped us keep long-distance relationships, connect with different people around the world, and create a global economy. I think the use of communication technologies has mostly been implemented in a positive way. It can cause anxiety but people can connect more easily, cheaply, and efficiently than ever before.

I agree with this article that the exposition to different media offered by technology influences our mind even more with the amount of publicity which we see every day. However, I also totally agree with you that it is not enough to explore the impact of, for example, the use of technology by the media and relate it as the main source of anxiety.
I have stumbled upon an article by Heather Hatfield “Power Down for Better Sleep” published back in January 2008 but that I believe still applies today. Technology gives us access to the outside world, even after hours that is during the night. For example, without lights, there isn’t much else to do during the night than sleep. On the other hand, with an internet access, it is quite easy to communicate with friends late at night in the comfort of our house. However, actions like responding to important emails or doing a cerebrally demanding activity on the internet prevents our brain from starting to shut down for the night. In her article, Hatfield explains how these different impacts of technology reduces the amount of sleep a person can get at night which in turn is also stressful.
I myself know that I am struggling with this problem nearly every night. When I get back home, why would I go to sleep when there is so much I can do, so many people I can talk to? I think the accessibility given to us by technology is harmful to our sleep, which itself makes us more stressed because we are not well rested enough to perform an entire day normally.
Here is a link to the article:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/power-down-better-sleep