Technology: Are we more connected or disconnected?

Technology has undergone an astonishing evolution that has dramatically changed how we live, work and most importantly, how we communicate and interact. In this digital era, we have the ability to instantly connect and obtain information anytime and anywhere. There are many benefits to having instant access to information at our very fingertips. However, there are several drawbacks which may force us to reconsider how we use technology on a day-to-day basis.

Nowadays, we are surrounded by technological devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers as well as accessibility to a high-speed internet connection. So, we are more connected than we have ever been to the digital world. Social media makes it easier and faster to keep in touch with long-distance family members and friends. Taking this further, the widespread use of video calls has dramatically increased our interaction, particularly since the Covid Lockdown in 2020. At that time, we could truly appreciate the benefits of video calls to elderly family members or those who were more isolated, providing them with the opportunity to see their loved ones. Without a doubt, video calls have positively impacted our lives by eliminating the sensation of distance and feeling closer to others.

Not only has technology provided more opportunities for communication, but it has also provided many new opportunities for studying and working online. The global e-learning business is set to reach a net worth of $336.98 billion by 2026 and in fact, from 2018 to 2024 it has had a staggering annual growth of 9.1%, according to the Bay Atlantic University in Washington, USA. Online study enables more people to acquire further qualifications while working or juggling family commitments. Furthermore, remote work provides employees with greater flexibility for work-life compatibility, as well as cutting costs for businesses in terms of expensive office space. It’s fair to say that technology has brought about positive changes but having said that, there are some genuine concerns which we must consider.

Despite being more connected, many studies have found that the lack of human contact has led to people feeling more isolated, with an increase in anxiety and depression, particularly among young people. Our over-reliance on digital communication actually leaves less opportunity for human interaction as well as increased misinterpretation. When we meet someone in person, there are non-verbal signs that simply cannot come across in virtual interactions, often leading to miscommunication. Not to mention that humans are social beings and benefit from being around one another.

Apart from our increased lack of human connection, there is a serious concern raised by many experts regarding a shortened attention span. People of all ages are spending more and more hours online but these hours are often unproductive, as many people are endlessly scrolling through social media or short videos. This is detrimental to our attention span and it is causing particular issues within schools as teachers have greater difficulty maintaining the students’ engagement due to the shortened attention span as a result of scrolling on social media.

Among the concerns, there is one that stands out and that is regarding privacy and security. Our lives are connected to the virtual world and our private information is stored online, often leading to misuse of personal information, online bullying and breaches in personal data. Furthermore, there are worries that the incorporation of AI could potentially worsen this situation. So, it is crucial to implement strong security measures to secure our privacy and data.

These technological advances have greatly improved our way of life in many ways, providing us with greater accessibility, opportunities and conveniences. Having said that, there is a real need to educate the public in order to foster a more mindful use of technology. Additionally, businesses should consider a more ethical development of technology for society as studies have shown that technology has a dehumanising effect so, now more than ever, we are in need of a digital disconnection. With that said, and summer just around the corner, there is no better time to disconnect from technology and connect with your nearest and dearest.


Cristina Cummins

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