As part of Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, I have blogged about the relationship we have with ourselves, with our partner and with our pets. Today I want to talk about the relationship we have with our Gadgets.
Gadgets can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, our gadgets, gear and social media can bring us much closer together and make the world a smaller place. Our family and friend relationships benefit from this, which can have a positive effect on our mental health.
On the other hand, we can become so obsessed with the gadgets in our hand, that we can forget our friends and family are in the same room as us! This oversight might not be good for the relationship we have with them.
When It’s good to tech-talk
There is no doubt, today’s technology is an incredible communication tool. Not only does it help us keep in closer contact with family and friends who are not in our local area, but it can also help us build upon these relationships through sharing stories, photos and messaging. I adore seeing pictures of my great-niece making achievements, from taking her first steps to starting school. I would have missed out on all of this if it were not for today’s technology and our gadgets.
Being stuck at home all the time, I would feel isolated and cut off from the larger world, if it were not for my gadgets. When my mental health is suffering, I get much solace from engaging with social media and messaging. Without it, I fear I would decline even further into a deeper depression. My iPad is my means of speaking during these times.
When it’s not good to tech-talk
I am amazed by the number of times I have been in a restaurant and seen people sitting round a table together having lunch, but all of them are busy looking at their gadgets. Nobody is actually talking to the people they are sitting with! Or, groups of young adults out together, but burried in their phones. I do wonder if fulfilling relationships can be maintained when such time is spent consuming technology, rather than chatting with each other. Who knows, maybe they are talking to each other on Facebook rather than in the room!
When our gadgets can kill us
Our gadgets have become so embroiled into every aspect of our lives, to the point they could be risking our lives when we use them without thinking. Augsburg in Germany has recently introduced traffic light crossings with lights embedded in the pavement, to protect people who are so engrossed in their gadgets, they might walk into the road without looking.
It is tragic that so many thousands of deaths in traffic collisions around the world have happened while people have been using their gadgets at the same time they are driving a vehicle. Gadgets make it easy these days to glance quickly at a status update and this action risks causing a collision – this is definitely not a moment to be having a relationship with a gadget.
Do no harm
Gadgets – they bring us closer together, facilitate joy and laughter, fill our heads with data, and make the world a smaller place. But, the way we use them can not only harm our human relationships – they also can harm us. Perhaps we can get more from the relationship with our gadgets by doing more of what is good which will boost our mental health, and resist doing the harmful things that can damage not just our mental health, but our human existence!
Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo