Is Overuse of Technology Affecting Mental Health?

Whether we like it or not, technology has become a part of our everyday lives.  We rely on it for quick information, social networking, job searching, school related assignments, and entertainment for when we are bored. But is being constantly connected to the technological world affecting student’s mental health? It is rare to find a college student that does not have a cell phone, laptop computer, email and Facebook account.  A poll taken by The Jed Foundation found that 90% of college students used a social networking site within the last week.  These tools are great for getting school work finished, communicating with friends, staying connected with family while away at school, and for getting in touch with professors.  It is important though to make sure that students are not becoming overly reliant on their technological devices and letting them take control of their lives.  Maintaining face- to- face interaction is a key part of mental health. 

School is definitely a very stressful part of life and although technology can work to ease the stress and simplify your work load, it may have the reverse affect.  Do you ever find yourself stressing over not getting a reply from your latest text message? Or maybe you find yourself constantly checking your Facebook to make sure you’re caught up on your social circle, or to see the number of likes you got on a photo.  If the results were not what you expected or had hoped for, it could really take a toll on your emotional health.  Over thinking a situation, excessive worrying, misreading a person’s feelings or taking something out of context can all be a result of this.  Many people have been harassed or disrespected online which can lead to lower self-esteem and other insecurities.  Social media websites can also negatively affect relationships through misunderstandings of things that were said or done online.  Talking over an issue face-to-face still remains the most efficient and successful way to resolve a problem.    Technology was created to make our lives simpler…not stressful!  Removing negative stress from your life is a major part of mental health.  It is important to recognize your reliance on technological devices to make sure that it is only leading to positive outcomes on your health.  Here are a few tips for balancing technology with everyday life.

Be present! During class time be present in the moment and participate in activities and engage in conversation.  Turn off your cell phone and keep from texting during class.  You don’t want to miss out on something important!