I’ll admit it. I’m a Facebook addict. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Oh, that girl I went to third grade with is getting married this weekend!” And then I’ll think, “It’s creepy that I know that.”
Thanks to technology, we can stay in touch with everyone we’ve ever shared a coffee or a bus ride with. Between Facebook, Twitter, g-chat, blogs, work e-mails, smartphones, and laptops, not only can we be constantly connected, it’s actually difficult for us not to be.
Not everyone is a Facebook addict, but most of us have our technology vices. It’s easy to get into the habit of clicking back and forth between browser tabs and chat screens all day long. This type of nervous, passive activity is not only bad for productivity, it’s also bad for your health and stress levels.
Responding to text messages caused a physical stress reaction—elevated respiration and heart rates—in a 2009 study carried out among college students. Nonetheless, “these students had little awareness of the stress their bodies were under as they punched away at their phones,” describes Casey Gueren in her Women’s Health’s article on the findings.
Technology can become a distraction from our present circumstances, too, leaving us torn between experiencing the moment and trying to record—or share—every minute of it.
Dave Pell, of NPR’s All Tech Considered, writes about attending a Giant’s parade with his iPhone: “Once the parade began, my iPhone went from being a useful tool to being the object of my deep compulsion. I knew the crowd shots and player photos I’d take using my phone’s camera would be mediocre…. [but] all of that pre-parade analysis went out the window once the first band marched past me. The recording device was just too close. I couldn’t resist. I took about 40 photos and shot about 20 minutes of video.” For Pell, as for many, his iPhone has become a habit, and despite his efforts to separate himself from it, he cannot. Trouble is, it’s easy to miss out on the full experience if you’re busy attending to your favourite tech device.
So what’s a girl to do? Check out our tips on “5 Ways to Turn Off: Lowering Your Tech-Related Stress” when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
The author, Liz Elfman, is a contributing writer to Pretty Young Professional, and a post-graduate student studying international relations. Previously, she worked for IBM and as a researcher at The Atlantic.