The Natural Remedy to Technological Immersion
Technology is a constant part of many Americans’ daily life. So many people spend their every waking moment in technological immersion. The morning is spent in front of the TV watching the news. The workday is spent behind a computer screen. The evening is spent in front the TV, video game, or computer screen again. Additionally, the phone screen is a constant part of life all throughout the day. Any time that a person is away from a larger screen is a few minutes to check their social media accounts and emails. Face-to-face social interaction is being sacrificed on the altar of technological immersion. This constant engagement in technology may be having negative effects on individual health, and may be having a negative effect on our society as a whole. The answer to this issue may very well be in nature.
Constant use of technology has been shown to have negative effects on the development of children. Research has shown that children who are regularly exposed to technology have a harder time distinguishing emotional and social cues, and that it also has negative effects on critical thinking and analysis abilities. The abandonment of reading as a pleasurable pastime has also caused a decline in the associated traits of imagination, attention, and memory. Additionally, the technological immersion of developing minds causes the brain to develop differently. the developing mind puts greater importance on the processing of multiple short-term stimuli instead of long term focus. This shift makes attention spans shorter and constantly searching for a new source of stimulus instead of being able to focus on an imageless text and use the brain to imagine what is happening.
Adults have increased instances of technostress (stress related to the amount of a person’s direct contact with technology). Research has also shown correlations between the increase in technology use and obesity rates among Americans. The finding suggest that the more technology in a person’s life, the less time that they spend being active. The combination of increased weight and stress can lead to even greater health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
What can be done to reduce the negative effects of technological immersion in our lives? Research shows that physical activity is one great method of relieving stress, but there is also evidence that physical activity in nature is even more beneficial. Physical activity is also a great way to burn those extra calories and burn fat. A study in Switzerland has shown that outdoor activity can reduce headaches and stress levels, and increase a sense of feeling well balanced. Perhaps, the best thing for our sanity and mental clarity is to go for a hike, or play frisbee in the park. It might be beneficial to individuals, and society as a whole, if more people took their kids camping and replaced their phones and video games with books and nature. Nature provides a place to get away from the chaos of technological immersion, and allows our minds to recharge and decompress. In a technologically driven world, physical activity, face-to-face personal interactions, and exposure to nature might be beneficial for everyone.