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Editorial TMID: Technology addiction - The Malta Independent

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It’s hard to realize just how dependent on technology we’ve all become. Imagine where we would be without our computers, our cell phones.

Technology has taken over every industry. It has improved the work efficiency immensely, and nowadays, some jobs that were done by human beings in the past are being done by machines. This allowed us to mass produce on an immense scale. It has greatly simplified our day to day.

It also allowed us to connect with each other. We can easily communicate with people all over the world through a text or email within seconds. We can read news from other countries at the click of a button. The world has never been more connected than it is now… and technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

But with such rapid developments, a balance must be found. Misco released the results of a local survey this week, which found that 92% of Maltese consider themselves dependent on technology for daily tasks.

Two particularly troubling statistics are that 42% of respondents feel that technology in their workplace increases their levels of stress and burnout, while 41% believe it makes it more difficult for them to achieve a work-life balance. Both statistics show that while the majority were not adversely affected, a large portion of the population was.

Think about it, our phones allow us to stay connected 24/7, not just through Whatsapp or phone calls but also through our emails. While this could be seen as a positive, as we can respond quickly to work emails, it could also be seen as a negative for the same reason, as it raises the question whether people can really cut into their free time. At this point, resting in free time is important to recharge your energies, otherwise burnout can occur.

There’s also the issue of spending too much time in front of a screen. How often do we go out to restaurants and see people, even young children, just looking at their phones or iPads instead of interacting with others? Yes, technology has become an extremely important part of our lives, but if we live behind screens, we can teach our children to do the same.

Look back to your own childhood and think about how important it was to interact with other people?

We also need to consider our work-life balance. Spending time with family and friends helps recharge your batteries, so to speak.

Technological improvements have also brought social media, and new platforms keep popping up. It helps us to connect with the wider world, but it also has certain negative effects. First of all, we’ve all read stories of hate speech on social media and how people are taken to court because of the comments they post. This needs to get home. There are consequences for what people post. So before you do this, take a few minutes and think it through.

The other problem with social media is its effect on our attention span. Think about how short social media videos have become. It’s all about instant entertainment… for five seconds before moving on to the next video. But can we really learn anything from these videos? The answer… in most cases… is no. We end up zombified just scrolling from one thing to another as fast as possible.

There needs to be balance. It’s okay to flip through the videos for a few minutes… but if you’re doing this for hours on end, it might be worth questioning whether or not such action is improving your life. Would this quick fix to instant entertainment negatively affect our lives in other ways?

Technology is great and we’re going to keep moving forward… but we must also be aware of the negative aspects and do our best to minimize them while maximizing the positives.