Life is always a balancing act. We need to make time for school or work, family, sleep, plus whatever other interests we might have. Technology makes finding balance a little more challenging. We can use technology in nearly every facet of our lives, but too much technology can be harmful. So as with everything else in our lives, we need to find a balance.
The Importance of Balance
There is a word for people who take things too far, who focus too much on one thing and are unwilling to accept other viewpoints. The term is a “zealot.” They have no balance in their views or interests, and it becomes unhealthy. That is extreme, but it demonstrates the importance of balance.
When it comes to technology, we also need balance in our lives. By allowing our devices an all-access pass to our lives, we lose touch with actual reality. Sure, devices can be a great way to keep in touch with people, especially those who are long distance. But at the end of the day, the more time we spend on our devices, the less time we are spending with actual people. It is essential to find a balance between the tools that help us learn, communicate, entertain, and more, and the people who keep us mentally and physically happy and healthy.
Benefits of Technology
If people who lived 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, could see what we can do with technology today, they would be amazed beyond their wildest dreams. Technology helps us with every facet of our lives. It saves us so much time, gives us access to the whole world, and takes us to virtual realities to entertain and help us escape for a little while.
We can learn new skills for our life on YouTube or other places; we can improve our reflexes and hand-eye coordination by playing video games. We can know when to pick someone up at the airport, video chat with people on the other side of the world, or study or work in the craziest of places. Technology is simply amazing, and there are so many advantages to using it in our daily lives.
The Dangers of Technology
For all of the fantastic things that we can do with technology, it can be dangerous, too. We can spend too much time on our screens and not enough time in real life. Maximum screen time can create many types of problems for us, from poor performance at school or work, lack of sleep or other changes in sleep, depression, and other mental health challenges. When we don’t spend enough time with other human beings, we can become disconnected, which also causes both psychological and physical health problems. If we remember to balance our time with technology and real life, then we can enjoy the benefits without seeing the harm.
It is not only the time we spend but what we spend our time on, too. There are so many things available through our devices that can be harmful to us personally, like unlimited access to addictive things such as pornography, gambling, games, and social media. As with addictions like substance use, technology addiction also can cause changes in our brain function in addition to the apparent harm it does to our functioning, relationships, and other areas of our real life. Some parts of technology are just dangerous altogether. It is not about balance; it is about staying healthy, mentally, and physically.
Why Connection is Important
We, as human beings, are designed to be social. We are meant to exist in family units, live in groups like cities and towns, and interact with each other. As we seek connection with human beings, we are healthier as well as happier. Those who isolated from other humans have more mental and physical health problems, and on average, die much younger. If we spend all of our time isolated from actual human beings but on our devices (video chats and texting don’t count as a human connection), we risk mental and physical health issues. However, if we balance our time between real-life human contact and screen time, we get the best of both worlds.
How to Balance Screen Time
Some people give themselves a daily limit of screen time, counting time spent on all devices daily. There are apps now that allow you to see how much time you spend and on which apps so that you can see if one thing is disproportionately eating up your time. Another way to find balance is to allow yourself an hour of screen time for every hour of interactive time with other people – not just sitting in classes next to humans, but rather the time spent talking to others. You can find a way to balance your technology with time spent interacting with others so that you can stay healthy both mentally and physically.
You know that balance is essential. You know your mental and physical health is critical. So remember that monitoring your technology usage is vital to keep that balance and stay healthy. Avoid the dangers and pitfalls of technology usage by balancing your time interacting with other human beings. Then you can enjoy the fantastic benefits of having the world (and also your BFF) at your fingertips.
Embark is the most trusted name in teen and young adult mental health treatment. We’re driven to find the help your family needs. If you’re looking for support, contact us today!