Today the world is at our fingertips thanks to modern technology. From personalized computers in our pockets to modern gaming systems that let us play with friends from afar to cars that can sense an accident before it happens, technology is improving many areas of our lives. But there are also disadvantages to modern technology, and technology and society are still working to redefine their relationship to each other. Like anything, modern technology comes with pros and cons. While it's easy to benefit from modern technology, it's also important to understand the disadvantages of technology so that we can minimize the negative impact on our personal lives and on society as a whole.
Technology and Kids
Many people wonder how modern technology and society will mesh. This concern is most amplified when it comes to children. Kids are being exposed to screens from a young age and are spending more time than ever in front of televisions, tablets and other technology. Research shows that this can change how children interact socially. In fact, one study found that after five days without any electronics, sixth-graders were better able to read human emotion. This suggests that spending more time in front of a screen, rather than connecting face to face, can negatively affect how children socialize and understand other people. In the long term, there could be social consequences if most people have stunted ability to relate to others.
Technology and Addiction
How long could you survive without your smart phone? Many people who lived most of their lives without smart phones and constant internet access now shudder at the idea of leaving their phones at home even for a day. While part of that is because it's so convenient to have your phone in your pocket, there can also be a more sinister explanation: technology addiction.
Constantly receiving notifications about social media posts, text messages or calls activates the brain's reward systems. Over time, some people become addicted to this sense of reward. If the "reward" of new text messages, social media notifications and other interaction is not available, people with technology addiction can become depressed, anxious or feel isolated. When it is available, people with technology addiction might turn to their devices rather than interacting with people who are physically present, making them feel disconnected or withdrawn.
Technology and Jobs
Technology doesn't just affect our home lives. It is used on a much larger scale to streamline manufacturing and other tasks in the workplace. Often, this is good for employers because it reduces costs and minimizes concerns about human error. However, bringing in machines often means replacing workers. Computers now do calculations much more effectively and quickly than humans can, and even manual labor like bricklaying is now outsourced to robots. This leaves workers -- particularly low-paid workers who may not have other skills readily available – without jobs and with fewer options for finding new ones.