Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is Smart Technology Really So Smart for Our Own Wellbeing? COLUMNIST

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is Smart Technology Really So Smart for Our Own Wellbeing? COLUMNIST

Article excerpt

Byline: JACQUI MILLER-CHARLTON

CONNECTING, socialising and communicating with people is key to our society but is our ability to do so becoming eroded by the progression of all things electrical in a new digital world? In the modern era we can connect with almost anyone who has access to Wi-Fi via the internet in any part of the world at the flick of a switch or the swipe of a tablet and as a result one question springs to mind - 'are we losing the ability to socialise?' The constant checking of our smart devices has moved past habitual to almost necessity, witnessed everywhere as people of all ages can be seen checking their emails, WhatsApp, text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other form of digital/ social media platform they may take part in.

In fact I'd like to bet that most people reading this article have on numerous occasions actually had to take second place to the ping of a smart device whilst either in a meeting at work, over dinner with family or indeed even on a first date.

So strong is the pull from these media platforms that we are in danger of becoming a slave to their demand upon our free time as we each of us spend more and more time checking up on who may be trying to reach us, how many emails we have and haven't yet answered and what's happening on Facebook or Twitter.

I've heard it said that for many less confident types the social media and smart phone/ tablet revolution has allowed them to connect with lots of 'friends' (I use the term very loosely as they haven't actually ever met these 'friends').

In this new virtual world, however, many hours are spent each day posting pictures to these friends as well as disclosing all aspects of day to day life. However, the darker side to social media is well documented and I'm sure it will continue to be a cause for grave concern well into the future as predators from all across the globe lay in wait for vulnerable sectors of society.

It's never been easier to lure unsuspecting individuals of either gender from any age group under the guise of a 'friend' in this virtual digital experience.

In the REAL world (the one where people still communicate face to face or via the telephone) you get a much more in-depth sense of a person, your natural instincts are heightened toward any aspect of a person you are meeting for the first time and as a result your judgement is usually much more accurate.

If any of us really stopped to think how we each of us allow digital media and smart device technology to affect our lives I'm sure we would be forced to admit that most of us have become slightly addicted as we almost subconsciously reach for our phones as soon as we open our eyes each day.

This of course begs the question 'are we ever really living our lives in the moment? …

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