Society today is on the brink of a social revolution due to the profound impact that technology has on our society; technology is redefining what it means to be social and how we, as humans, connect to our environment and those around us. Like many advancements throughout history, the technological boom is a double edged sword with both positive and negative impacts that will be felt for years to come.
So how does technology affect society? In examining the positive impacts of technology, it is important to consider the strides technology has made in fostering connections of a personal and more corporate nature. These connections can be global, as it is now easier than it has ever been to connect with individuals in other countries and time zones due to the rise of the internet and smartphones, or can be geographically closer as individuals interact electronically with those in their immediate cohort.
Technology has contributed to the overall trend of globalization that our world has been undergoing since World War II; today, it is much easier to conduct international business than it would have been even fifteen years ago.
Globalization promotes global awareness as the world’s citizens become more cognizant of current events across the globe and ultimately is better for the global economy as a whole. In examining social media, over 85 percent of college undergraduate students profess using a form of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) daily, a trend which is increasing year to year as social media becomes more established in society. The rise of social media in conjunction with technology has facilitated the diffusion of ideas of all kinds, as it is easier than it has ever been to share an idea, be it a good or bad one.
The irony in technology bringing us together is that it is also making us more isolated at the same time. Internet addictions are becoming a diagnosed problem for people of all ages, particularly adolescents. Studies are showing a decline in face to face interactions of adolescents, meaning that social skills are deteriorating in this young generation.
Young people are typically the most adept at using the newest technology, as they have not had to live in a world where it did not exist, but they are beginning to show signs of lacking in non-technological social skills. Additionally, social media is often used as a platform to promote narcissism in this generation and others, leading to narcissistic traits that are not as defined in today’s elderly. Will the next generation have the skills necessary to continue to advance and lead society? The way this generation leads, judging by trends, will most likely look very different than the way the world is run now, just as our society has changed from how it was run twenty years ago.
Though television may promote familial or friendship bonding, as individuals gather to watch a program together, it is overall a negative impact of technology on society for many reasons. Watching TV is a passive act that does not require the viewer to exercise many skills or much thought. Additionally, the average American spends an astounding average of five hours per day watching TV, according to a recent publication by the New York Daily News. Spending nearly a fourth of an average day engaged in a passive activity is not good for the brain and could also be contributing to the overall trend of isolation brought about in part by the rise of technology.
Oftentimes the content of television shows revolves around sexual activity, violence, or other lasciviousness that individuals may subconsciously mimic, contributing to a potential rise in violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and teen pregnancy in our society. Technology has brought about many advancements in science and modern medicine that have greatly improved society’s wellbeing as a whole.
So how does technology affect society?
As society gets progressively more advanced due to technology, however, it is important for society to reflect upon the positives and negatives that technology introduces and decide what to do about each. Society should harness the sheer power of technology and not shy away from advancements that will change the world forever while simultaneously considering how technology is impacting humans’ quality of life and cognitive, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.