The impact of technology on self-sufficient thinking
With a never seen progress in communication and amazing development in many fields, technology has radically changed the way we think and interact with the world. While the benefits of raising the quality of our lives are priceless, technology has also greatly impacted our ability to think for ourselves and be self-sufficient. There hasn’t ever existed a more powerful tool for learning and problem-solving. Still, inadequate usage seems to lead to increased reliance on external sources of information than internal knowledge and accumulated experience. This can block our ability to think critically and creatively and prevent us from taking risks and experimenting with new things. Education vs skills which one is better? Is technology making us smarter or dumber? In this new paradigm of technology, those questions keep echoing in our heads.
We could say that technology has become a crutch that prevents us from falling but can also inhibit our ability to “move” independently: to practice creative thinking and problem-solving. Through the unlimited availability of information, technology can impact original thinking in a negative way. With the touch of a button, we can access a plethora of information on any topic imaginable – there’s no need to formulate thoughts.
While we can’t help reaping the benefits, “eating from the tree of knowledge” has downsides we need to pay attention to.
The risk of losing skills
When inadequate and excessive use becomes really bad, it can lead to a loss of basic skills that were once considered to be essential for survival and self-sufficiency. The ability to navigate without a GPS or cook a meal by using what you have at home – those skills can be lost for many because of relying too heavily on technology. This creates a sense of helplessness we got used to and started considering normal. We often feel powerless if we have to navigate the world without the aid of technology, from where the question arises: Is technology making us smarter or dumber? This led to a limited experience of the world and living by pre-defined templates: the information we find determines the result of our work. This is the way we do things now. We often settle with being good at replicating exactly what we saw on our feed rather than coming up with our original take on things.
It requires effort and mindful attention to deliberately make ourselves do things without using the help of technology.
An altered vision of the world
Technology can also affect our overall sense of self–sufficiency by altering how we perceive the world around us. The constant stimulation and instant gratification technology offers can create a sense of impatience. Dependence symptoms follow, manifesting in a lack of willingness to work persistently or be patient. This can be increasingly problematic for generations who grow up as digital natives. Living in a bubble where technology is viewed as the solution for all problems can lead to a lack of ability to develop original solutions.
How to train our brains to stay aware?
While in theory it sounds quite simple to pay attention to our technology consumption, in practice, it is proving to be a little bit more difficult and complicated than that.
As with breaking any habit, getting results takes time and perseverance. But it all starts with a seemingly easy step, which is the hardest at the same time: being conscious of it. After that, it’s one small step at a time to implement new, healthy habits.
Practicing critical thinking
Unlimited access to information has a negative side: it means unlimited access to all kinds of information. It’s no news that there’s lots of misinformation surrounding us. Questioning whether something is true or not has become an essential everyday practice for most of us. But here comes the hard part: regularly questioning ourselves and our own states of well-being.
Answering the question if we are tech dependent or not can be tricky. Still, if there is a problem, acknowledging it is the first step toward addressing it. Testing if our digital consumption is still healthy is just as important as testing the quality of the information consumed. There are many methods for it, and sometimes just asking a few questions does the trick. Do I really need to scroll further? What am I missing if I don’t? Do I really need to complete this next level now?
Critical thinking is a great tool for testing dependence. A very effective method is to start by assuming that you are dependent and then look for arguments on both sides. Mental games like this can help to stay aware of technology usage and can reduce the risks of falling into excess.
Limit the time of usage
It’s important to remember that technology has become a crucial part of our lives today. While it is possible to live without it, this means being limited to a certain kind of lifestyle and having restricted access to everything.
Technology is interwoven with the fabric of society, and it would be a useless battle to swim against the current.
Still, there are lots of habits we are unaware of. There’s that little kick of dopamine we get when looking at our phones. It’s tricky how fast it becomes a habit to check our phones whenever we feel slightly bored. A line at the ATM? No problem. A boring ride with strangers? I don’t even have to look at them. Technology provides this comfort, but at the price of potential addiction. It’s crucial to stay aware of this habit and compensate with other activities when possible.
Taking care of the body
Technology addiction is linked to many issues on the level of our physical bodies. Too much technology is taking its toll on our bodies resulting in bad posture and several other musculoskeletal issues, disrupted biorhythm, and abnormal sleep schedules. Slouching, sitting all day forcing our eyes, forgetting to eat, or having difficulty following a schedule – sound familiar?
The sedentary lifestyle the excessive technology usage is forcing us into has a huge impact on our bodies. And while we can’t exclude it from our lives, it is important to compensate with a regular workout schedule to minimize the negative effects. A good workout routine – preferably in the outside world – can compensate for the strain on the body and is also beneficial mentally.
Technology has changed how we interact with the world, opening up possibilities that were unimaginable only a hundred years ago. Those changes can be felt everywhere. Whether positive or negative, the impact on our cognition can’t be neglected. Technology is the most powerful tool for acquiring information and solving problems, but excessive use can lead to addictions and becoming overly reliant on instant information. Many fear that this can lead to a decline in our cognitive abilities and affect our capacities to think without the aid of technology. Always taking the easy path might lead to a feeling of helplessness when a problem emerges that needs original, creative thinking. While it is impossible to exclude technology from our lives, it is important to take steps to monitor our relationship with it to prevent becoming addicted. Practicing a critical attitude and having a regular workout routine in combination with a few limitations on unproductive screen time can save you visits to the doctor and ensure access to the freedom of your mind.