Technology and Psychological Issues

The headline of a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project is a good summary of the current debate on how the rapid growth of technology will effect our minds: “Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives.” Pew surveyed “technology experts and stakeholders,” who generally agreed that those who best capitalize on new technologies will be able to effectively find and sift through large amounts of information as quickly as possible. On the flip side, technology may make us impatient, subject to frequent distraction, and desperate for constant entertainment.

In a recent book, Professor Larry Rosen of California State University, Dominguez Hills posits that many people today could be diagnosed with what he calls an iDisorder. Rosen summarizes the disorder this way in an article: “An iDisorder is where you exhibit signs and symptoms of a psychiatric disorder such as OCD, narcissism, addiction or even ADHD, which are manifested through your use—or overuse—of technology.” An obsessive need to check for text messages, a desperate desire to constantly update your Facebook status, or a near-addiction to iPhone games are all manifestations of iDisorder.

Whether or not changes in our behavior due to technology use classify as a disorder, there is no denying that technology is affecting the way our minds operate. It remains to be seen exactly how technology will affect our psyches, but some changes are already starting to become apparent.

--Liz Soltan