Don't get me wrong, the internet is absolutely fantastic. I mean, where would we be without it? No social networking, no online work, no research facility right at your fingertips, no more booking events online...you name it, most of us do everything online!
However as with everything in life, the internet does have its downside. Particularly in an age of Samsung Galaxies, Blackberries, Ipads etc, we are in an age when internet is quite literally at your internet. You are never far away from your emails. Basically, your entire desk comes where you go. As convenient as this sounds, we are potentially creating a generation which cannot switch off (both their devices and in their minds). There is a work ethic whereby some employers now expect their employees to be on call 24/7 because they know they can be. Although this is a very efficient way of working, people need time to switch off and have their own personal time and space.
It always used to be the TV that was called for everything; the TV was always accused of 'de-socialising' children by making them interact less. However it is no longer the TV which is the problem. For both adults and children, it is the internet which is the real concern and is the principal cause of what is known as 'techno-anxiety.'
From i.istockimg.comPsychiatrists fear that 'Techno-anxiety' is a problem which is only going to get worse as more and more technology allowing people to constantly be 'on call' becomes widely available. Not just with workers, but also amongst young people and students, studies have shown that the increase in people using social networking sites and working on the go has led to neurological disorders, and particularly, restlessness and irritation. Another noted side effect is that people who become so engrossed in using technology all the time have a tendency to distance themselves from family members and friends and live in their own virtual world.
Techno-anxiety is something which creeps up on you and until you ask yourself some questions, you don't realise that you are any different to how you were, say, a year ago. However ask yourself this: how many hours do you sleep? People with techno-anxiety generally get around 5-6 hours sleep due to being unable to tear themselves away from either work, Facebook, watching online TV or films, emailing etc. If you become too focussed on your computer/ipad/blackberry etc to the point where it is unhealthy, then every day jobs such as cleaning, eating properly, shopping etc, seem peripheral and not worth doing. People with techno-anxiety tend to go out and feel very churned up inside due to not always being able to check emails, statuses etc. Another key question is have you been distancing yourself from people? Do you get irritated quite easily when gives you something to do or wants to go out which doesn't involve using the internet? Do you get worried about leaving technology behind for a few hours?
We all can get engrossed with the internet...catching up with all the TV episodes that everyone else has had chance to see and you haven't, emailing work and friends, posting photos, tweeting, reading the online news etc... But a word of warning, make sure you limit your time online. Once you get to a stage where the world is going on around you and you are not really there, you have reached a dangerous point and need to step back. Everything in life is about balance and use of technology is no different. Make sure you (and your device!) have your switch off time.