Understanding the Impact of Technology - A Reflection

The proliferation of internet connected devices and digital media has made technology an integral part of contemporary life in the developed world, with practically every daily human endeavor having the ability to being augmented by technology. As we benefit from the presence of technology in the various facets of our lives, we also need to be aware of the issues of digital footprints, access, and the effects of technology on our behavior and well-being.

Communication and the sharing of information has been revolutionized by social media; we can synchronously connect with other individuals from anywhere in the world. This has given us unprecedented access to information and to each other, affecting many fields, including business, education, and healthcare. A lay person can easily connect with a leader in any field on Twitter, creating a type of access and interaction that was impossible before social media. Using social media, the average person can express their views publicly the same way prominent individuals or organizations can.

This ease of expression also comes with downsides in the digital age. Having virtually all information known to man now at our fingertips means that we are now facing a cognitive overload of information. Gone are the days where we received information from authority figures like teachers and clergy, curated resources like libraries, and a handful of legacy media sources. The challenge now is not obtaining information but having to learn how to sift through the sea of data and evaluate it to find what is relevant, accurate, complete, and unbiased.

The ease of instantaneous electronic communication means that we now have can impulsively post, message, send, like, and follow on the internet before considering the long term impact of our actions. The nature of the medium means that what we think is private is usually not, and what occurs in a fleeting moment typically has a permanent record in cyberspace. This can result in us leaving a digital footprint behind in cyberspace that is negative and detrimental to us. Unintentional digital footprints are information and artifacts that we may not intend to share with others and whose existence we may not even be aware of; examples include search histories, "likes" and "follows" on social media, catfishing, identity theft, and personal information that is leaked from sources that are supposed to be secure.

We can counter this not only by considering negative impacts of our actions, but also by intentionally cultivating a positive digital footprint. Much like leaving a positive mark on the world through our good actions, we can leave a positive footprint in the digital world that is beneficial to our lives and careers and reflects who we are and what our interests and passions are. We can so this is several ways, by contributing to online resources such as blogs and wikis, networking with others through tools such a Twitter and Linkedin, and maintaining an ePortfolio. A public ePortfolios can give the viewer a sense of a person is, what they are passionate about and what their goals are; they can include content and information such as creative artifacts, resumes, blog posts, slide shows and digital bulletin boards.

Technology while being a great tool for our work, interests and connecting with others, has also affected our lives in terms of our health and behavior. Excessive time spent on devices and on social media has resulted in issues like a social isolation, depression, and anxiety. Bullying that occurs in cyberspace is also an increasing cause for concern, especially for the wellbeing of children and adolescents. Technology use has also resulted in detrimental effects on our physical health due to lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, excessive sitting, incorrect posture, and stress on joints and limbs due to repetitive motions.

Technology has completely revolutionized all areas of our society and our day-to-day lives within the timeframe of one generation. However, the processes of understanding the full effects of this change and adapting to a very different way of life are still in their early stages. Our laws, public policy, education and healthcare systems need to be re-examined to be adapt to what is not only a technological shift, but a cultural one as well.


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Hurley, K. (n.d.). Social media and teens: How does social media affect teenagers’ mental health. Psycom. Retrieved from https://www.psycom.net/social-media-teen-mental-health

Rachel Clarke. (2015, September 9). Social media tips for digital citizenship. Youtube. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7oYriOGFs8

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.).

Schuylerville CSD. (2017, September 18). Digital citizenship lessons. Youtube.[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_am_AQfXKw


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