The world has changed. The emergence of home computers, followed by the Internet, smartphones, and social media, is altering the way we live at a breakneck pace. We are enmeshed with our tech, particularly our smartphones. There’s even a term for the fear of being without our smartphones – nomophobia. While there are clearly many benefits of technology, we all know that it has downsides as well. How can we reap the benefits of technology while limiting the negatives? This is a specialty of mine, and I explore this topic in greater depth at my other website, Tech Happy Life. Also, I have written a book about this topic, with my co-author Dr. Jon Lasser, that will be published in August of 2018 by Oxford University Press. It is called Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World.
How will all of these new technologies affect our lives? Do they make us happier or more stressed? Do we get more done…or do we just think we do? Are they addictive? Do they impair or enhance our friendships and relationships? Our sex lives? Our productivity? How do these technologies change who we are? The way that technology affects our lives, sometimes called cyberpsychology, is a strong personal interest for me.
My Interest in Technology
I have always been interested in technology and how it affects our lives. I was entranced by the very first video games…Pong, the Atari 2600, and early arcade games such as Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong. I’ve continued to play video games over the years, and now play (age-appropriate) video games with my three sons (with limits set on the amount they can play and what games). As a graduate student, I was able to turn my passion into a scholarly pursuit – I conducted my dissertation research on the effects of video game violence on children. I also used to work as a usability specialist in the computer world (i.e., studying how to make websites more user-friendly).
Technology inherently is neither good nor bad. It just is. My hope is to use the amazing technology that we have available as a platform to talk about how technology is affecting our lives. We are all on this journey together. Perhaps through this process, we can learn how to better benefit from technology while mitigating some of the negative aspects.