As our relationship with technology evolves, psychologists are noting a significant correlation between excessive use of devices and psychiatric signs of loneliness, depression and anxiety. On a fundamental level, smartphones are affecting our ability to just, be.
Rather then sitting alone with our thoughts, most of us would much prefer to refresh our email (again and again), or scroll through the Instagram feeds of people who's lives are seemingly more exciting. Studies show that despite being connected to thousands of people through our digital networks, these relationships are failing to have the same positive psychological impact as connecting with another person authentically offline.
The Fantasy Of The Smartphone
- They give us the illusion we have complete control over where we direct our attention.
- They make us feel like we can be heard, because we can broadcast our thoughts.
- They promise a life where we will never be lonely, because we will always be connected to 'friends'.
In reality, it's clear that if everyone is broadcasting thoughts in a blanketed, un-targeted manner, then there's no way everyone can possibly be heard. In fact, it's this digital noise, as well as the sheer quantity of un-curated online 'friends' we have, that is driving what's now know as The Innovation of Loneliness.
If Turkle's arguments hold true, then our emotional attachment to our devices is completely irrational, since the very reasons we require the safety blanket of the smartphone are being worsened by the smartphone itself.