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Brandon Heim
Writing 101
Professor Green
August 3, 2022
Does Technology make us lonelier?
In a 2019 survey, smartphone users make up most of the world population and use it
for everyday practices such as; banking, shopping, messaging, social media use and check
their phone up to 150 times a day equaling 3 hours a day (National Institute of Health).
Information and technology is rapidly evolving into different sectors of everyday lives that are
effecting the public negatively involving mental health. While there are negatives to heavy
use of communication technology and other advancing technology, there are more positive
effects happening that are helping deter people from isolation and improve mental health.
Mental health counselors implement many tools when it comes to different array of
people, one being technology. “Counselors even may find that digital platforms allow the
development of deeper working relationships with clients, particularly younger clients who
are used to utilizing technology on a daily basis” (“How does Technology affect mental
health”). Being able to successfully connect with a patient has been possible for mental health
workers as people who struggle verbalizing thoughts and for the new generations that are
more skilled in that communication medium. If isolation occurs due to the lack of
communication, having access to health counselors will help, without it being a full substitute
for face to face counseling. Having mental health professionals support tools for people in a
time of need where they are not able to wait till their next weekly session to communicate
their thoughts, is important and is a heavy concern to better oneself and the community.
It is important that the public categorizes communications technology as a tool and not
just for instant messaging and entertainment escape, as it can be both helpful and dangerous.
By reminding and reinforcing the public use their phone for mental check-ups via
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communicating with a therapist or other applications like breathing meditation, society will
progress for the better as mental self-care becomes more normalized. A study was conducted
in South Korea where mental health mobile apps were distributed to working adults and
showed that access to these medical resources was helpful since users were freely able to
receive services without space or time being a restraint (National institute of Health). Most
mobile apps that are used for mental health are categorized in 4 groups; cognitive behavioral
therapy (CBT), mood monitoring, mindful training, and cognitive skills training to treat
depressive symptoms. Research shows that smartphone-based counseling and therapy give the
best aid to people with moderate depression (Chandrashekar).
According to Cambridge university, the most prominent force of someone driving
themselves into isolation is due to health degradation. As people grow older and age, more
health complications are prone and drive the main focus of peoples live, not b eing able to
participate in social and leisure activities. The importance of social networking is important
for humans, as humans are social creatures and thrive off bouncing ideas and stories from one
another. The older population is more prone to this isolation and connections can be improved
with digital technology (Wilson, Carolyn). Recent studies show that internet access for older
population drives confidence and a sense of belonging, since they are feeling that they are
being involved in current matters when alone. Technology use and the older population have
always had a strong correlation such as with devices like heart and sugar level monitors for
physical health, and devices like electric scooters that give freedom and autonomy. Mobile
applications for mental health should be viewed long these categories as they are tools to help
better everyday lives, especially in the older population who drive faster into isolation due to
being disconnected from society.
In the last 10 years there has been a major spike in the rates of depression, anxiety and
self-harm in both the United Kingdom and United States in adolescents. Social media being
the fore-front of that suspected drive of rates (“Scrutinizing the Effects of Digital Technology
on Mental Health”). Digital media and screen time in general are not directly linked to mental
health decline but social media is, as users are always seeing what their companions are doing
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and tend to put themselves in a “missing out” feeling, comparing body features with
unrealistic standards, and constantly engaging with peers which leads to higher chances of
conflict. Social media is introduced to users a younger age as the years go by, constructing
false narratives in minds of youth around the country and world. Although there are negative
impacts from social media usage, the consumption of it will be viewed the same as sugar
consumption. Low levels and moderations are okay, but excessive use will lead to negative
health.
Digital technology is not the only aid when it comes to the tech sector tackling mental
health issues, robotic technology is also emerging. Robotic technology is helping people with
cognitive impairments to provide companionship such as people with autism and dementia.
Socially assistive robots (SAR) are becoming more promising for dementia and other mental
health complications. Robotic companionship has shown improvement in different cognitive
engagements such as lower stress, improving communication and overall remerging with
other peers, helping deter from isolation (Lima, Maria R.). This type of companionship could
become more prominent as viral pandemics have caused lockdowns, making people isolate
without a choice and become lonely. When it comes to robotic technology, it is a wide array
of physical and even digital forms to help stop loneliness such as, robotic animals with limited
needs to help patients with dementia. Digital robotic interfaces are also prominent to help
older generations with neurotic simulation to help keep minds healthy and apply themselves
into the community for social networking and leisure.
By acknowledging that technology is a tool that can be used for mental health, Society
will realize that there are more benefits with technology preventing loneliness. Most
technology is still in its early stages, as time goes on there must be more regulated and that
tools be placed to help society navigate in healthy manner. While there are negatives to heavy
use of communication technology and other advancing technology, there are more positive
effects happening that are helping deter people from isolation and improve mental health
overall in society.
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Work Citied
Chandrashekar, Pooja. “Do Mental Health Mobile Apps Work: Evidence and
Recommendations for Designing High-Efficacy Mental Health Mobile
Apps.” MHealth, vol. 4, no. 6, Mar. 2018, pp. 6–6,
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5897664/, 10.21037/mhealth.2018.03.02.
Hwang, Won Ju, and Hyun Hee Jo. “Development and Effects of Cognitive Behavior-Based
Healing Programs Using Mobile Apps.” International Journal of Environmental
Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 7, 24 Mar. 2021, p. 3334,
10.3390/ijerph18073334. Accessed 26 Sept. 2021.
WILSON, CAROLYN. “Is It Love or Loneliness? Exploring the Impact of Everyday Digital
Technology Use on the Wellbeing of Older Adults.” Ageing and Society, vol. 38, no. 7,
20 Mar. 2017, pp. 1307–1331, 10.1017/s0144686x16001537.
Lima, Maria R et al. “Robotic Telemedicine for Mental Health: A Multimodal Approach to
Improve Human-Robot Engagement.” Frontiers in robotics and AI vol. 8 618866. 18
Mar. 2021, doi:10.3389/frobt.2021.618866
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Haidt, Jonathan, and Nick Allen. “Scrutinizing the Effects of Digital Technology on Mental
Health.” Nature, vol. 578, no. 7794, 10 Feb. 2020, pp. 226–227,
www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00296-x, 10.1038/d41586-020-00296-x.
Bradley University. (2018, June 15). How Does Technology Affect Mental Health? Bradley
University Online. https://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/blog/how-does-technology-affectmental-health/

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