A Note on Happiness and Technology

We have discussed a lot in this class how the internet has rewired our brain, and as a results, we have reduced attention spans as our minds easily wander and lose focus on a single item very quickly.  People jump from link to link on websites, can’t read whole books, and don’t even consider watching youtube videos that are more than ten minutes long.   There is so much material and information constantly grabbing our attention.  On of the biggest impacts this has on us is the way our daily lives are organized and how we go about each day.  In this Ted Talk, Matt Killingsworth, discusses how staying focus may actually lead to people being more content.  In that case, is the Internet and technology like smart phones making us unhappy?

The benefits of technology can not be denied.  It has done things beyond our imagination in science and medicine, and its ability to connect people around the world is incredible.  In fact, it would have been impossible to collect the amount of data that was gathered by Killingsworth as conveniently as it  was without the widespread use of iphones.  However, technology does influence our happiness in some ways.  Just as our education system may have to adjust their ideas of creativity and the way that writing is taught to really engage student as their grow up in the digital world, we should perhaps consider also teaching them skills that we may have never considered teaching before.  Why teach kids or people in general about math, science, and history, when we do not even take the time to teach them how to be happy?  Why are we focused on making them physically strong in gym classes, while neglecting their mental health to such a great degree.  Let us teach students to be aware of how their thoughts and  moment to moment interactions with their environment influence the life that they will live.

It seems that the only time educators are focused on mental health is when students are behaving badly or showing signs of depression.  But, why??? We need to focus on mental health at an early stage or age so that we can work through prevention to reduce bad behavior and depression along with other mental health problems.  So that we when someone does encounter an upsetting event, they will react better to the situation and deal with it properly in a healthy manner.

This is the topic of my independent project: happy and healthy living.  It may be that the use of technology is causing us to be unhappy by making it easier for our brains to constantly be wandering, but technology is here to stay and that much is certain.  Instead of trying to get rid of it or labeling technology as evil, we need to focus how we deal with it at an individual and societal level.

One thought on “A Note on Happiness and Technology

  1. Focusing in an Age of Technology | live healthy live happy

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