We have all heard the advantages to using technology, both in and out of the classroom or on and off the job, but what about the downside? Research studies show that overusing technology can go either way. It can help but it can also hurt.
Below are some disadvantages that may arise from over-using technology.
Identity theft – having access to information is a good thing, but sensitive information in the wrong hands can have devastating consequences. With the amount of information being exchanged via the internet the chances of someone stealing your identity and costing you time and money are increasing every day.
Cybercrime – we’ve all read the headlines about people committing suicide because of Facebook bullying or murders being carried out from a Craigslist advertisement. The anonymity the internet provides can have serious consequences for unsuspecting victims who fall prey to criminals looking for their next target.
Law enforcement divisions at the municipal, state and federal levels all have divisions and task forces dedicated to cybercrime activities such as identity theft, cyber stalking, illegal gambling, prostitution, child abuse and pornography.
Social Problems – many experts believe the internet has caused an increase or even created new social problems. Treatment centers all over the world are seeing people for internet addiction, pornography addiction, on-line gambling addiction, video game addiction, and even social media addiction. These problems did not exist 30 years ago.
Behaviors that people may not carry out in society can be carried out in the comfort and privacy of the home without thoughts of negative consequences such as getting caught, losing your job, weakening a relationship, or even breaking a law.
Internet Addiction – internet addiction is a fairly new phenomenon. There are varying views on the subject but most experts agree that internet usage turns to addiction when the usage causes negative consequences in the user’s life.
Anonymity and Dysfunction
In a study published in CyberPsychology & Behavior qualitative analysis indicated a leading cause of compulsive use of the internet was the anonymity of electronic transactions. Specifically, anonymity was associated with four general areas of dysfunction:
Encouraged deviant, deceptive, and even criminal acts such as viewing and downloading obscene images (e.g., pedophilia, urination, or bondage fantasies) or illegal images such as child pornography.
Provided a virtual context that allowed overly shy or insecure individuals to interact in a socially secure environment.
Facilitated cyber-affairs and extramarital relationships that negatively impacted marital or family stability leading to separation and divorce.
The ability to develop alternative personas, dependent upon a user’s mood, desires and served as a psychological escape because of the fantasy nature found in the on-line environment.
There are definite disadvantages in over-using technology. The rate at which people are using technology in their everyday lives is skyrocketing, with no decline in sight. Unfortunately there will always be those who lead a seedy lifestyle and prefer to use technology for ill-will, but for every person who misuses technology there are those who use it to their advantage and benefit.