Technology mania

Coming to terms with the widespread internet addiction surrounding our lives

Mihir Vishwarupe

Megha Mummaneni

In this day and age, we are constantly immersed in the internet and the seemingly endless posts on social media. It’s something that most of us have come to terms with, and we often embrace the amount of information we see by making it a part of our daily routine.

In a survey by OpenText this year, 80% of Americans feel the overload of information has contributed to daily stress in their lives due to numerous notifications, images, colorful posts and the number of links that fill up their screens. With the growing reliance on the internet for information, this number will likely increase, with millions of people overloaded with resources that don’t seem to slow down. As a result, there is a correlation between increased stress levels in individuals, as 56% of Americans reported that they feel overwhelmed from keeping up with all the information they feel they need to keep track of.

This is no surprise, considering that this January, 4.95 billion people used the internet, with the web containing 2.25 billion pages — showing a high probability that this number will increase with rising internet usage.

As a result, 47% of Americans said they feel addicted to their phones. A major proponent of information overload is the fact that across the nation, millions of people are glued to their devices more often than before — from checking emails to scrolling through social media for hours on end. The hundreds of notifications that pop up on our lock screens reel us into the realm of numerous apps and websites while diminishing our ability to judge when we should stop screen time. This causes us to be ignorant of the actual validity of our beliefs and instead causes us to absorb millions of informational sources on devices that surround us daily.

The addiction of technology is also reflected here, as 64% of MVHS students consider themselves addicted to technology, based on a survey of 159 people. As posts on social media flood students’ feeds, it becomes more difficult to put down the phone that captivates students’ eyes for hours on end.

Moreover, because MVHS is in the heart of Silicon Valley, we live largely centered around the fast growing field of technology. The fast-paced world of social media and the internet provides us with many opportunities to socialize with each other virtually, in addition to having easy access to education, entertainment and communication. You can argue, therefore, that our generation is gifted with the immense amount of information we can have.

However, the disadvantages of an overload of internet information far outweighs the advantages that it provides us. For instance, while our generation may have the same levels of education and extracurriculars that previous generations had, our generation has to deal with the repetitive actions of checking social media and staring at hundreds of notifications that pop up on our lock screens in addition to preexisting school and extracurricular work. Nevertheless, numerous adults — such as MVHS parents — wonder why our generation is bombarded with so much stress, especially because our lives contain a similar amount of academic stress as previous generations. However, their inability to realize that our lives have the added pressure of technology saturation in addition to the normal academic stress we face, leads to higher levels of stress unlike previous generations that had more free time without the use of so much technology.

But what can we do about this endless plethora of information? Well, we certainly cannot stop it, given that roughly one million dollars are spent on internet resources each minute. However, we can make a positive change into our own lives by using specific methods to declutter our technology-filled lives, and understanding that we cannot absorb everything we see on the internet. Until we realize that the internet will always be surrounding our lives on a daily basis, we will not be able to come out of our “technology bubble,” trapped in an endless loop of using devices for hours on end. Therefore, it’s important to turn off notifications for some time and set aside our devices for some time, taking a breath of fresh air and doing something that we enjoy for ourselves such as exercising, without letting the cyber world take a hold of our lives.

At the end of the day, the internet will always be filled with stuff that we have no control over – but knowing what the limit is of how much we can handle will help us simplify our lives and reduce the amount of chaos and disorder that internet addiction surrounds us with.