Is Technology Causing Anxiety?

My son is a worrier. It is not debilitating and seldom prevents him from doing things, but the anxiety is present. He asks a million questions and can be known to perseverate on certain things. He will often ask us “What if…” questions and his mind is always on. A few months ago, he said something that really stopped me in my tracks. We have always grimaced at the words “I’m bored” and basically said that only boring people get bored. We would make lists of all of the different things he could do and encourage him to develop new interests and hobbies. The trouble with Shay is that he has always focussed on one or two interests at a time, and has zero interest in pursuing anything else.  His current passions are Minecraft and hockey. When he is unable to play either of these two things, the result is often “I’m bored.”  These words triggered a conversation between Shay and I that left me feeling quite “yucky”.  I was explaining to him how important it is to have time when there is “nothing to do” and to learn how to handle boredom. His response was this….Shay said that he doesn’t like being bored because that is when he has time to think and his worries start, as long as he’s busy he doesn’t worry.  I was not only surprised by what he said, but also that a 9-year-old could even make that connection.

I have a total love/hate relationship with technology. I don’t text and rarely use my cell phone, but I do blog and use the computer regularly. I love how it has made my job and life simpler in so many ways, but I hate what it is doing to the children of today. As a kindergarten teacher, I have a “bird’s-eye view” of the disintegrating language and fine motor skills of our pre-schoolers and it is alarming. In my own house, we try to monitor the use of the computer, iPods and video games, but it is a huge and often overwhelming task. It is a constant battle and despite our efforts, we too seem to be raising technology dependent children.

This quick video really helps explain how technology is impacting society and really makes me wonder how strong of a link there is between technology and anxiety disorders.

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

After seeing this video and the impact that social media is having on loneliness, I decided to see what the experts were saying about anxiety and technology in general. There seems to be plenty written on the addiction to social media and how that affects people, but in my son’s case it seems to be more about distraction and keeping his mind occupied. Are we creating a generation that are uncomfortable with simply being themselves? I think as parents, we need to be super aware and diligent and keep the lines of communication open, so that we know not only what our children are doing, but how they are feeling.  How sad to think that video games, iPods, computers and cell phones are replacing the personal connections and relationships that are the true foundation of life. If children are constantly being entertained, there is little room for creativity, problem solving and reflective thinking. As a result, they grow-up not knowing how to handle “alone time” and despite the hundreds of friends on their social media sites, our children are left feeling lonely. I think this video really “hits the nail on the head” and that these issues are reaching epidemic proportions. The scary part is that is unlike protecting your child from drugs and alcohol, technology is permeating every generation and society has become so dependent on it that there really is no way to avoid it. It is no longer the wave of the future, but rather life as we know it.  We need to learn how to adapt and ride this wave in order to help our children thrive and cope in this technologically advanced world we live in.

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About Cindy RoyI am a busy mother, wife and kindergarten teacher. I have a huge list of loves! I love my family, Springs Church, old houses, "up-cycling" and DIY projects, scrapbooking, volleyball, interior design, cake decorating, party planning, healthy eating, and sleeping. I am very organized and reflective, and am continually striving to do life more lovingly, passionately, effectively and successfully.

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  1. Pingback: Back to School Worries: Tips on How to Deal with Childhood Anxiety | Cindy Roy

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