Technology has a huge influence on personal identity and health. In fact, its use has changed the way people relate and communicate. Although technology was meant to positively impact life, it has taken a toll on identity since people can no longer express their ideals with confidence (Tubella 257). Identity is who we are and how we see ourselves. Everyone is unique in character, personality and perception hence the vital role that identity plays in the different paths we take in life. However, technology use distorts this identity by making people believe in what they are not. Identity entails the entire knowledge and comprehension of oneself as attitudes, capabilities, personalities, relationship and intellectual attributes develop (Vidalis & Angelopoulou 18). In addition, the excessive use of technology has an impact on health owing to eye and neck strain, physical inactivity and sleep disorders. Technology is definitely stealing our identities while posing major health risks when overused.
Identity arises from the ability to acknowledge oneself regardless of the weaknesses. It is important to evaluate feelings, behavior and thoughts on the basis of current needs, future goals and past experience. As human beings, we have a social life that is an essential part of our development and is dictated by our cultural and social context (Lee, Jintae & Zoonky 63). As a result, the feedback from the social world plays an integral role in shaping our identity. Technology defines the social world hence manipulating individual identity depending on its perceived value. The social world has expanded noticeably in recent times in terms of friends, families, schools and neighborhoods due to the emergence of social media and the Internet. Today, it is possible to notice the influence of external forces on our identities in comparison to past generations (Vidalis et al. 16). These social influences are accelerated by technology that shapes our self identities in the least ways we expect.
Technology is a popular culture today since we no longer reflect the identities we had in the beginning. It does not give us feedback regarding how our identities are grounded based on the reality we live. Instead, technology gives us an image of what it expects us to be hence tapping into our basic need to make use feel good, attractive and accepted. Technology has also changed our beliefs about who we are such that it draws comparisons from aspects that are likely to influence our character and wellbeing (Lee et al. 69). The issue today is how our identities are dictated by technology for its own interests rather than our own. The younger generation is immersed in popular media and cultures hence a distortion of their identity to yield an inaccurate reflection of who they really are.
Technology has enhanced the evolution of social media, which today has a great influence on how we see ourselves. Most people are subscribed to social media channels to build their social life which steals their self-identity. Moreover, social media causes a shift away from expressing oneself to constructing images just to impress others (Vidalis et al. 19). In this era of technology, people are more focused on how others will see them and what they can improve to make others love them. All these are stealing our identity and making us unable to account for who we really are. Social media makes people work towards acceptance, status, self-esteem and popularity. By posting or commenting on social media, it already has an impact on identity because viewers will have different views about that subject. As a result, self-awareness and self expression enhance self promotion and impression management on social media (Lee et al. 72). Since most social media users are focused on showing others who they are, their identity is stolen because they want to belong where they do not fit. In fact, social media has completely erased the public and private thus making identity a means of status and acceptance.
Today, people access social media using different devices such as smartphones and laptops. This makes it easier to get a view of the world in some remote location. The access to social media influences what is seen as fashionable and sumptuous. In fact, a click or a swipe is enough to keep one informed of the latest fashion trends. By relying on celebrity styles to be fashionable, one’s identity is stolen because it is not who they are (Vidalis et al. 17). Although technology is meant to improve our social and cultural lives, it is necessary to focus on that which depicts your inner self. Moreover, being self-aware deters posts on Instagram and other social media channels from influencing how one needs to dress which helps to retain identity.
Technology overuse has become a common vice in the world today. Most people sleep next to mobile devices and wake up just to check an email or feedback. This has a considerable impact on health due to the irresponsibility in using digital devices. Technology should be used for the benefit of others while being conscious about its impact on health (Repacholi 327). Its overuse causes eyestrain arising from gazing at the screen of a laptop, phone or tablet for extended periods of time. In so doing, one cannot blink hence the tears that protect the eyes evaporate without getting replaced. Additionally, smaller fonts in smartphones and tablets are difficult to read, which intensifies eyestrain (Murphy 45). Prolonged gazing of the screen causes headaches, itching, pain in the shoulders and neck thus making focus a challenge. Eyestrain clearly causes discomfort hence the need to take a break in order to blink more.
The overuse of technology results in sleep disorders (Murphy 52). Most people love their devices and will not move an inch from them even when it is time to sleep. In fact, a majority of them sleep with their phones next to the bed so that they do not miss a thing. This may seem a harmless habit but the use of technology late at night interferes with the sleeping ability. There is a clear link between sleeping disorders and cell phone use as most people do not get enough sleep (Murphy 47). The exposure of artificial light between dusk and bedtime at night prevents the release of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone which makes one alert due to shifts in circadian rhythms. Most people sit for long hours staring at and scrolling their phones and other portable devices hence physical inactivity (Repacholi 330). The drop in fitness levels lowers cardiorespiratory test scores. Instead of consciously browsing and searching for fashion trends and other things of interest on social media, install fitness apps in the phone to help make exercising a routine.
Technology surely adds limitless value to our lives especially if we are mindful of its use. Being responsible users helps us keep our identity while remaining healthy. As technology keeps evolving and finding its way in every aspect of our lives, we have control over it and can choose to avoid its theft of our identity. We ought to be aware of who we are and the values we stand for so that technology does not take advantage of our naivety to annihilate our social and cultural lives.