The dark side, Unfortunately, most of us can identify with at least one of the following habits or behaviors:
“Just browsing” Wikipedia and stumbling upon things we didn’t realize we needed to be worried about
Watching disturbing viral videos because they appear in our news feeds
Consulting WebMD for a headache and convincing ourselves that we have a rare illness
Checking the locations of our loved ones and wondering if they’re up to no good (They’re at the pharmacy? Buying what? To use with whom?)
Checking the locations of our loved ones and wondering why they aren’t moving on the highway (has there been an accident?)
Wondering if that random spike in heart rate while we were sleeping (thanks, Apple Watch) is a warning sign
Tracking everything that can be tracked
Someone isn’t answering our texts. Are they okay? It’s been, like, three hours.
Checking emails before bed, when years ago we’d have to wait until we got back into the office to see if we had any memos
Calling and texting our loved ones at work. Remember when we had to call their office, say there was an emergency, and ask their supervisor if they were available?
The dark side of Technology has fundamentally changed the way that we seek, receive, and process information.
Our treadmills let us know that we haven’t burned enough calories, so now we have to go for an extra 19 minutes or we’ll have to skip lunch. 437 calories aren’t enough. It has to be at least 500. We trust these metrics more than we trust how our clothes fit or how our bodies look.
We have been conditioned to collect, track, and obsess over data regarding our personal health and wellness to the point that it’s difficult to actually be well anymore.
It even stretches into our religious practices, for those who practice, and contributes to our spiritual fears. Did we break our fast a minute too early by accident? Back in the day, the fast was broken at sunset — but now we can time the sunset with such precision that we assume God is judging us using the same strict metrics.
We’ve become numb to disturbing web content. Graphic videos — including extremely triggering videos — go viral and show up on our news feeds on autoplay. No matter how sick we feel, we sometimes watch them more than once. We’ve have been conditioned to watch things that we don’t even want to watch and wouldn’t have sought out on our own. It’s hard to be well when this happens again and again.
On one hand, The dark side of technology can open our eyes to the world around us — but on the other hand, I didn’t need to see that video of a child bleeding out on the floor in order to believe that it happened. I didn’t need to watch the first-person perspective video from the New Zealand mosque shooting in order to understand the severity of that situation. I didn’t ask to receive this content, but I did. I used to make light of trigger warnings, but now I understand them.
See how quickly this escalated?
This is one of the real reasons I canceled my home internet.
It’s also the reason I’ve pretty much accepted that my anxiety cannot be cured. No amount of deep breathing, meditation, or trigger elimination can take it away.