Digital Depression in the iPhone Age

Josh Bligh | Staff Writer

 

With the advent of the iPhone 5, users are enjoying more features but are beginning to feel more and more bombarded by the constant stimuli of connectedness.

 

It’s here: the latest edition of the phone that has infiltrated the pockets and purses of the young and aged alike. The iPhone 5. Every year or so, a new model comes out in hopes of making the old obsolete and driving customers to upgrade to another faster and more integrated model — only to be tempted to repeat the process the following year with yet another upgrade.
Yes, the phone is practical for many reasons and the new programs are fun and tantalizing and the ability to connect with anyone at any moment can be useful, but what happens when interconnection becomes a web one gets stuck in? In a society where efficiency, speed, and connectedness are the Holy Trinity of technology, users must take a step back and question whether or not these upgrades are wholly beneficial to their mental well-being. Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern technology and blinding 4GLTE speeds, perhaps users ought to ask, “What effect does this have on me?”
Enter “digital depression.” Digital depression refers to a psychological state characterized mainly by anxiety associated with technological advances in communications. As technology grows, the supposed goal is to make life more convenient and efficient. However, the downside to interconnectedness is that, well, everything is interconnected. For an overworked individual, the office is only as far away as the phone in a user’s palm.
Dan Stamp, the founder and chairman of Priority Management, a 17-year-old training company based in Vancouver, proposed five major symptoms that may point to whether or not someone is on the verge of digital depression.
1. Stressed by accessibility: Anyone can reach anyone at anytime, with any concern, be it minor or life-threatening. A boss can reach an exhausted worker to request extra hours at work. One’s in-laws can send an invite for supper and there will be no excuse to ignore them.
2. Insecurity due to digital Darwinism: This comes into play with the advent of the iPhone 5. As technology gains prowess each year, one begins to feel that his or her device has grown obsolete and will be left behind as the rest of the herd flies around in LTE heaven with their new apps and gadgets.
3. Continuous partial attention: Ever had more than one tab open on your Internet browser? The answer is yes. Multiple venues of information all vie for attention and without one as the clear victor the mind can feel stretched by the multiplicity of stimuli.
4. Victim of device creep: Again related to the iPhone 5. When a new device comes out one feels pressured to buy it not only for fear of being left behind, but simply to augment one’s collection of technological gadgets.
5. Cognitive interruptus: Ever been in the middle of writing a thesis paper, laying down some incredible ideas and then a phone vibrates/rings/jingles and there goes your train of thought? With the connectedness of technology now, there is no way to tell when life’s daily plans or activities can be interrupted or deviated by a call/message/email update.
Yes, technology is awesome and can help with organization and productivity. However, as the semester continues keep an eye out for that feeling of anxiety after updating Facebook, reblogging on Tumbler, checking and responding to emails, sending a mass text, receiving updates on Twitter and leaving a voicemail all within a few minutes. “Digital depression” can strike at any moment.
For further information on “digital depression,” feel free to read this, naturally, digital article: http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/research/allied/2004/communicationConflict/pdf/06.pdf.

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