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Is Technology the Cause of Depression and Anxiety in the Current Generation?

The answer may be yes according to a study. Conventional wisdom also says yes. However, there is no causal data — no definitive proof. In other words, the studies are inconclusive.

The studies we have so far on the relationship between digital technology use and mental health — for both teens and adults — are more than inconclusive. “The literature is a wreck,” said Anthony Wagner, chair of the psychology department at Stanford University. “Is there anything that tells us there’s a causal link? That our media use behavior is actually altering our cognition and underlying neurological function or neurobiological processes? The answer is we have no idea. There’s no data.”
Several researchers I spoke to — even those who believe the links between digital technology use and mental health problems are overhyped — all think this is an important question worth studying, and gathering conclusive evidence on.
If technology plays any small part in the rise in teen anxiety, depression, and suicide, we ought to know for sure. And if the ubiquity of digital devices is somehow remolding human psychology — in the ways our brains develop, deal with stress, remember, pay attention, and make decisions — we ought to know that too.

This begs the question: How do we find more conclusive answers? The answer is, in simple terms, by asking better, more specific questions.

(Image Credit: Tero Vesalainen/ Pixabay)


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Your argument fails to take in two things: (1) The pace of today's change. In the past major technological change sometimes took generations to fully penetrate society. Think horse and buggy to car and compare that to an iPad. (2) Prior to the 2000's nearly all change was "analog to analog" in that it required human interaction and face time. Now we've progressed from analog to digital and then from digital to digital. No more human interaction required. We're now at the point where many either no longer even want human interaction or don't even know how to it.
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No. Depression and Anxiety always existed. There's two factors here:1.) When you have 7.6 billion humans, everything becomes more visible. Whether it's autism or depression or people who like taco bell. Everything scales. Water is just as abundant on Earth as technology is. Humans interact with water and technology. No one is blaming water for depression. Also technology started with rocks and sticks and mud. Did mud cause depression? 2.)Life is self-evident. If people weren't first susceptible to things like alcohol, depression, technology, etc. - they would never engage with it. Technology didn't give organisms addictive personalities or aggressive egos. It only gave us what we were already wanting.Humans love simple theories in the same way they love doritos and coca cola. It's cheap, it tastes good, and requires no self reflection.
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