Technology for well-being
There’s been a lot of negative press recently about cyberbullying and our lack of privacy online. It can be easy to forget the positive aspects of technology, and all the good it also brings to people.
While no-one is going to accept that cyberbullying, trolling or exposure to harmful online content is OK: it’s also worth focusing on what the internet does give us.
People who are geographically isolated or feel different to everyone around them can find friendship and support online. Knowing other people experience things similarly to you, being able to connect with like-minded people and ask advice or swap ideas all help to stop people feeling alone.
While we should be aware of measures needed to stay safe online, we shouldn’t ignore the strength internet support can bring.
Greater access to knowledge can broaden our horizons and make us more educated and maybe (in an ideal world) more tolerant. It can give people strength to deal with things going on in their lives.
Remember the old saying – knowledge is power? Whether you want to cook the perfect omelette, or are are concerned about something like your mental health, the information you need is often literally at your fingertips.
While online ‘trolls’ are unpleasant, there are also a lot of people engaged in online communities who don’t tolerate ‘trolling’ or inappropriate posts. Often, other users self-regulate conversations, and will support someone being picked on. An example of this could be seen earlier this year when Twitter faced outrage after one of its users was threatened.
Negative comments can seem to have more of an emotional impact than positive comments. It’s human nature to hone in on the negative. However it’s possible to limit your exposure to the more troublesome aspects to being online, and there are usually ways to report unsociable behaviour on websites.
There always were communities, bullies, shared information and means of education etc. The internet is just an evolution of how many of us communicate.
If there’s one truth, it’s that nothing is static. Change is constant. Living part of our lives online is a fact of life for a lot of people. Trying to keep up with or navigate the change does have its challenges, but nothing is black and white.
ReachOut.com is having a technology for well-being conference on Wednesday and Thursday this week. We’ll be further discussing how the internet and technology impacts our well-being and mental health.