Hyperconnection: 3 psychological consequences of excessive Internet use

Nobody doubts that The internet has revolutionized the world of interpersonal relationships and other aspects of our daily life: today it is possible to go shopping with just one click from our smartphone, to study in the comfort of our home with our computer and even to receive psychotherapy sessions with a psychologist who is thousands of miles away from us. Thanks to the technological offer, it is possible to work, study, have fun and even meet a couple using the Internet connection.

New technologies have led to a new paradigm of communication, and this has its advantages but also its negative consequences, as the daily lives of millions of people can be absorbed by “hyperconnection”, a term which refers to the way in which people are connected. people are constantly connected to the digital world.

And while the Internet is not to be bad, its misuse can have serious repercussions on the well-being of individuals and even on the identity formation of children and adolescents. What are the risks associated with hyperconnection? How does internet overuse affect our self-esteem and personal exposure? In this article, I will talk about the psychological consequences of excessive internet use.

    The birth of “digital culture”

    Just a few decades ago, we entered a new era with great repercussions for humanity, the so-called “digital age”. Technological advancements, the advent of computers and the Internet connection have changed the whole course of our time. Not long ago, just at the start of the new century, the majority of the Spanish population began to use the Internet. It was when we land in the interconnected worldSomething that has become more visible with the advent of smartphones.

    The interconnected world brings about changes in the relationships between states, businesses and even people. We are not witnessing a time of change, but we are facing a time of change. Some people are born into the analog world and some people are born into the digital world. Anyway, today we all live immersed in the digital revolution and all we are in daily contact with ICT: forums, chats, blogs …

    In this context, our habits, our way of life, our customs and even our language have changed. Our culture is “digital culture”.

    Internet connection and social media overdose: hyperconnection

    Is it bad to be connected to the internet? Of course not. The advent of the Internet has made great progress for our civilization: it gives access to a wealth of information freely and for free, facilitates access to science, culture and leisure, Enables connection with other people from virtually anywhere in the world, facilitates the learning process by providing new educational opportunities, enables new forms of commerce, etc.

    However, many psychologists and educators warn against the harmful use of this phenomenon, and highlight certain risks and negative consequences of excessive Internet use. In the eyes of Alejandro Artopoulos, professor at the School of Education, “hyperconnection can lead to unhealthy effects for many subjects”. In the same vein, my colleague and friend, the psychologist Joan Armando Corbin “, in his article” nomophobia: the increasing dependence on the cell phone “, returns to the influence of smartphones on our mental health and our emotional balance.

    In his text, he provides data from certain surveys on this subject, in particular the study carried out jointly by the United Kingdom’s Office of Post office and the Demoscópico Institute YouGo, which was carried out in 2011. This research focused on on 2,163 subjects, and the results revealed that 53% of cell phone users in this country feel anxious (Similar to what a person may have the day before their wedding) if their cell phone runs out of battery, breaks or is lost. Additionally, 55% of subjects said they “felt isolated” when they did not have a cell phone. Experts claim that these symptoms are characteristic of nomophobia or cell phone addiction.

      Risks of hyperconnection

      New technologies offer us new forms of relationship and communication and give us access to information in record time. But what are the risks of hyperconnection?

      Psychologists have identified some negative consequences associated with excessive internet use.

      1. Concerning the type and access to information

      Access to information or knowledge is one of the great advantages of using the Internet; however, over-information of any kind can generate stress and have functional consequences, as explained in this article: “Poisoning: how to fight against information excess”.

      It should also be noted that ICT is a source of education in values ​​and that not all the information we receive through this medium is of high quality. In this sense, the educational community takes time make efforts to try to minimize the impact of new technologies in the education of children and young people. Minors have a lot of information of all kinds (violent content, pornography, etc.), without any control. Being hyperconnected, yes, can be psychologically exhausting and can be a problem if we don’t educate the little ones on the use of new technology. It is not that new technologies are harmful, but their misuse can have consequences for the well-being of people.

      2. Regarding personal relationships

      It can be argued that the Internet promotes many interpersonal relationships and brings it closer to many people who would otherwise have little contact with other people. However, hyperconnection also promotes the creation of weak bonds between many people, superficial and liquid bonds, which can cause great discomfort and a feeling of emptiness. In the article “3 Ways Social Media Destroys Our Relationships,” you can find examples of this phenomenon.

      In the case of relationships, infidelities and breakups have increased due to hyperconnection to social media. Outraged, Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp can cause many conflicts and misinterpretations in couple relationships as evidenced by some research.

      According to a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology & Behavior, it is possible that Facebook acts as a driver of couple conflict and episodes of jealousy.

      3. Regarding the creation of identity and self-esteem

      One of the major changes that have occurred in recent years due to Internet access concerns interpersonal relationships, as I explained in the previous point. And is it that, especially in adolescence, the contact with friendships has a great implication in the formation of the identity.

      In a showcase like social networks, which expose a fictitious image of oneself and others, and which favor a society where the virtual merges with reality, it is easy for insecurity and poor self-image to appear in those ages., Which may crawl for the rest of your life. Identity formation is linked to personality, and during these years it is essential to build a healthy identity and a resilient personality.

      In fact, when using social media, it’s common to think that other people’s lives are more interesting than ours, which has a significant impact on our self-esteem. This is called FOMO syndrome (fear of missing something) or fear of losing something.

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