The role of ICTs in our current society: how to use them well?

Any large-scale technological transformation has an effect on society. The clearest example of this we have in the invention of the tools and techniques of cultivation and breeding, which took our species from the stage of hunter-gatherer to another in which it began to appear. Cities and, in general, the seed of civilization.

But not all such major transformations took place thousands of years ago, when virtually everything had to be invented. In recent years, inventions have appeared that have completely introduced us to a new paradigm: ICT.

In this article we will see what ICTs are, what impact they have had on society at a psychological level and how to put them to good use so that they make our life easier instead of complicating it.

    What is ICT?

    The acronym ICT refers to information and communication technologiesOne of the most important elements in the development of mankind in recent decades, responsible in large part for the kind of productive and social changes we have seen since the mid-twentieth century.

    If, until recently, these new technologies were only used directly by a privileged few, they now have hundreds of thousands of users in practically all countries and their use is massive. Electronic devices like smartphones are commonly used products even in the most modest families and we are all, for better or for worse, influenced by what is happening in this virtual reality that is the Internet, the network of networks.

    And if anything ICTs have demonstrated, it is their ability to go beyond the functions for which they were designed. The early developers of ARPANet couldn’t imagine that decades later its creation would be used for anyone to post videos with a potential audience of millions of viewers, order food from home, or flirt, among other things.

    How have new technologies changed us?

    These are some of the aspects in which the emergence of ICT in our lives has transformed society.

    1. Experience of life in the global village

    The term Global Village is used to refer to the phenomenon of perception as upcoming events that may have actually happened on the other side of the planet. With ICT, geographic boundaries are blurred, for better or for worse, And social phenomena such as modes or waves of mobilization spread in a few hours.

    2. Emergence of teleworking

    It is more and more common to work from home. In many ways, teamwork should no longer be synonymous with being in an office and, therefore, the line between professional and personal life is increasingly blurred.

    3. Social media fever

    There is a kind of competition to see who gets the most attention across social media; in fact, there are even companies that invest money to gain followers in them for the simple matter of branding, and not to increase their sales in the short or medium term.

    Something similar happens to people of flesh and blood: it rewards those who adopt a more marketable public profile, closer to that of a company. And by imitation, the concept of “personal branding” is gaining strength even for those who have no intention of making money from their internet presence.

    4. FOMO syndrome occurs

    FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) syndrome leads hundreds of thousands of people to be constantly on the lookout for their cell phones and computers because the thought of missing out on the news causes them significant discomfort. It is one of the mechanisms that produce dependence on new technologies. Which brings us to the next point.

      5. Emergence of new addictions

      With the development of ICT, new forms of dependency have emerged, and they also started with one of the most vulnerable demographic groups: young people. Behavioral patterns like spending many hours at a stretch playing online video games or not being able to have dinner without looking at the cell phone screen are some of the warning signs, in case you are part of the person’s daily life.

      6. Cyber ​​activism

      Many people spend hours arguing with strangers on the internet, Which is seen as a struggle sometimes of a purely political nature, a kind of militancy.

      This can cause people to experience anger on a regular basis, from getting used to being exposed to virtual platforms where there are people who think in a radically different way from themselves.

      How to take advantage of ICT?

      Here are some practical tips to keep in mind to make good use of these technological tools.

      1. Establish very clear schedules

      Losing track of time using social media, watching internet videos, or playing video games is a normal thing these days.

      Confronted with this, it is necessary to do everything possible to lead a lifestyle in which there is some discipline about what to do at all times. If you make a schedule and put it somewhere you usually see it, this simple item will make things easier for you, acting as a constant reminder.

      2. Learn to hide what tempts you at key times

      One of the hallmarks of ICT-related electronic devices is that they are designed to constantly grab our attention, which can lead to us being unproductive.

      Therefore, make sure that the places where you usually spend the most time devote yourself to tasks that require diligence and attention. these distractions are beyond your reach. For example, before entering your study room, leave your smartphone in another room and put on a wristwatch so you don’t have to check the time.

      3. Leverage the potential of social media to make friends

      Instead of arguing with strangers, chat and talk with people who have similar interests or hobbies to what you enjoy. It can help you build meaningful friendships beyond the screens.

      4. Contrast information

      In the age of ICT, there is more information than ever, but also more “intoxication” where erroneous data, invented news, etc. To really learn, and not just absorb content of any quality, use multiple sources and never give up on critical thinking.

      5. Work on your self-esteem

      Constant exposure to the world of social media teeming with influencers with seemingly enviable lives can be a blow to self-esteem. The point is that these people they are renowned precisely for knowing how to manage their public appearances very well, filtering all negative information about themselves and preventing them from accessing general knowledge.

      Practice self-observation to make sure that irrational thoughts based on these misleading comparisons don’t affect you too much. For example, keep a journal.

      Do you want to benefit from psychological support in the use of new technologies?

      As we have seen, the use of ICT produces a significant level of discomfort in some people. Fortunately, in the face of this, it is possible to count on professional help from psychologists. And we are many psychotherapy professionals with up-to-date training in the new times and we have experience in “training” our patients in the proper use of these technological resources.

      If you want to gain autonomy and well-being when using your smartphone, computer or similar electronic device, please contact us. Fr the center of psychology PsicoTools we can offer you an intervention program adapted to your needs, your personal characteristics and your style of use of ICT. On this page you can see more information about us as well as our contact details.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bimber, B. (1998). Internet and political transformation: populism, community and accelerated pluralism. Political regime. 31 (1): pages 133 to 160.
      • Cantoni, L. and Danowski, JA (eds.). (2015). Communication and technology. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
      • Gómez Mena, C. (2015). Internet addiction can destroy social relationships, warns a specialist. The day. Society and justice: Grup Donem, Desenvolupament de Mitjans, SA de CV p. 30.
      • Hilbert, M. (2016). The bad news is that the digital access division is here to stay: nationally installed bandwidths between 172 countries during the period 1986-2014. Telecommunications policy. 40 (6): pages 567 to 581.

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