I got my first email address in college in the nineties and had to log into a black and green Unix network on a clunky laptop in order to access it.
Flash forward more than twenty years and now I feel utterly naked without my smartphone and daily, if mildly annoying, notifications from family, friends, and the small collection of apps I have an oddly intimate relationship with.
As a psychologist, I’m all too aware of the emerging and sobering body of psychological literature showing the serious and quantifiable emotional downsides to all this screen time, video gaming, Netflix-bingeing, and social media scrolling. When I read that higher levels of self-reported unhappiness and depressive symptoms are not merely correlated with more hours in front of the screen but are actually caused by more time in front of a screen it gives me pause.
When does our enthusiasm for convenience, entertainment, and distraction become too much?
It’s not just unhappy, lonely people who use social media more — more social media use actually causes us to feel crappier about ourselves.
A report this year from the Pew Research Center…