The virtual is slowly but surely becoming the reality. Social media has certainly given us better and more efficient communication tools, but has also altered our personalities. In our cover feature for this issue, psychologist Lea Hannouch discusses how the Internet makes users more confident and efficient with their virtual lives, but also more aggressive and impulsive.
The quick pace of tech has also caused a psychological shock that has led to several disorders such as the Phantom Ringing Syndrome, Nomophobia, Cybersickness, The Google Effect, Cyberchondria, Sleep Texting, among others. Additionally, our health has taken a hit due to the increased stress and fear levels, addiction to screens, attention deficit, and even depression.
And as if that was not enough, our concept of relationships has been altered, too. Becoming “friends” with hundreds or thousands of people is now as simple as hitting a button. Just managing these relationships can be a nightmare. Relationships have become globalized, and catching up with what your friends and acquaintances are up to can take up all your time. Even romance and sex are now regarded differently. Through “sexting” and video-chatting, long-distance relationships are easier than ever.
More and more, social media has also changed the way we go out, with the constant urge to check-into places in location-based apps to show our friends where we are or brag about where we hang out. The need to Instagram our meals to express how “cool” and healthy we are while having a “Quinoa tabbouleh” seems to have become a vital activity.
Times have certainly changed. This issue is dedicated to the impact of this change on our mental and psychological well-being, in an attempt to spread awareness about the sometimes unnoticeable transformations that we are undergoing as individuals and as a society due to the rapid technological advancements.
A version of this article appeared as my editorial for the Cloud961 Magazine Psychology Issue (Issue 13). You can download it here (pdf).