Its interesting, that the age of technology and social media has for so long been touted as such great tools, the way of the future, will make things so much better, easier, on and on it went. But lately that view is seemingly shifting. Its created a society where social interaction and communication has been gone from face to face discussions to texts and messenger messages. Children don’t entertain themselves, they are entertained, movies play in the car or they have electronic games. It also has meant there is no real down time, and people use devices as a means to distract themselves from alot of things. In the realm of dementia there is much talk and work about how wonderful technology is, I had an abstract accepted for presentation on Technology the good and bad, to present at the Alzheimers Disease International Conference, in London England, but I have withdrawn it, and may present it at a later date, or who knows maybe I will share it here. Its not that I disagree, I think technology has many great uses, but I also believe we must be careful that we don’t forgo human interaction and contact, its a slippery slop as to how when and where technology and devices should be used.
There are some uses that are great whether you live with dementia or not, built in gps, so if we are in trouble we can be found, automatic 911 calling if it detects a fall etc, navigation systems. These are all tools which can be great assets for people. The pandemic showed us how much we can do by working from home, freeing up more time for ourselves and family, zoom, video calls, FaceTime, all allowed people to stay connected during the pandemic, but we can and should not allow it to become the norm so we provide less actual social engagement with and for people, and slippery slopes abound.
Another interesting thing that came to my attention the other day is that they are now finding how damaging social media is for and on men’s self image. I am not really surprised by that for years and years, actually even when I was young, we, as in women and girls were always subjected to media’s pushing how we should look, dress do our hair, our self image constantly compared to what we were being shown and sold. It is no different now just more prominent, since the onslaught of social media and technology bombarding people. So now they are seeing it actually effecting men, creating mental health issues for men, so although I hate to see this happening to anyone, its interesting that there is such concern because of the way it is impacting the male population. Women have been saying it for generations. So another of the slippery slopes of the use of technology and social media.
I think there is many people who are limiting their time and use of all of their devices, this includes myself. My blog is done on WordPress and links to the social media sites, this allows me to write my blogs and not get distracted by all the social media stuff, allowing me to still get it out to those who enjoy it. Yes I still use social media I am just acutely aware and monitor how much, I have shut the data off on my phone, I often leave it at home and often shut it off completely now. I am also aware of how important it is for me at other times, and how much technology continues to help me live alone. But being isolated for over two years during a pandemic, and now noticing as we are trying to come out of it, how truly isolated I have been, and how now I struggle with social interaction. Part of it is expected in the progression of dementia, but a large part due to the isolation created by the pandemic and now in that isolation is where I am most comfortable, it has become easier and easier to just be content in my aloneness. I find it exhausting trying to meet expectations, as there truly are very few people who fully understand the constant work it takes to manage a day. So it is now where I struggle a great deal. I do not feel safe in the mainstream of society anymore so in trying to step out into the world it is and will be in the smallest of steps. There has been a lot of changes for myself and many others so it will be different for each of us although isolation was and may still be needed for the foreseeable future, we have to try to ensure we don’t allow the ease of using technology to stay connected, to create a world where we are becoming less and less to be comfortable among others, and we loss skills like being able to sense when something is wrong, to read peoples faces, pick up on emotional signals, knowing and understanding body language, all those things are at risk, they are all vital skills to have, we can only learn and nurture and understand them by being part of and interacting with society.
I hope we all take the time to really look at the bigger and deeper issues around all of the technology, and work to find a way to balance it so we don’t just become a humanized robot ourselves.