There has been a rapid advancement in digital technology over the past two decades, and the symbiotic relationship between technology and society has led the world into unexpected development beyond expectation. Yet, the future is still bright, holding growth potential, especially in digital technology. Digital advancement can help accelerate the 17 sustainable development goals from reducing poverty to ending maternal and infants’ mortality, promoting sustainable farming, and achieving universal literacy. But every technology has brought a significant impact on society and the well-being of the user. Furthermore, the impact of technology on the users’ well-being is a question of discussion, and many questions have been focusing on the users’ well-being.
Much research done focuses on the impact of technology and the well-being of the user. One of the documents that try to unfold the connection of technology to the users’ well-being is by Justin Cheng through his article “The awkward truth about trolls: any of us could become one.” In this article, Cheng tries to explore trolls as online harassment leading in almost all social media (Cheng). The article reports that there is a misconception that trolls contain a small group of the uttered minority of all users on the web, which according to Cheng, trolls might be anyone under the right circumstances. In fact, the research of the article shows that trolling is more situational than basic specific. According to the article, two factors accelerate trolled on the web. These factors are the emotional state or mood of a person and the context of the conversation a person is involved in. The writer says that there is an indication of mood falling over from one discussion to another person participating in the same discussion likely to troll in later. Cheng states that troll statements cause more troll statements. The article also suggests ways that can be used to solve this problem. The suggested ways include upvotes and downvotes (Cheng). The writer suggests other ways which a community can use to reduce trolling, for example when we see something we disagree with; we delay the comments. The article concludes that much we do not know about trolling and its impact on the users’ well-being.
Another article by Mitchel Vincent in 2018 explores how online privacy depends on friends’ data habits as your own (Mitchell, et al). The author reveals how one user managed to use Facebook feature and copied all the company stores’ data. The user establishes all his calls and messages history in the data-damp. Mitchell explores this scenario to show how technology can explore someone’s privacy. According to the article, nowadays, personal data is given away easily compared to the past. Personal data was only found by either observing an individual or asking for it from a personal point of view. The article study shows that our personal information which we often upload in social media applications can easily be leaked out by our friends. The fact that an ordinary person uses more than nine different apps the information on these applications is shared with third parties. Mitchel Vincent further provides an example of how Cambridge Analytica collected personal information of up to 50 million users with the permission of 270,000 users (Mitchell, et al). The article, however, gives a proposal to the users that refuse to give out data requests. She says that it is vital to separate contacts from pictures. Also, she suggests prosecution as she relates to the German case where the judge ruled that it is wrong to expose your friend’s data on WhatsApp.
Another study done to explore the link between digital technology and the users’ wellbeing was done by Jean Twenge, a professor at the San Diego State University (Twenge). The research title was “what might explain the unhappiness epidemic?” published on January 22nd, 2018. The professor and his co-authors researched to determine how U.S youth spend their free time and which activities correlate with their happiness. In the study, the professor examined teenagers’ unhappiness trend from 2006 to 2016, which correlates with the increasing use of smartphones and social media among the U.S youth. Using a sample of one million youth, the author focused on the time youth spend on screens and their general happiness. The author and his co-author found an 82% increase in the time spent online between 2006 to 2016, with a dramatic decrease in teenager happiness in 2012, which most Americans owned smartphones. From her investigation, she realized that teenagers who spend much of their free time on internet activities like playing computer games, texting, using video chat, or watching TV ended up being less happy compared to teenagers who make use of their free time on activities such as meeting their friends in person, playing sports, attending religious services, and reading. She also surveyed 30 years and above adults who acted as a control (Twenge). She realized that these adults are less happy compared to when they were 15 years. She concluded that digital technology is the dividing force behind the unhappiness in youth.
All three articles agree that digital technology has a negative impact on the well-being of the user. Much research done supports that technology has impact on the user and if not addressed, the impact might lead to health complications. Hence, we need to be careful when dealing with digital technology.
Digital technologies have had significant effects on education systems all around the world. Baron, the author of the article, “Reading in a Digital Age.” explains how digital revolutions have affected reading, writing, and access to information in our schools (Baron). With various research to determine comprehension and remembrance rates between digital reading and actual print reading showing better rates in print rather than digital reading, a lot is questioned about whether these advancements should be embraced or not. Observations have shown a significant change is characterized by a tremendous shift in the handling of assignments from handwritten essays to typed ones and physical ones to online classes, and a considerable concern remains on the impact of these in understanding levels using digital technology in the field of education.
Digital technology poses a threat to comprehensive studying as they decrease concentration due to their extensive array of functions. This happens when the participants scroll through instead of focusing on educative stationary and texts and shift to other activities performed by these technologies, such as browsing and use of social media. With a percentage of 85% of students in the U.S proving to be easily distracted while studying using the digital devices compared to 26% for print reading, the negating effect to attention is brought forth. To support this, 92% of the participants in a research experiment by the author Baron said it was easy to be keen on detail while using print compared to mobile phones, e-readers, computers, and tablets. Conversations with various students pinpoint that digital media and technology have negatively affected their performance as it contains many distractions and limitations such as power outages that are not associated with print media. Therefore, it is evident that digital technologies have double-sided effects on the field of education, although the scale points more to the opposing sides. Despite the positive impact of increased access to reliable information, the main concern rests on the delivery of education content and the digital devices’ reliability towards having a positive cognitive effect on the students.
The advancements of digital technologies have greatly influenced governance and administrative roles. Gao, the author of the article, “State-Society Relations in China’s State-Led Digitalization: Progress and Prospects,” explains the effects of digital technology on China’s governance, particularly on state-society relations (Gao). Digitalization has made it easier to implement administrative roles, thus playing a pivotal role in reshaping the modern way of life and governance and the proactive use of digital technology had significant value to various governments.
Digital technologies have significantly increased government and its citizens’ interaction. They have also assisted the governing bodies in strategizing multiple administrative activities, enhancing collaboration between state factors, thus providing an easier way to channel information and, in the long run, make administrative duties easier to be executed. Service delivery has significantly improved, unlike in the past, where many governments were associated with poor service delivery, all because of digital technology. For instance, the availability of the internet provided easier and better access to public government information and provided a way for the government officials to interact with members of various societies they serve. It also increased accountability and transparency and provided a way for the government to channel opportunities that were previously hard to perform with pre-digital modes. This evident in various administrative offices throughout the world in both democratic and non-democratic states. Digitalization has also provided a new platform for the political class to air their views and encourage voters to participate in the voting process, including everyone in the decisionmaking process. Challenges of storage of administrative data have become a thing of the past with digital technology advances with a significant shift from hard copy to a soft copy. This creates a lot of space and solves a problem prevalent in many administrative places and provides a safer and easy to retrieve method for storage of data. Even though digitalization has had some adverse effects and sometimes fails to meet the expectations anticipated, its positive impact on administration are significant in reshaping governance modes for a better cause.
Digital Technologies have had a significant impact on our social and economic lives.
Spencer, the author of the article, “Work in and beyond the Second Machine Age: the Politics of Production and Digital Technologies.” brings forth the various effects of digital technologies on our socio-economic lives, especially to work and human labor (Spencer). Advancements in digital technologies pose a significant threat to employment as their efficiency is much higher, and they ease different works, thus eliminating the need for human labor. Even though these technological advances bring about increased human freedom through decreased toil and increased creativity, a lot of concern remains on employment amidst these advancements. One may argue that the introduction of new technology, in the long run, creates work, but in the bigger picture, it replaces a more significant part covered by human labor in various fields. This, therefore, shows that a lot of manual works remains vulnerable due to multiple techniques brought about by digital technologies. For instance, advances in particular medicine, communication, and media fields put medical practitioners, translators, and journalists at risk of losing their jobs.
Cognitive and non-physical works may, however, be resistant to changes induced by these technologies. Creativity and imagination in human beings have been identified as possible tools to solve technological unemployment. Still, with the more significant percentage of human laborers lacking the skills and knowledge to cope with the new technologies, a possibility of the skills gap is imminent. This, therefore, indicates that without a pro-active training or retraining of staff, the technological shift of employment will be a significant issue. With the speed at which these technologies are modifying work, the existing workforce stands at a risk of adverse psychosocial and physical effects. This is due to the dangerous transformation to the nature of work and the realization of a potential loss of employment. Despite the positive impact of digital technology on work, it is evident that technological advances are inevitable, and their effects do more harm than good in terms of employment as they bring about lower pay and loss of jobs creating strain in human life.
Digital technologies have had a significant impact and greatly influence our daily activities, with some of them being negative and some positive. More revolutions in the digital field changes on the workforce are bound to happen, thereby transforming forms and patterns of work and making many of them obsolete. This also considers the fact that despite the hype on the spread of the internet and various revolutions, many people are still left behind. These include women, persons living with disability, the elderly, people from indigenous groups, and residents of remote areas. These people are left behind more and more as the world takes a step in digital advancements. However, with suitable measures, most of these groups can be incorporated. However, the effects of these technologies should be at the back of our minds as we use and advocate for their spread.
Therefore, it is critical that despite further advancements in digital technologies being inevitable, caution must be taken in fields where they seem to majorly have adverse effects such as education and work as we embrace its positive impact in other areas such as administration.
Baron, Naomi S. “Reading in a Digital Age.” The Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 99, no. 2, 2017, pp.
15–20. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26388266. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.
Cheng, Justin. “The awkward truth about trolls: any of us could become one.” Gale
Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2021. Gale literature database.
Gao, Xiang. “State-Society Relations in China’s State-Led Digitalization: Progress and Prospects.” China Review, vol. 20, no. 3, 2020, pp. 1–12. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26928109. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.
Mitchell, Vincent, et al. “Your online privacy depends as much on your friends’ data habits as your own.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2021. Gale literature database.
Spencer, David. “Work in and beyond the Second Machine Age: The Politics of Production and Digital Technologies.” Work, Employment & Society, vol. 31, no. 1, 2017, pp. 142–152. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26500161. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.
Twenge, Jean. “What might explain the unhappiness epidemic?” Gale Opposing Viewpoints
Online Collection, Gale, 2021. Gale literature database.
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