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Surprising Science

Is Technology Overwhelming Society?

New research from Cambridge University indicates that a third of people have felt overwhelmed by new communication technologies, though children still prefer face-to-face interactions. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers at Cambridge University’s Engineering Design Centre asked 63 families from around the world to keep a weekly diary of their hour-by-hour use of communication technology. The results of the survey found that, “38 per cent of 10-14 year olds felt that too much [technology] could be upsetting; 34 per cent of 25-34 reported feeling similarly. Young people, however, did not say that they favoured digital communication over face-to-face. While 65 per cent of adults said they preferred communicating in person, the same was also true for 64 per cent of children.”

What’s the Big Idea?

A larger conclusion made by the researchers is that modern communication technology, no matter how omnipresent, is neither inherently good nor bad. Instead, it is up to us to decide whether it plays a positive or negative role in our lives. “Those people who felt overwhelmed by new technology were also more likely to feel unsatisfied in other areas of their lives. Individuals who retained control over new technology generally felt happier.” Families and individuals who better understood their own use of technology were more likely to have a positive relationship with it. 


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