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UB BIO 201LLB - position paper copy

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Before learning impacts of information and communication technology (ICT), we need toclearly define it. ICT is a cyberworld where people share and exchange knowledge, images, videos, and ideas with one another. It is impossible to imagine a person who does not use information technology nowadays. Computers and electronic gadgets have firmly entered our lives and changed the usual way of living. People have effortless access to information, which helps to manage human communication effectively. Moreover, mobile apps and mobile phones ingeneral make many aspects of people’ lives easier and more convenient. It is undeniable that ICThas increased our standards of living and that technology has a significant place in a modern society. However, it inevitably brings certain negative outcomes and challenges which people should not ignore because humanity is becoming increasingly dependent on it. The importance ofthe technological component of modern civilization lies in the fact that it determines in many respects the sustainable development of society. The total penetration of technology into all areasof society’s life initiates the transformation of established social relations, which also implies the transformation of the type of sociality itself and it can be dangerous. Therefore, there should be alimitation of using information technology since it has an effect on the health, social life and identity. Although technology has helped people in many aspects of their lives, a large number ofindividuals are still unaware of the fact that technology adversely affects society based on how it impacts people on the individual level. By using too much technology, people can be deeply affected in terms of mental health. Javier Serrano-Puche, a Doctor Professor at the University of Navarra and a researcher at the Center for Internet Studies and Digital Life, found out that it can “cause people a tension between the desire to be united through technology and at the same time feel trapped by it” because most young people suffer from the "fear of missing out" syndrome (FOMO). They cannot stop checking their social media accounts for notifications and messages because they believe that if they stop doing it, it means there is a risk that they become invisible. The author mentioned that it is important for young people to be online since “Visibility guarantees inclusion in a world” (Serrano-Puche). And people are trying to post everything they can in orderto get attention and make themselves an important part of their social environment. The newspaper article "Teen 'like' and 'FOMO' anxiety" by Kelly Wallace is providing a valuable example of the “FOMO” syndrome. Six teens had the opportunity to participate in a workshop where they talked about social media. The teens have agreed to the fact that they often browse onpopular social networks and some things that they see on the Internet make them upset and, to some degree, even depressed. Based on studies, social media makes people think the worse abouttheir lives and assume only the best about the lives of others. Thus, people need to be aware of this. These consequences are not the worst part of the influence of technology since its effects can also lead to serious health disorders. The documentary movie Plugged in: the true toxicity of social media revealed directed by Richard Willett shows the deadly consequences of using socialmedia. There is an increased level of depression, anxiety, and suicide, especially among teenagers. In one of the interviews, it was said that social networks generated a strong sense of envy in many users that could quickly evolve into a deep depression because people wereobsessed with “Likes”, “Followers”, how they looked and how popular they were in the social media. However, it is also important to recognize how the modern technologies help people to bein a society because many active internet users are more involved in a community in real life. “Online interactions have the potential to positively affect those who have difficulty with disclosure and face-to-face communication such as individuals who are shy or prone to self-concealment” (Magsamen-Conrad). It obviously helps to overcome many barriers that people have and to develop their communication skills, even become more self-confident. In addition, many studies show that children who are able to connect with their families and friends often feelless isolated. This reduces anxiety and stress. One of the studies at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that “When people have one-on-one interaction on social media (e.g., getting a “like,” a message, or a comment), they feel more bonded” (Del Rosario). It is positive interaction for people who can have some mental issues so they are able to feel that they are not alone and even find support online. Thus, it is important to acknowledge various aspects of using information technology due to the fact that, while some technologies help us maintain convenient life, other technologies lead to unsustainable mental health.Furthermore, people should limit their usage of social platforms because they already integrate too much of their lives and even their identities into digital. John Suler has conducted research about understanding human behavior in cyberspace. Suler has written the book “Psychology of the digital age: humans become electric” where he mentioned that cyberspace as a whole mirrors the collective human mind - its functions, knowledge, purposes, and hopes. It is pointed out that technology can give a human being almost everything he or she needs. The internet has played the role of the extension of the human mind and the screens of people's devices reflect their beliefs, lifestyles, and personalities. Today, it became an integral part of human life and many people cannot imagine their lives without information technologies. Perhaps, people need to start thinking more of how they use social platforms because technology began to control our society instead of people controlling the technology. There is an assumption that the Net generation which grew up during the expansion of the Internet is more immersed into screens, as Gustavo S. Mesch, a professor of sociology at the University of Haifa, has stated that “Youth have an opportunity to express online their "real" or inner selves, using the relative anonymity of the internet to be the person they want to be and

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