Does technology makes us less happy?

I am prompted to write this because a lot of my friends and family members are unhappy and this research caught my eyes. I realized that all of them are heavy users of electronic gadgets and spend way too much time on them (they clutch their smart phones all the time and keep looking at the screen as if they are just about to hear that they have won the lottery). It does not sound unusual because that is what everyone seems to be doing these days anyway, including texting during a sermon.

Now let me clarify, I am no Luddite or technophobe. Actually, I make a living working online with technology all day. I do not know if that is the reason, but:

  • I stay away from Facebook, except for using it as a business tool.
  • My biggest time waster online is streaming Trance music on my personal computer when I work but I like to think that it enhances my productivity.
  • I have a mobile phone that I turn on only outside my house and the number is known to only a handful of people, but still I rarely answer it while driving, which is a great time for listening to NPR.
  • As much as I would like to think that I am important, I know the reality: I am not. Almost all phone calls, text messages, and emails can wait.
  • A vacation for me is a great time to disconnect and my phone does not work overseas. I tell everyone who might call me to send me an email instead.
  • I have a tablet that I use to listen to music while traveling or to catch up on the news and to keep a tab on my business.
  • The research that I mentioned above has concluded that “…those who say they spend considerable amounts of time using multimedia describe themselves in ways that suggest they are less happy and less socially comfortable than peers who say they spend less time on screens.” Ladies and gentlemen, as cool as you might think you are just because you can buy hardware and then pretend that your life depends on it, the sad reality is that you are just another ordinary human being in the grand scheme of things. Not too long ago, people did just fine without cell phones. So if you want to be happy, borrow some ideas from me.