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Do devices rule our world?

Technological advancements have blurred boundaries which existed for a purpose

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Dr Tara Wyne

Electronic devices connecting us to the digital world have become far more than just gadgets and accessories — they have become indispensable, as they allow us to be simultaneously present in many worlds at the same time. We are no longer just at work or play, we are constantly interconnected.

However, these advancements have blurred boundaries which existed for a purpose, boundaries containing their own wisdom. Perhaps many of us need boundaries to be able to truly dedicate our attention to one thing and not incessantly worry about all the others.

With this technology comes a need for greater discipline, but how many of us truly do that? We pay no attention to ignoring or inadvertently devaluing and disrespecting our companions and colleagues. Simply put — we are hooked to our devices. Perhaps this is the modern day umbilical cord.

Have we lost the ability to be mindfully present, to stay in the here and now because we are so obsessed with the possibility of connecting to the digital world? Are we actually deceiving ourselves about the urgency and necessity of being constantly ‘in touch’? Aren’t these devices now serving our psychological and emotional needs for feeling important and wanted and occupied far more than our practical and work requirements?
We need to question the traps we have fallen into with these electronic devices. We are constantly tempted and tantalised to give them more priority than our actual immediate reality.
I also believe that we become obsessed with these devices because our communication and interaction in the virtual world is so much simpler and stripped down than face-to-face reality. We can be and often are, distracted, disengaged, and multi-tasking.

Our moods can vary from good, bad to indifferent and it doesn’t necessarily affect our interaction over our devices or the success of any communication. Essentially, being invisible has benefits.
Technological advances have given us infinite possibilities, they can enhance our lives, we can use them to improve our awareness, our social conscience, our social connectivity and our business reactivity.
However, we must be aware of also needlessly complicating our daily lives with innumerable devices, which drain our attention and time, but ultimately do not significantly add to the quality of our lives.

— The writer is the clinical director of a  community mental health clinic in Dubai.