On January 21st, Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd presented an engaging, dynamic webinar about technology management and how it pertains to mental health. About 50 years ago, the first connection was established over the Internet. The World Wide Web was invented 20 years after that, and the rest is history. Fifty years is not long and technology has a way of fast-forwarding history. Consider that the smart phone is just 20 years old and estimates are that two billion people will have one by this year (2015). Facebook is a mere decade old and this past year recorded 1.23 billion monthly active users. The trend does not appear to be slowing down as technology begets more technology. Technology unleashes positives and negatives, but where do those positives and negatives come from? They may appear to come from technology; however, technology comes from us and magnifies human positives and negatives.
This webinar dealt with the implications of that human magnification through technology. Technology creates a dichotomy between the promise of unparalleled control and the threat of addictive loss of control, between the promise of digital anonymity and the threat of global exposure, between the promise of never-ending information and the threat of never-ending information. Human psychology, and even physiology, has been hit by a technological tsunami and some people are drowning. The webinar outlined continuous partial attention, also called acquired ADD; disconnect anxiety; cyberchondriacs; empathic impairment; social isolation; digital depression; neurological triggering; eating disorders and body dysmorphia; obsessive-compulsive disorder; and pornography. Along with the challenges, Dr. Frejd also recommended remedies from clinical and biblical perspectives. Technology isn’t going away and people need assistance managing such a powerful tool. Technology throws open a plethora of pathways, desired destinations intermingled among dangerous dead-ends and perilous pitfalls. Dr. Frejd highlighted the ways that mental health professionals can assist people in learning how to navigate those pathways for maximum benefit and minimum harm.