Technology has transformed human existence in numerous ways. This can be witnessed allover; in homes, schools, and businesses. In business, activities considered tedious can now be accomplished without putting in much effort. Additionally, most people have resorted to e-trading, therefore, reducing the supply chain. Similarly, in the societal setting, the use of the internet and social networking sites has transformed communication. Despite the fact that technology has contributed immensely to the world economy, the integration of technology into homes, schools and jobs has created debilitating obsessions. These obsessions destroy families and communities. According to Wiederhold and Riva (2009), there are two kinds of technological addictions. These authors note that internet addiction is an active obsession while television addiction is passive (Wiederhold and Riva, 2009). In this era, the young and old participate in online relationships, cyber bullying, pornography, online pilfering, obsessive trading and compulsive betting as a result of technological addiction. These issues have reduced school and work productivity. The purpose of this paper is to mainly examine the effects of technological addictions on work and school productivity.
Effects on Work productivity
Turel, Serenko, and Bontis in their article “Family and Work-Related Consequences of Addiction to Organizational Pervasive Technologies” describe technological addiction as a pathological psychosomatic reliance on technological devices (2011). People who are addicts, to the internet is predisposed to pornography, computer games, chatting, gambling and shopping. In a working environment, all these activities have the potential of reducing productivity. For example, an employee who is an addict to pornography is prone to visit pornographic sites during working hours instead of working. After viewing such materials, the employee is more likely to think about such events and not profits. Employees curious and anxious about cyber relationships will focus their attention on their online friends. In the same way, those employees who are addicts to shopping or gambling will shift their attention to their objections of obsession. If all these employees work in the same company, the overall productivity of the firm will reduce because of the diverse goals that each employee holds.
Stofer claims that there is an opportunity cost when an employee tries to talk to a client and check his mail at the same time (2012). The employee will either give dissatisfactory services to the client or burnout from too many activities. Moreover, the employee becomes anxious when he does not get enough time to answer messages that clog his inbox. It is vital to note, a majority of these e-mails are forwards, and others do not deserve replies. The amount of time wasted by employees replying personal emails during working hours reduces productivity and makes them less creative. Another analogous view on this subject is that of Carr in his article “How the Internet is making us stupid” (2012). He claims that employees are preoccupied by emails and other messages are less likely to understand as opposed to their colleagues who stay focused on their responsibilities (Carr, 2012). Essentially, technological addiction destroys teamwork in the office. Majority of addicts prefers online friends or games over work mates. Others prefer to use the internet instead of asking their colleagues for assistance. In additions, most executes prefer to communicate via email instead of meeting. Email communication makes it easier than, personal networking, especially when disrupted. This tends to hinder communication and teamwork in the office. It is therefore, significant for employers to introduce activities that promote bonding in the work place.
Anandarajan and Simmers (2003) argue that technological addiction relates to other behavioral addictions. This means that individuals who develop obsession for technology exhibit certain characteristics like ecstasy, withdrawal, salience, and violence among others. For this reason, employees who demonstrate these characteristics will cause discomfort in the office. They may disrupt peace with their violent tendencies or excitement. Addicts may exhibit withdrawal tendencies when not using devices and neglect their responsibilities (Turel et al., 2011). If technological addicts discover that some of their colleagues are aware of their destructive habits, they may become too sensitive or suspicious of their actions. They may snap at their supervisors or work mates if they interfere with the internet or other devices. Such actions will create tension and reduce productive in the work place. Carr (2012) further brings out this effect in his discussion of how the internet will keep one distracted even when there is no commuter in the vicinity. According to Carr, the hunger for continuous stimulation leaves technological addicts perpetually abstracted (2012). Obsessions with technological tools such as mobile phones, iPhones also qualify as addiction. These devices disrupt meetings and concentration with their ringing or beeping tones.
Internet addicts expose themselves to health risks because of inappropriate or prolonged use of computers (Shelly, Vermaat, and Quasney, 2011). In most cases, addicts try to hide their filthy habits. At work, addicts will sit on the furthest corner or carry their laptops to the washrooms for prolonged periods. Others prefer dimly-lit rooms where they have to strain to see the computer screens. Consequently, the amount of time spent on the computer may affect their eyesight and cause blurry visions or insomnia. Similarly, their sitting posture may lead to injuries on their back, necks, and hands. If these syndromes continue for a long time, individuals may develop untimely astigmatism and back seizures. When employees take the day off because of injuries that could be avoided; the productivity of the company is at stake. In most companies, employees are entitled to health benefits, such expenses reduce profits.
Effects on School productivity
Technological addictions reduce school productivity. Students are vulnerable, and most are addicts to computers and tend to be lethargic in class. This is because, students commands computers to perform basic calculations and forget basic formulas in mathematics. Moreover, such students are unable to make decisions without using the internet (Turel and Serenko, 2012). If a student fails to find the answers to a question in the internet, then the question must be too hard. Consequently, students become irritated and scrabble through their assignment without taking their time to read through books or their course materials. The information they obtain from the internet barely passes through their consciousness. As a result, students lose their creative because they are too lazy to think. Technological addiction diverts the attention of students towards unproductive activities such as video games. Computer games prevent students from participating in productive activities such as sports, debates, and music. Alternatively, students spend so many hours playing games and neglect working on their homework or assignments (Shelly et al., 2011). In addition, such games keep the students from their families and friends. Students skip school or fake sickness in order to stay home and play computer games. Pasquerilla notes that this trend hinders social development (2008).
Short message services (SMS) are known to be prevalent among teenagers and youngsters in “Mobile phone text messaging overuse among developing world university students” (Perry and Lee, 2007). In this article, Perry & Lee note that college student exhibited symptoms of mobile phone addiction. Short Message Service is common among students because it is inexpensive. Additionally, it provides an avenue where young adults can communicate without being monitored by their parents or elders. It enables students to communicate in public places where phone conversations are improper. Mobile phones and i phones distract students during class lectures (Pasquerilla, 2008). Students’ waste time answering text messages and chatting with online friends instead of concentrating on the lecture. As a result, these students fail to understand their courses or even connect with their teachers. In the end, they either fail exams or drop out of school. If the lecturer tries to confiscate technological tools, addicts became distressed or anxious. Similarly, mobile phones interrupt the concentration of students in the library (Stofer, 2012). Students will often read a passage severally due to the vibrations or ringing tones of different phones.
While using the internet for research, students are often tempted to reply the email messages or chat for a few minutes. However, the few minutes turn to hours, and, before they know it, students discover that they have spent the whole day chatting instead of working on their assignments. The constant interruption causes disjointed thoughts among students. Their minds are unable to focus on their studies therefore, weakening their memories. Such students perform poorly during exams because they are unable to control their attention (Carr, 2012). Furthermore, Carr discovered that multitasking does not provide mental advantages (2012). In contrast, students who multitask are able to be distracted by minor activities.
Fundamentally, internet offers an avenue where students can access pornographic materials. Subrahmanyam and S%u030Cmahel (2011) alleged that students take advantage of the internet for online relationships and cybersex. Such relationships destroy the way students think about family and marriage. Given that students prefer their online friends to their family, the social gap affects their school performance.
Currently, people depend on technology more than their minds. Without technological devices, some individuals feel that their sanity will be threatened. This dependence on technology has introduced obsessive behaviors described as technological addiction. Technological addiction reduces work and school productivity. It stirs up family conflict and destroys teamwork at work due to online friends and relationships. Adults and youngsters are easily distracted by text messages, e-mails, videos, status updates, and blogs among others. It is certain that technology addiction will become more prevalent in future due to modernization. Therefore, there is need to establish a balance for the use of technology in school and work. According to Carr (2012), it would be easy if these issues would be solved as soon as computers and mobile phones are switched off. However, it is not that simple. Carr (2012) claims that once the brain adapts to the technological devices, certain neural vessels are strengthened while others are weakened. This makes technological addiction difficult to overcome. In this regard, there is the need to monitor and control the use of technical tools before their brains are shaped by tools and devices.