How Technology Lowers Emotional Intelligence

Over the past few years, there has been a rise in talk about what is being described as “emotion technology” or “tech that manipulates emotions for good.” Some people have even coined a new term: emotional intelligence (EI) technology.

Most experts agree that we gain EI by practicing certain skills such as identifying and understanding your own feelings, acknowledging and respecting those of others, and using these concepts to regulate your emotions.

However, some argue that our ever-connected culture makes too much use of technologies that reduce emotional awareness and self-awareness. They suggest that we are developing an epidemic of low emotional literacy — something that can have serious long-term consequences.

This article will discuss six ways technology reduces emotional intelligence and how you can mitigate the effects. You will also learn some simple strategies to reestablish the balance.

Reasons why technology lowers emotional intelligence

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

We are living in an era where technology is increasingly taking over our lives. Gone are the days when people would read a book or go to the movies once a week, at most. Now we have access to almost limitless amounts of content via Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services, as well as constant notifications telling us about new events, messages, and calls.

With all this information at our fingertips, it has become easy to lose focus on what matters – relationships.

We tend to use technology to consume content rather than contribute by creating, sharing, commenting on, and discussing that content. This decreases empathy because you don’t understand how things affect others when they are not communicating as efficiently with each other.

Furthermore, due to the speed at which technology moves, it can be difficult to determine if something is true or false. This makes it hard to know whether someone’s claims are legitimate or if they are just trying to get attention.

Lastly, people often feel distracted by everything going on around them. There is always something happening so there is no chance for stillness, reflection, or silence.

Less face-to-face interaction

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

Recent developments in technology have made it easy to stay connected, but some experts say this has reduced how well people interact with others.

Research shows that when we are in close proximity to someone, they influence us emotionally and socially. For example, if you are with your friend who is crying, you will also be more likely to cry.

But as technology moves forward at an increasingly fast pace, there’s less of a need for human contact. Online relationships offer similar benefits, but go away sometimes without anyone knowing.

This can make it harder to cope after a breakup or loss, because people don’t always understand what you’re going through.

Furthermore, studies show that social media use can contribute to feelings of loneliness, which is another factor in why emotional intelligence may suffer from computer usage.

Less body language

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

Overworking yourself physically or emotionally can sometimes result in poor emotional regulation and control. This is called stress-related symptom disorder, or stress syndrome if it becomes more severe.

Many professionals find themselves in high pressure situations that require them to work longer hours than would be ideal.

This could include having to meet tight deadlines, negotiating tough negotiations or speaking in front of large groups.

In these cases, there’s no way for someone to tell whether you are stressed or not because you keep your emotions under wraps.

You may even avoid talking about what you’re working on due to how sensitive you become when you’re under pressure.

Emotionally intelligent (EI) people recognize the signs of stress in others and help reduce its effects on those around them.

They also use appropriate strategies to manage their own feelings.

Some studies suggest that being socially competent — which includes understanding other people and showing empathy towards them — helps to prevent developing stress syndrome.

However, research has shown that this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some individuals seem to develop stress disorders at a similar level to non-ECS people.

Online trolls

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

Over the past few years, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. It is almost impossible to go anywhere without seeing a status update, photo or video drop from someone you follow.

With every new post, you get a little taste of what people like yourself enjoy reading and watching- your thoughts and reactions are shared with the world.

On some sites, it is even possible to comment anonymously, which can lead to hurtful messages being left for no reason other than pure malice.

When someone leaves such comments, it is often referred to as trolling. And while some trolled for fun, there are times when they do so because they feel targeted or insulted.

It is very common to find trolls who target black individuals, feminists, religious groups, and others. This kind of behavior will always exist in large spaces where many different types of people congregate, but its intensity rises along with their levels of emotional intelligence.

Social media trolls

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

Recent events have made it very clear that our society is becoming increasingly divided along racial, political, and social lines. Some people are using technology to actively participate in this divisiveness for fun or profit.

This article will talk about one of those technologies: social media. It’s an easy target, but still important to address because it has significant impacts on emotional intelligence.

Social media users who engage in racially-charged rhetoric, use derogatory slang like “go back where you came from,” or make generalized comments about groups of people (like “All Latinos are thieves”) are lowering their own emotional intelligence scores.

They're also acting with low empathy, which means they’re not putting themselves in someone else's shoes and understanding how they might be feeling. This can sometimes lead to actions or words that hurt others, or create negative emotions in others towards them.

We’ve seen all too many examples of these types of behaviors recently. People engaging in conversation sprinkling with racist slurs while celebrating the death of another human being at the hands of law enforcement is just disgusting. Using dehumanizing language to describe other individuals, minorities, or even whole groups of people is never okay.

It creates a culture of silence and fear around certain topics, which only serves to keep some things buried.

Less opportunities to be creative

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

We live in an era where technology has totally taken over our lives. With every passing day, we find ourselves living more and longer under constant screen-based exposure. This is very common now; you can barely go a week without checking your phone or computer.

In fact, a survey found that 95% of teens aged 15–17 use social media for at least one hour per day. And half of all smartphone users check their device within three hours of going to sleep!

This was back when there were no apps yet, before everyone had a smartphone with internet access built into it. Nowadays, even if you don’t have a smartphone, you are constantly exposed to tech.

We need to remember how important it is to focus on non-tech activities to develop personal effectiveness.

Why? Because these things take effort – something we seem to get less of as time goes on due to screens.

Less opportunities to be assertive

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

Recent studies show that exposure to too much technology can lower your emotional intelligence (EI). You’re not aware of it at first, but over time this can have serious effects on you and others.

Research shows that people use social media to prove their status by posting pictures and videos that make them look more intelligent or powerful than they are.

This makes them feel smarter when in fact they're showing off how little knowledge they have about certain topics. They also put up fake smiles for the camera instead of looking happier.

People who use social media as a way to connect with others may give a false impression that they like other people and enjoy interacting with them.

Less opportunities to gain experience

how technology lowers emotional intelligence

With technology advancing at such a lightning speed, there are now not as many opportunities for individuals to learn new skills by doing it yourself or through educational institutions. This is particularly true in the case of young people who may be discouraged from learning basic skills like how to use computers due to cost.

There has also been a rise in instances where employers do not require employees to have specific tech knowledge. Due to the fast-paced nature of work, most companies can run their operations efficiently with just someone that knows how to use Microsoft Office.

Furthermore, since technology becomes more prevalent every day, workers are exposed to different software applications and systems less frequently, making it harder to pick up new things. All these factors contribute to low emotional intelligence among adults.

Younger generations especially will find it much tougher to address emotions in others due to lack of exposure to them.

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