Although technological wonders have made our lives easier, it might also be giving rise to a generation of depressed people, says an expert.
According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, people today experience more depression than previous generations, which is believed to be because of these technological advancements.
As phones, computers and the Internet continues to pervade our lives, it has encouraged a constant, nagging need to check for texts and email, to update Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn profiles, to acquire the latest notebook or 3G cellphone.
Goleman said it seems that we are sleepwalking into a world where technology is severely affecting our well-being, and people need to stop it from taking over.
With continuous exposure to advertising, adults and children increasingly believe that in order to belong and feel good about themselves, they must own the latest model or gadget.
A new study by psychologist Tim Kasser of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, has shown that people who place a high value on material goals are unhappier than those who are less materialistic.
Materialism is also associated with lower self-esteem, greater narcissism, greater tendency to compare oneself unfavourably with other people, less empathy and more conflict in relationships.
It is said time is money. This implies a need for total efficiency, which is why we are allowing laptop computers and mobile phones to blur the separation between work and home.
And the lack of separation damages our relationships with loved ones.
It also predisposes us to focus on the here and now at the expense of long-term goals.
By imposing these twin pressures, modern society is in danger of swapping standard of living for quality of life.
While writing in New Scientist magazine, Goleman said that autonomy, competence, relatedness and critical thinking are the best ways to establish a balanced approach to technology, and enhance our well-being.
Autonomy is the feeling that our activities are self-chosen and self-endorsed. When we feel in control, we are able to organise our priorities and place effective boundaries around them. This may be as simple as switching off mobile phones during meals and family time, and setting aside specific times to answer emails.
Relatedness is the need to feel close to other people. Technology is a threat to this.
Currently people are available 24/7 to absorb messages from well-honed advertisements, it is vital that to know how to analyse and evaluate their validity - and to neutralise them where necessary.