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In South Africa, digitalization is marked by many as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. 

Digitalization is the way forward for many organizations and has major benefits. The main benefit is to abate the organizations most expensive resource….The Huma Resource. Other benefits include a faster product turnaround time, more productivity thanks to robotics, a more accurate representation in Logistics with regards to Stock on Hand, Batch Management, and Stock Trends. In essence, digitalization is more about cost containment than anything else is.

“No man is an island” No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others. This saying comes from a sermon by the seventeenth-century English author John Donne.

What is the consequence to our Mental Health as a result of digitalization?

For many today, not having the necessity to physically meet up anymore, replicates to Social Isolation and Loneliness. The latter has a severe impact on our Physical-, Mental-, and Cognitive Health. Although there are interventions to combat Loneliness, comorbidities such as Depression, Inconsistent Sleeping Patterns, Impaired Function, Poor Cardiovascular function, and accelerated Cognitive Decline might develop. (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Vol.370, No. 1669,2015).

On the other hand, when it comes to Social Isolation, studies have shown an increased risk of premature death from any cause for every race (American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 188, No. 1, 2019).

How do we fix this underlying malevolence?

A 2018 study has shown that “Even amongst those who started out lonely, those who were in better health and socialized with others more often had much better odds of subsequently recovering from their loneliness” (Research on Aging, Vol.40, No. 4, 2018). 

Here are a few useful tips to manage time spent on Social Media, which will in return rid you from Loneliness and Social Isolation and subsequently improve your Health and Social skills:

  • Have regular discussions on the impact of excessive social media usage. The impact might be
    • Spending less time with family and friends;
    • Having fewer conversations with parents or elders;
    • Not receiving the necessary parental attention that every child crave;
    • Personality and anti-social disorders.
  • Set boundaries. This might be easier with younger children than with teenagers, however, it is important to:
    • Maintain control in order to avoid potentially flammable situations;
    • Same for adults…if you are in a relationship or married, be mindful of the time spent on social media and set aside time or “play dates” with each other, to avoid potential conflicts.
    • In children, consistency is key. If you made the rule that limits or prohibits a child from using a certain social media site until a certain age is reached, you need to stick to this until that particular age is reached, otherwise your credibility for future rules might be compromised.
  • Set an example. If you as a parent or partner has set boundaries, you need to make sure you stick to the rules. It would be contradictory and counter active to set rules and not abide by them yourself. These rules might include issues like:
    • Not having cellphones or iPads around while enjoying dinner;
    • Not having cellphones around in the company of guests, etc.

In conclusion, we need to be heedful in this digital age. We might not be aware all the time that unawareness and overindulgence in didgitalization might, unknowingly, have a severe effect in many parts of our life. Soon, it will also no longer be necessary to communicate with colleagues at work because EVERYTHING will be didgitalized. Can you imagine living a life like that? Makes you think!

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