How Does Technology Affect Behavior?


These days, it is not uncommon to see people checking their phones at the dinner table or reading dozens of reviews before deciding on a purchase. Technology advances quickly and it is likely that your parents had a different relationship with technology than you do.

When technology alters the way that we go about our daily lives, it changes our behavior for good or bad. Let’s check out some of the ways that our behavior is different because of the technology that we use. 

Shopping Habits

There are a couple ways that technology has impacted the way that we shop. First, we now have the ability to purchase most of the things that we need online. We can even buy groceries online and have them delivered. Now, for many individuals, going to the mall is more of a social experience than a shopping experience

Another way that our shopping habits have changed is by reviews that we can access online at the touch of a button. We check out reviews before we go out to eat or before we purchase a product. This can help us find the item that is best suited for our needs and desires. When there are not reviews for a product, we are interested in, it seems that we forget that we all used to shop without insight from people around the globe. 

Instant Gratification

We have become used to finding information, games, news articles, and everything else online at any time of the day. This provides us with instant gratification when searching for anything that we desire. The effect on behavior is more than just reaching for your phone when you have a pressing question about something.

The instant gratification may have a deep effect on our attention spans. Since we can always go to find another article or another answer, we may not have the patience to sit through things like we used to. In fact, this may be one of the reasons that it becomes hard to leave your phone alone for a prolonged period without checking for notifications. 

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Technology offers us useful tools that we can utilize for the completion of tasks both personal and work-related. We can make spreadsheets to assess our budget or use email to instantly send a message to tons of co-workers. These things can be highly beneficial. However, it is important to mention that technology may actually be decreasing our productivity. 

Some experts believe that smartphones, which provide us with instant access to the internet, may be a distraction in the workplace (or in the personal place as well). This is related to our short attention spans that are a result of increased technological use, but that is not the only factor. It may also have to do with addiction to the chemicals that can be released when we find positive notifications on our device. 


Our behavior in relationships with friends, family, co-workers, and significant others has been impacted significantly by technology. A lot of people meet others online these days through social media and dating apps. In addition, there are groups available to us of like-minded individuals that we would not have had access to prior to the internet boom. 

Our phones, social, media, email and other technological communication alters our relationships as well. While there are benefits to being able to video chat someone on the other side of the country or world, it may be distracting us from the face-to-face interactions that we naturally crave.


The days of having to go to the library to learn about a specific topic are long gone. Now, we can learn all about many topics online. Sure, there are some things that are difficult to find online, but those things are becoming less and less as more and more books and other resources become digitalized. 

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Sleep Disruption

Technology has also impacted our sleeping behaviors. First, when we use our phone, laptop, or tablet immediately before we lay down to sleep, we may not have as restful sleep. Many experts suggest that it is the type of light that comes from these types of devices that can mess up our natural sleeping patterns and cycles. 

There is also some concern about the ability to contact here from friends, employers, and anyone else on the internet. If we can constantly keep in touch with co-workers, then we may not sleep as well. The invasion of our work life into our personal life may disrupt sleep patterns as well. The increase in remote work may also play a role in this phenomenon. 

Fear of Missing Out

I think it is important to note that I had “fear of missing out (FOMO)” long before I had a smartphone. However, the constant peek into other peoples lives via social media is likely contributing to the prevalence of FOMO in our society. Social media gives us a glimpse into the lives of our friends and when we see that they are doing something fun, we may feel anxious.  


Technology has always affected behavior. Think about the invention of the wheel or lightbulb and the multitude of ways that that impacted human behavior on a daily basis. However, technology has developed quickly over the last few decades with the rise of the internet and cellphones. This has affected the ways that we go about our day to day lives in numerous ways and as it progresses even more it is likely that our behavior will change with it. 


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