Many consumers worldwide appeear to be worried that technology is overtaking their lives, according to recent report by Euro RSCG Worldwide (This Digital Life, via MC). in an April 2012 report. Dividing the more than 7,000 respondents from 19 countries up into prosumers and mainstream consumers (84% of the sample), the study finds that 59% of the former, and 62% of the latter are concerned about society’s addiction to or over-reliance on technology.
- Modernity has long been synonymous with progress, but the idea of the future doesn’t make us dream anymore. Sixty percent of the global respondents believe society is moving in the wrong direction. More troubling, 4 in 10 sometimes feel they’re actually wasting their lives. Seventy-two percent worry about society’s moral decline.
- While just 10 percent believe digital technology will have a negative effect overall on the world, 42 percent believe it’s too soon to tell—suggesting a relatively strong level of distrust and unease about what is to come.
- Are we getting dumber? Half the sample worry that digital technology and multitasking are impairing humans’ ability to think deeply. Around two-thirds believe society has become too shallow, focusing too much on things that don’t really matter.
- Social media and online data collection are chiseling away at our privacy -and a lot of it is our own fault. Six in 10 think people should stop sharing so much of their personal thoughts and experiences online; they believe society needs to reestablish its privacy boundaries. Concern is most pronounced for the millennial generation: 7 in 10 believe today’s youth have no sense of personal privacy (two-thirds of millennials agree).
- There’s some irony in the fact that this age of hyperconnectivity is making us feel less connected. More than half the sample worry that digital communication is weakening human-to-human bonds.
- Those of us immersed in major political campaigns won’t be surprised to hear that a majority of people (58 percent) worry we’re losing the ability to engage in civil debate. Seven in 10 worry about increased political extremism, while 64 percent are concerned about the rise of paranoia and conspiracy theories.
- More than a quarter of the sample (and one-third of millennials) say social networking is making them less satisfied with their own lives.
- Despite all the freedoms people in most modern societies enjoy, we’re also feeling a longing for the order and structure of the way things used to be. Six in 10 worry about the loss of formality and the rise of a culture of “casual everything.”
- Half the sample (including just about equal numbers of women and men) expressed concern over the disappearance of clear gender roles. And 49 percent worry about the loss of religious faith.
- Our Culture of More has proved unsatisfying: A majority are tired of overconsuming and are looking to scale back and live more simply. Four in 10 say they’d be happier if they owned less stuff.
- Attention, 1%: Nearly three-quarters of respondents around the world are worried about the growing gap between rich and poor.
- And roughly half of each group worries that digital technology and multitasking are impairing people’s ability to think deeply and focus on one task at a time.