Let’s face it. Social media rules supreme.

There’s a plethora of reasons why we put such great stock in the digital world – it’s fast, efficient, effective, economical and portable. It saves time! We can multi-task!

And guess what! We also inherit stress. Lots of it! Attention management tells us that, when we are multi-tasking, we aren’t actually doing a lot of things at once. We are merely shifting our attention between different tasks at different times.

But it is this technological shift that sweeps most people up in a wave of excitement so much so that it becomes the norm, not the exception. In an age where we can just about do everything online, who needs to relate to others anymore? Doesn’t emoji do the trick?

And we wonder why people have a higher predisposition to the many different types of depression and anxiety?

Now, with e-learning being the best thing since the Chinese takeout (pardon the pun) , not only is it cheaper, we also have a mass audience to discuss topics with. And all without leaving our home. Although most courses or programs have us attend physically (what a novelty!) once a month or so to see real live people.

I shudder at the kinds of teachers, counsellors, social workers and nurses (to name but a few in my sphere of work) who are being produced – yes, produced – from E-learning. All these professions, among others, are of course people-oriented in nature. If we consider that 93% of our communication is non-verbal (only 7% is verbal), and of this, 55% is our body language with 38% being our para-linguistics (how we say it and tonality), we could be in serious trouble.

I often advise participants in my groups to take up counselling as a career choice (real live classroom experiences of course! If there’s still such a thing) as I’m sure that, in a few years’ time, most of us will have lost our social and interpersonal skills (our people skills).

And mental health concerns will then rule supreme.


Jason Wong February 2018