By Nigel Ford

Isolation and depression often go hand-in-hand. One can easily lead to the other. Unfortunately, many of the new restrictions that people are facing are contributing to both isolation and depression.

Furthermore, there is a strong link between technology use and depression. When people are depressed, they often spend time feeding away at their smartphones or video games. Unfortunately, these technologies which provide the illusion of fulfilment often leave us feeling even worse than we did before.

Smartphone use has increased drastically during COVID-19, with as many as 70% of smartphone users worldwide reporting an increase in their usage. Depression rates have also increased worldwide, especially in the United States where depression rates have tripled.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how COVID-19, technology, and untreated depression can lead to long lasting consequences for both individuals and society.

Technology, Depression, and COVID-19

There is a vicious cycle of technology use, depression, and COVID-19 restrictions. One of the most common measures taken across the globe right now is social isolation. Unfortunately, in the technological age, when people are isolated the first thing that they do is engage with their technologies.

Nowhere is this more true than with social media. Social media provides us with the illusion of being socially connected to other people. However, the reality is that social media simply sets us up for a dopamine feedback loop. It actually makes us more susceptible to depression and anxiety while we become dependent on “like”s and “share”s for our fulfillment.

Unfortunately, depression and anxiety are two of the main reasons that people become addicted to these technologies in the first place. In an effort to bring them out of the darkness, people often seek a quick fix. Smart phones, social media, video games, and technology can provide this quick fix without providing any real sustainable alternatives.

This isn’t to say that all smartphone and video game use is bad. It can certainly be useful for helping decompress, as well as for providing some distractions during difficult times. However, when technology becomes a primary source of fulfillment, this can create long lasting consequences.

  • People can begin to lose their social skills. If you’re spending all your time staring at a smartphone, digitally socializing with people, it can be easy to forget how to actually interact one-on-one.
  • Social media and video games do not provide any long-lasting solutions for depression. While there are certainly possibilities for finding online treatments for depression, these are not usually what people look for when they are scrolling through social media.
  • Social media and technology can make people more OK with being isolated. It’s important not to fall into this trap. Technology and creature comforts can placate us so we feel no need to crawl out of isolation. This can lead to profound mental health disorders. This can also create drastic issues for societies and communities, all of which rely on human to human connection.

It’s Not All Bad – Pros of Isolation & Technology

Even in the darkness, there are always places to find light. While it can be easy to demonize technology and smartphones, the reality is they are what you make them. There are plenty of positive uses for smartphones and technology that can help you improve your mental health.

Being socially isolated also provides people with the best avenue for working on internal issues like depression and anxiety. As long as you’re willing to be reflective and introspective, you’re going to be able to learn a lot about your mental and emotional triggers.

Overcoming depression and anxiety requires a great deal of inner work, and now, you finally have the time to do this. No more excuses!

Your smartphone can actually be helpful for this. Here are a couple of ways that you can learn to overcome depression and anxiety during social isolation on your smartphone.

  • Seeking online therapy. Online therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years. Studies have shown that patients can receive the same amount of benefits from seeing a therapist or counsellor online as they were off-line. More and more mental health professionals are moving to online platforms in order to reach people during these challenging times.
  • Learning about mental health. Never before in human history have we had access to the amount of information that we do now. When you’re spending time alone you have the opportunity to look up information about mental health disorders online. With the right mindset, this can allow you to work on any difficulties that you may be facing.
  • Remaining connected. While digital communication should not be considered a replacement for face-to-face connections, it’s certainly better than nothing. If you’re finding yourself isolated at home, staying connected by using technology can help you feel better.


While we may be facing challenges nowadays, there’s always a silver lining. We have the technology to stay healthy, happy, and connected with those that we care about. As long as you’re willing to use your devices for your own best interest, then you’ll be able to pull through.