Anyone who has a smartphone, laptop, Ipad, Ipod, or PDA might be vulnerable to an addiction to technology. Most anyone who has a technological device often finds themselves attached to it like drops are attached to the ocean. It’s likely common for most of us. If we don’t already have a technology addiction, then we are certainly prone to developing one. Our fast-paced society seems to encourage it.
How the Addiction Works
For instance, it’s typical to get lost in our smart phones and have our attention shift from one piece of technology to another. There’s also a certain psychological pull or attraction to the unopened email, new Facebook post or tweet. And there’s an actual high that some might feel when these items show up in their lives. This is the beginning of the addiction – feeling the high or dopamine surge. Furthermore, the inability to put technology aside temporarily if needed is also a significant sign that an addiction exists.
Typical signs of a technology addiction include:
- Neglecting areas of life that do not include technology
- Difficulty completing daily living tasks
- Losing track of time when emailing, surfing the web, reading Facebook posts, or tweeting.
- Isolation from friends and family
- Experiencing euphoria with technology use
Plus, when we are lost in our Iphones, Ipads, televisions, and laptops, there’s no real human to human connection. It’s not as satisfying and psychologically nourishing as a hug, handshake, or saying hello face to face. Furthermore, the shifting of attention from work to a text to the television to the Ipad can be straining on the ability to focus. This can happen when we are giving and receiving texts. For instance, if you are constantly bombarded with texting communication you may feel the pressure to answer right away. This pressure can interrupt a thought and cause that thought to be lost forever. Technology overload can actually have some ill effects on one’s psychological health.
Contributes to Depression and Anxiety
If you already have an unfocused mind, the use of technology can contribute to the severity of mental health symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate. Technology alone doesn’t necessarily cause any psychological illnesses. However, it can contribute to depression and anxiety. For instance, lack of concentration is a symptom of anxiety and depression, which too much technology can make worse. Of course, an inability to focus can contribute to poor relationships, poor work performance, and more worry and anxiety. Too much technology can also get in the way of having new ideas, being present with others, and creative thinking.
Researchers have found that 77 percent of those between the ages of 14 to 24 are afraid of being without their cell phones, compared to 68 percent of those aged 25 to 34. College students are most vulnerable to developing the cell phone/technology addiction because they are considered to be the heaviest users of information and technology. Furthermore, in a recent study researchers evaluated cell phone, instant messaging, and texting addiction among college students. The average college student sends and receives approximately 109.5 text messages a day and checks their phone 60 times per day. The results of the study showed that materialism and impulsiveness are what drove technology addiction in these university students. The preoccupation of social status based on a mobile device and the impulsivity that is created by sending and receiving instant messages and texts are strong predictors for cell phone and technology addiction.
If you notice some of the above signs and symptoms in yourself, you may want to seek assistance. Fortunately, if you need help with an addiction to technology, recognizing and acknowledging it is the first step. And this article might have provided some insightful information. You might also consider giving yourself one day off a week from all technology, including email! Becoming inaccessible by phone, email, and social media one day a week might feel frightening at first. However, in the future you might find it incredibly freeing!