Technology plays a great role in our development as a society – from tools and industries to information exchange.
It is meant to make tasks easier and play a crucial role in solving the problems of humankind. As with most good things, however, technology has its downsides.
One of such downsides is technology or tech addiction.
As of 2020, more than 4.5 billion people are using the internet, spending an average of 6 hours a day on it. 5.19 billion people own at least one mobile phone and 50% of teens admit they feel addicted to their smartphones.
These figures are glaring proof technology addiction is a real concern that should be addressed. Start by educating yourself about technology addiction, its potential risk factors, and how to stop technology addiction.
What Is Technology Addiction?
How many times have you checked your phone in the past hour?
Or have you been holding it this whole time? How many times a day do you go on social media?
How many hours a day do you spend gaming, shopping, or doing just about anything online?
Would you consider yourself addicted to technology, your smartphone, or the internet?
Technology addiction is categorized as a process addiction and a kind of impulse control disorder. It transpires when a person is exposed to the harmful effects of technology due to excessive use of computers, video games, mobile devices, and the internet.
Technology addiction is actually an umbrella term that covers game addiction, computer addiction, and internet addiction.
Internet addiction or internet addiction disorder also serves as an umbrella term that covers impulse-control problems involving the internet, personal computers, and mobile technology. This can include gaming disorder, social media disorder, screen addiction, and the like.
The similarities between technology addiction and internet addiction are why the two terms are often used interchangeably.
Technology addiction has multiple contributing factors.
These factors include brain chemical imbalances, changes in brain structure, and levels of self-discipline among others. Some risk factors related to technology addiction include:
Instant Gratification is related to the instantaneous access to information attributed to the speed of technology.
False Sense of Relationships gleaned from regular communication with ‘friends’ all over the world.
Lack of Social Skills disrupts socialization especially face-to-face ones.
A Sedentary Lifestyle can result in weight gain and other medical complications like heart disease.
Sleep Disorders can develop in people who spend an excessive amount of time on the internet or on their gadgets.
What Are The Types of Technology Addiction?
If you are addicted to the internet, then you are a technology addict.
If you are addicted to your smartphone or other gadgets, then you too are a tech addict.
What if you’re addicted to online shopping? Well, you are possibly also a tech addict. Technology addiction, as previously mentioned, is an umbrella term that covers other addictions and/or disorders.
Game addiction, shopping addiction, content-consumption addiction, social media addiction, auction and chance game addiction – these are all types of technology addiction. You must know though, that gaming disorders are the only addiction diagnosed and recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization). This, however, does not negate the negative effects of the other types of tech addiction mentioned above.
The following are the types of technology that have a high chance of causing addiction:
Smartphones and Other Mobile Gadgets
Mobile devices allow for easy and constant access to various apps, games, and the internet. Mobile gadgets also remove time barriers like screen time limits associated with other tech devices like the personal computer.
This is probably the most common cause of technology addiction; it’s so typical, in fact, that internet addiction has also become an umbrella term for other technology-related disorders. The internet makes for excessive online activities including social media scrolling and web browsing, and excessive use of gadgets.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and other social media platforms are also common vehicles that lead to technology addiction. This one is especially typical among teens and young adults. Social media fulfills the need for connection, although most of the time, it perpetuates a false sense of relationship. It also breeds the so-called fear of missing out (FOMO).
Video and Computer Games
Video games and other computer games have become more addicting with the onset of the internet and real-time multiplayer online gaming. It feeds the need to be good at something and the need to escape into an alternate universe or world through the settings of various games.
How Do You Stop Technology Addiction?
Technology addiction is a serious matter that should be addressed as early as possible. There are even treatment programs designed specifically for technology addiction – this is how serious it has become.
Before you get to the point of needing to go to treatment programs, start your own digital detox to put a stop to tech addiction or at least have better control over your digital use. You can read up on helpful articles from various websites like Digital Addicts.
Here are 5 useful tips to help put a stop to technology addiction.
Avoid Idle Moments
Idle moments are when you are most likely to reach for your phone and start scrolling through social media apps, go shopping online, or just browsing the web. The next thing you know, six hours have passed and you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.
End idle moments by having creative projects, setting aside some reading or writing time, planning a workout session, or doing just about anything else that is more meaningful and productive.
Turn Off Notifications
You’ve probably heard of social media detox. While this is a great way to stop technology addiction, particularly to social media, the prospect can be rather overwhelming. Another way to go about this more effectively is to start small like turning off your notifications. If you don’t hear that tell-tale ding or notification sound, then you are less likely to get ahold of your phone and be ensnared into hours of scrolling through social media.
Unplug Before Bed
Develop a healthier lifestyle by setting a sleep time for yourself. Couple this by disconnecting your gadgets from the internet and unplugging your mobile devices or putting them on silent mode.
Have Technology or Digital Breaks
Plan for some breaks from technology. As mentioned, you can set a time to work out or read instead of being on your mobile devices. You can also set more specific times wherein you should not be on your phone. For example, from 9 am to 12 noon, you should not be on social media, or simpler, shorter breaks like your phone should be inside a drawer for 15 to 30 minutes.
Use Available Technology
You can take advantage of available apps that will help avoid technology overuse.
Some apps warn you if you’ve gone over your self-imposed internet limit or that would lock your phone after a certain amount of time.
Technology addiction is even worse than substance abuse in that technology is far more accessible.
Also, parents and other supervising adults may even unknowingly be perpetuating this kind of addiction. Take care of your whole family’s physical and mental health by ensuring a healthy balance between your digital life and real life.