5 Signs That You Have a Technology Addiction
1) At the dinner table, you can’t eat without looking at a screen
2) The first thing you do in the morning before even talking to someone is picking up your device.
3) People have complained to you, more than once, that you aren’t listening to them because you are “device distracted”
4) Family members have said, “can you look at me while I am talking?”.
5) Your children or yourself have a meltdown if they can’t have access to their device.
A couple sits in a high-end restaurant, relaxing for the first time in weeks since becoming new parents. Their child safely with a sitter, they stare down at the table, faces stone, not saying a word to each other. In any other era, anyone would have said they had just been in an argument, but in recent years it simply means they are both on their phones.
When we think of addiction, we typically think of things like cigarettes or alcohol. Technology is so indoctrinated into our lives that it is hard to think of it as an addiction, yet psychologists and other health professionals are beginning to recognize it as a real problem.
What is a technology addiction?
We all need some amount of technology to lead a normal life. Using computers at work is often unavoidable, and we use our phones to help coordinate schedules with work, family, and friends. These are all normal and healthy behaviors, and to a certain extent so playing games and checking social media.
When checking your phone or playing games begins to take over your daily life, however, using technology tips over into addiction. If you choose to stay home and play video games instead of going to a party, or you are constantly scanning your social media at a party instead of being in the moment, you may be addicted.
Did you know in extreme cases, people have even died from their addictions? Two gamers have already passed away this year in Taiwan from excessive gaming, and some parents have even let their infants starve to death because they were too focused on their screens. What a world!
Of course, most of us don’t go to these extremes with our technology, but we also can’t seem to put our phones down, even giving up on experiences rather than simply having them. How many of us have gone to an event with our kids, only to see every moment through the eye of a camera, or clicking away on our phones? At concerts today you can’t even see the stage through the sea of extended arms holding phones.
Combating technology addiction
Despite overwhelming evidence that technology addiction can and does, there is no formal diagnosis of technology addiction. The closest is internet gaming disorder, which has been marked for study, but not yet been researched. This doesn’t mean that technology addiction doesn’t exist, simply that no research has been done on the topic yet.
If you’re concerned about screen addiction for yourself or your loved ones, there are several options that can help you make a healthier approach to technology. These include giving yourself specific guidelines to go by
- Avoid using your cell phone while eating. Chick Fila even had at one time, time out boxes for cell phones on the tables in the restaurant.
- For an hour before bed, and any time during the night.
- For children, pediatricians recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time per day, and none except for video chatting with children under the age of 18 months.
We don’t need to get rid of technology in order to live a fulfilled and happy life, but we do need to remember to look up from our screens and live the life that is going on right in front of us..
Parents, couples, and children will all benefit if we take this electronic intrusion seriously in the coming years.
Contact Steven Brand LCSW if you would like to set up an appointment for psychotherapy counseling in Roswell.