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Am I addicted to Technology: Signs That You May Need a Digital Detox

Am I addicted to Technology

Technology has provided us with countless developments and benefits as a society. In some shape or form, we all live, breathe, and eat technology- it has become a part of who we are!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology enabled people to stay connected with their loved ones and occupy themselves during the lockdown. The downside to this, however, is that technology addiction is alive, rampant, and real!

Unfortunately, because technology is embedded in our everyday lives, this addiction is overlooked despite it being ridiculously overt!

Am I addicted to Technology, and How Do I Tell?

Is screentime the last thing you do at night and the first thing you do in the morning? Do you look for your device as soon as you wake up out of habit and not urgency?

If the answer is yes, these are symptoms of addiction!

Tech Addiction

For example, many of us have developed an unhealthy desire to catch up with everything we’ve missed via social media the moment we open our eyes.

Technology affects authentic communication, and you only need to go to a restaurant or any social setting to confirm this. It has become a societal norm for individuals to be seated at a restaurant with their phones out, engaging with a device rather than each other. Ignoring one another in exchange for a relationship with our phones has almost become the giant elephant in the room that no one wants to address. 

Can you say you are fully present in a conversation without looking at your phone?

How Much Time Do You Spend on Digital Devices?

Monitoring our physical diet to increase our quality of life is expected and acceptable, but what about our digital diet? Several studies detail digital devices’ negative impact on our physical and mental health. One alarming study explores the effects limiting digital screen use has on well-being, mood, and biomarkers of stress in adults. The report cites the positive impact the reduced use of digital devices has on mental health.

Over the years, digital providers like Apple and Android have introduced ways for users to track screen time to cultivate healthier screen habits. It is practical and best practice to monitor how much time you are spending on your device.

How Much Time Do I Need to Spend Before It Becomes a Concern? 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here as most people, for example, will use some form of technology for their jobs. However, if we look at the use of digital devices on a personal or social level, we can answer this question!

Research published in 2021 discovered that young Americans in their early twenties used their phones an average of 28.5 hours a week in 2020- up from 25.9 hours per week in 2018.”

While there is no official magic number for how much screen time adults should have per day, there is clear evidence that too much screen time can be detrimental to our health.

This study found that individuals spending six hours or more a day were at risk of depression.

One of the more significant questions to ask yourself is how much time you spend on social media. For many people, much screen time will be dedicated to social media, so if we start there, we may be closer to establishing digital boundaries.

Limiting social media use to 30 minutes a day has been proven to cause an increase in positive mental health.

How Soon After You Wake Up Do You Look for Your Phone?

Do you wake up, and your first instinct is to reach for the phone and catch up on what the world has offered while you sleep?  Or are you the type to think about the day, meditate/ reflect first?

Screentime

I hear those without a traditional alarm clock saying, ‘Well, I use my phone as an alarm clock, so I have to look for it!’ Okay, let’s spin this on the head and ask, ‘How long does it take after you’ve cancelled the alarm before you scroll through the phone?’

According to a survey by Qualtrics and Accel Partners, 79% of Millennials put their phones right by them when they sleep and 53% wake up at least once every night to check them. Not only that, but nearly 60% check their phones even before they use the bathroom in the morning.

Analyzing our waking behavioral patterns can help us identify technology addiction symptoms.

What To Do If You Are Addicted to Technology

Acknowledging an addiction is never easy, but it cultivates a desire for change. If you feel that you have an addiction to technology, one of the first things to do is put active measures in place to reduce your activity significantly. 

Identify the core areas fuelling this addiction. Many people will find that social media is their kryptonite. Therefore, you can set app limits for Android and Apple as a way to sober up from this addiction.

Finding technology-free ways to entertain yourself is also a good thing to do. If, for example, you love reading and own a Kindle or listen to audiobooks, opt for physical hard copies where possible.

If you feel you are not equipped to set these boundaries, seek professional help. Trained therapists, specifically in addiction, will be able to assist you.

Is Technology Addiction Dangerous? 

The jury is out on whether this addiction is dangerous, but we can firmly say it is serious! The growing impacts on health and well-being are concerning and something not to be ignored.

Is Technology Addiction Dangerous? 

Technology addiction can impact the brain’s ability to produce natural feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine, as well as lead to increased impulsivity. Technology addiction can also lead to severe physical health problems such as headaches, weight gain or loss, backaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome.’

Conclusion

Technology is one of those things that won’t be going anywhere and is a part of who we are and a contributor to how we function in society. 

We addressed some health implications concerning the excessive use of digital devices but also wanted to highlight technology’s negative impact on human relationships. Technology is impacting the way we interact and spend time with each other.

There is nothing like authentic, undivided attention when you are around those you care about, so the next time you pick up your device, be mindful and ask yourself,

“Am I present in my surroundings?”

After all, it is always possible to replace a device, but replacing the people we love is not so easy!

Since we rely on technology so much, admitting an addiction to it will seldom be easy or met without reluctance. However, a healthy and balanced approach to technology is realistic and something we can all implement successfully. 

Finally, it is important to remember that addiction in any form should never be taken lightly, and necessary steps should be taken!



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