Addressing Technology Addiction And Digital OveruseJun 07, 2023
Technology has been developing for centuries, but the digital age has ushered in a new era filled with possibilities and repercussions our ancestors could only imagine. With this rise in digital technology, it makes sense to identify the inevitable side effects, evaluate how they’re affecting us, and determine how we can reduce the harm they inflict.
Common Types Of Tech Addiction 😱
There are six main areas of technology addiction. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Everywhere you turn, commercials for new and more immersive games present themselves. Gaming has become a huge industry, drawing in many youth, young adults, and even middle aged adults. Gaming revenues are reaching into the hundreds of billions globally, surpassing the movie industry over the course of the last decade. It’s estimated that there are over 2 billion gamers worldwide.
One of the reasons gaming is so addictive is that it gives many of the same feelings as real life, but with much less work and actual risk. For young men especially, video games give a sense of accomplishment by releasing the same chemicals as a job well done, but without the actual hard work associated with completing a real task.
Social Media Addiction
Social media is another technology related addiction. Many are caught in the endless cycle of comparison, escapism, and entertainment. Careful algorithms crafted to hold attention for as long as possible put catered content in front of you in an endless feed. This leads to hours of time a week devoted to this feed on various platforms.
Online Gambling Addiction
Like many other things with the advent of digital technology, gambling has become easier and more accessible due to gambling websites and apps. This has introduced gambling to a new audience, and strengthened the pull on those already struggling with an addiction to gambling in a casino.
Pornography is what comes to most people’s minds when they think of a technology related addiction. And as technology continues to expand, there is, unfortunately, more access than ever before to this destructive content. The negative results on families and the culture are far reaching, leading to more shallow, physically focused relationships, infidelity, and higher instances of sexual abuse.
Online Shopping Addiction
If you struggled with shopping binges before, new online marketplaces only make it easier to indulge in this kind of behavior. Shopping online is made as rewarding as possible to make the purchase process more appealing, and the marketing is aggressive with beautiful imagery bombarding you from every angle to get you to buy.
Work-Related Digital Addiction
Technology has made it easier to work from anywhere, but this has also made it easier to become addicted to work. With the ability to take the office home with you, or if you work from home, the temptation is strong to continue to focus on work during home time, family time, or late into the night.
How A Technology Addiction Hurts Your Health 📲
There are many negative side effects of a technology addiction. Here are some of the most common examples.
Wasting hours of time with nothing to show for it, comparing ourselves to others, and seeking our own pleasure above those around us all contribute to depression, one of the most devastating side effects of a technology addiction.
Even as technology connects us to more people, it also isolates us as it takes us away from face-to-face interactions with loved ones and close friends. This has led to an uptick in loneliness and disconnection.
Saps Your Sleep
Addiction demands to be fed, heedless of our health or well-being. This often leads to poor decisions, the most common of which is staying up late to indulge in addictive behavior.
Short Attention Span
The massive amounts of input we experience from technology overstimulates our brains, causing our minds to go into overdrive to keep up with everything. Over time, our brains come to expect this level of stimulation, growing bored with anything too long or not exciting enough. This has led to an entire generation who has trouble focusing for longer periods of time.
Lack Of Movement
It comes as no surprise that technology addiction leads to more sedentary behavior. There are very few technology related activities that involve movement. This lack of movement leads to its own array of health and mood issues.
Poor Eating Choices
Like mentioned above, addiction leads to poor decision making. Another common area to suffer as a result of this is our diet. Poor food choices go hand in hand with technology addiction since the addiction typically gobbles up the time you would normally spend preparing healthy food. As a result, takeout, prepackaged junk food, or quick to prepare meals become the new diet of choice.
Simple Effective Ways To Reduce Your Tech Usages 🕰
Below are a few ideas to cut down on tech usage so you control your technology and not the other way round.
Step #1: Assess Your Current Usage
The first step is to take a hard look at how much you’re currently using technology. Many phones come with a screen usage tracker so you can keep an eye on how much you’re on your phone. A tool like this or a screen log can be great tools to help you have an accurate view of your technology usage.
Step #2: Cultivate Awareness
Part of this process is to continue educating yourself on the effects technology is having on you. Keeping your eyes open and a high awareness of the effects of technology will give you the motivation you need to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from overuse, and these negative side effects.
Step #3: Turn Off All Nonessential Notifications
Notifications are a huge distraction, and one of the biggest gateways to tons of wasted time on devices. Turning off all notifications but the most essential will help you reclaim a lot of time—time you could spend instead with family or on rejuvenating hobbies.
Step #4: Uninstall Social Media Apps Entirely
If certain social media apps are too much of a temptation, it could be worth it to delete them altogether. This might sound extreme, but when you think of the amount of your priceless time they are wasting, and the relationships that could be suffering as a result, uninstalling an app is a small price to pay to get that time back.
Step #5: Create Phone-Free Areas In Your Home
Being on the same page as a family is critical. Creating something like a phone-free area in your home can help keep time in that area focused on what really matters, free from device usage and the distraction it can bring.
Step #6: Schedule A Regular Tech Time-Out
This same principle applies to device-free times. Pausing device usage at certain times, like during meals, can add more quality to certain family times together, and strengthen your relationships as a result.
Step #7: Do Digital Detoxes
Every now and then, it could also be wise to do digital detoxes. This is as hard as it sounds, but like any detox, you’ll be mentally stronger, healthier, and more resilient afterward. This could just be going a full day without devices of any kind, or limiting yourself to calls and messages from family members for a week. Whatever you choose, taking the time to detox from technology and filling that time with family outings, sports, reading a good book, or making dinner as a family will help you refocus on what’s important, and undo some of the side effects of too much technology.
Keep Yourself Accountable 📝
➣ Choose one of the steps above to act on. Keep track of the results
➣ For more info, check out our Five Foundations courses
➣ Watch our YouTube video on this topic here
It's hard, but worth it 🎯
Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but it has also caused its share of problems. We’ve allowed it to distract us from what’s truly important, and carry us even faster down a dangerous path focused on meaningless things. However, if used properly, technology can help us prioritize what really matters. By being intentional with how we use technology, we can cut down on some of its negative side effects, and enjoy a greater focus on family and living meaningful lives.
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