But what an exaggeration! Talk about addiction to technology, to mobile! You can’t even use your mobile anymore because they consider you an addict!… These phrases are heard daily and, perhaps, you have been the protagonist of some of them. What happens is that technology works almost like an extension of the body; represents an important support for different activities, and much of the time technological devices are on hand.
Now, it doesn’t mean that you have to demonize it. When its use is timely and moderate, it actually brings numerous benefits. Isn’t it easier to get somewhere by consulting with your cell phone, instead of having a map drawn? Of course yes.
The downside occurs when the devices and the connection to them becomes the center of life. When there is no control and its use is excessive. In such cases, an addiction is said to be present, as an inability to “think without it” develops. How to identify it? What to do to face it? On this occasion, we detail it.
What is Technology Addiction?
Like any other addiction, it is said that there is technological addiction when a person has difficulty controlling the use or the need to use any device of this type. Consequently, anxiety, stress, irritability, among other reactions appear.
Although there is no unified position, this type of action is part of ” behavioral addictions “. In these cases, it is not a matter of dependence on a substance, but rather behavioral patterns that generate and maintain the addiction.
It is even the body itself that begins to produce more substances such as dopamine to feel good. The downside is that you need more and more reinforcement and gratification to achieve this.
For their part, authors such as Echeburúa, Labrador and Becoña (2009) mention that a behavioral addiction can be understood in a broad sense, with the following elements:
- Loss of control.
- Establishment of a dependency relationship.
- Tolerance, which implies the progressive need for more time and dedication.
- Interference and serious impairment in daily life.
In other words, it is not about the behavior itself (for example, cell phone use), but about the relationship that is established with the technological device.
Causes of technology addiction
When we talk about the causes of addiction, it is impossible to establish just one. One should think about multi-causal relationships between different factors, ranging from psychological predisposition to factors linked to the social and personal.
However, we must not lose sight of the fact that technology and video games are designed to be impressive, to enchant. Therefore, there is already a first obstacle to overcome. Under acts, in principle harmless, such as playing video games, an addiction can develop whose approach is usually long after its onset, precisely because of its normalization.
How does technology affect people?
Technology addiction produces different effects in people’s lives, as it causes a deterioration not only in health, but also in interpersonal relationships. Some of these consequences are the following:
- Sleep impairment, such as trouble sleeping or insomnia.
- Difficulty holding attention and concentrating. Distractions
- Memory difficulties. As the person does not pay real attention to situations, as he is aware of technology, he has difficulties to record and remember information.
- Anxiety and hyperstimulation.
- Difficulties in socializing and communicating.
- Changes in moods. Irritability and a bad mood occur when another person tells you about their addiction, or when they cannot access the use of technology.
- In some cases, nomophobia occurs , which is the irrational fear of being left without a mobile or not being able to use it.
- Do not normalize long and untimely use of technology.
How You Can Avoid Technology Addiction
There are some strategies that allow you to control your addiction to technology. However, it must be considered that it is often necessary to seek professional help. Here are several recommendations:
- Limit the hours of use. For example, alarms can be set to indicate when it is time to disconnect from the cell phone or when a certain amount of use is exceeded.
- Carry out other activities that do not involve the use of technology. For example, a sport, a dance class, and so on.
- Find replacements for the use of technology. It is common to use the cell phone to check the time, but many times that simple action is the trigger to start checking emails or looking at WhatsApp notifications . In this case, for example, it is advisable to avoid the use of the cell phone and replace it with a watch.
- At home, you have to establish some rules for the use of technology and ensure that everyone complies with them. For example, at dinner you cannot use the device or you cannot watch television.
- Especially since the pandemic, many activities “merged” into one place, the home. For this reason, many began to use the smartphone and the computer to work even during lunch hours. Avoid these habits and take breaks between activities.
Avoidance is not the solution
There are those who will say that they do not use a cell phone or use technology because they do not want to get “hooked” or “become addicted” to these devices. However, this is not recommended either because it is an avoidance strategy, rather than coping.
That is, instead of learning to regulate yourself, you run away from the potential harmful stimulus. In this way, far from being empowering, the person becomes more vulnerable to being unable to face situations where they must set limits and exercise self-control.
Again, technology is not the cause of all ills, nor is it the only cause of addiction. It is important to have a broader look at the problem in order to think of better use strategies.