Is technology addictive? The numerous benefits we attain from the wonderous use of the internet and technological devices are a gift to humankind by humans themselves.
The doubt that comes with the question of technology addiction also raises a question mark on the validity of this very gift of technology.
In the present age of science, computers, the internet, and digital technology, it is almost impossible to abstain from their use. It won’t be a bluff when it’s said that to imagine a life without technology seems a far unachievable dream in the present world.
Known to us all, technology has made our life so easy in various spheres of life, work, and functions. From offices to schools, banks to government operations, and international portfolios, all run on the internet today.
Games, entertainment, and knowledge; what is there that technology does not lead in? It is probably only the internet and technology today that can make one exclaim, “Life is a bed of roses.”
But, do you ever wonder if this bed of roses encompasses thorns too? Can the use of technology lead to serious neurological, and psychological problems? Is technology addictive?
It is interesting to know about the things we are so familiar with and dependent on in our lives today such as technology, and our favorite – the internet.
More interesting it is to know the numerous side effects of its use, technology addiction, what leads to it, people prone to such faults, and obviously – the prevention and cure. This is exactly what this blog deals with, and it surely intends to feed your curiosity. It won’t kill the cat, I promise!
What is Technology Addiction?
One would hardly imagine the number of people getting addicted to their screens, be it those of their mobile or smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
People do not realize that this addiction to the screen, this obsessive need for the excess use of technological devices and pieces of equipment, and the internet is a behavioral disorder that gives birth to serious neurological, psychological, and social problems.
Technology addiction can be defined as a behavioral addiction among numerous mental disorders, in which a person feels a compulsive need towards technology use.
Digital addiction or internet use disorder is often noticed in the form of excess and uncontrolled use of technology, longer periods of screen time, deteriorating physical health, messed up state of mind, irritation, poor social life, negative behaviors like substance use, and other disorders.
Before we go on any other thing, it is extremely important to realize that the determined and obsessive use of the internet is an addiction and not only a “bad” habit as some people mark when pointing out the prevalence of technology in the digital world today.
There is a minor difference between a habit and addiction. While a habit is something one incorporates through repeated acts over time intended to bring out some value or not at some times, an addiction is something that develops unknowingly via its repeated use because it provides one with a false sense of reward.
Profoundly seen in young adults, tech addiction is much similar to drug addiction. Mental health professionals have found that technological addiction causes similar changes in the thinking and behavioral patterns of people who are engrossed with drug or sex addiction.
But like other mental disorders and addictions, there are measures one can take to treat technology addiction. And they are effective if you are determined.
Is Technology Addictive? What Is the Cause of Technology Addiction?
Even though technology addiction isn’t described as a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is a real problem. At least, it is a real thing for people who go through it and thus suffer.
It is a problem that many people, especially teenagers and young adults, face in real life. If you still wonder – Is technology addictive? Then yes, technology is very much addictive, more specifically when it is uncontrolled and unmanaged. It is a behavioral addiction like other behavioral addictions or disorders.
Technology addiction may begin simply from spending excessive amounts of time playing video games or being on social media platforms, computer games, youtube videos, online shopping, and entertainment hub until it reaches a point where one involves in the uncontrolled and destructive use of screen media. And it becomes a problem, disrupting the normal function of your day.
To put it simply, when the use of the internet reaches a point where it disturbs the social life of a person and their psychological health, it is termed addiction.
Technology addiction does not have a particular reason behind it, not other than the manner we make use of technology and its devices.
Besides the all-knowing, mightily, most helpful, and bewitching technology which has everything that could cause addiction, it is because of the deterred healthy balance between the right use and wrong use of the internet which leads to digital addiction. Yes, it’s always about choices!
If one must point out the cause of technology addiction, it will always be the unregulated use and uncontrolled amounts of screen time being spent by people.
It can be in the form of excessive gaming, social media involvement, and many more. Whatever the cause is, one thing is known for sure its consequences are adverse.
6 Most Harmful Effects of Technology Addiction
There is no doubt that technology use has made the lives of people easier and more meaningful. The internet is the hub of everything.
With technology, we can book tickets online, make payments, watch TV shows and web series, play video and computer games, gain knowledge, do business, and so much more. You reading this post, and getting information about technology addiction is the gift of the internet too.
Like every coin which has two faces, internet technology has a face other than the one I mentioned above. And this one is darker and fatal, my friend.
1. Mental Health Problems, and Effects of Technology Addiction on Teenagers’ Minds
The most common and known negative consequence of technology addiction is mental health problems.
It ranges from neurological and psychological disorders like changed and problematic thinking and behavior patterns to obsession and irritation, and other problems such as depression and anxiety.
Tech addiction promotes an inferiority complex, ADHD, and FOMO while cornering its users from the real world. The lack of a proper social life causes depressed feelings of loneliness and makes it hard to interact.
Internet addiction is a curse because it completely ruins the mental health of the people who use it too much.
Mental health problems due to internet addiction disorder are more common in teenagers. Excessive use of the internet highly affects their mental health and transforms their brain’s ability to think and act.
This is simply because a teenager has a developing brain. It is easy for them to get addicted to things that make them feel happy, or excited in the short run. You know, this is exactly what the internet does.
Technology addiction creates similar brain chemistry as other addictions. It generates in the mind of a person a feeling of reward which is generally false. The body starts acting on its pleasure systems.
To feel the rush of dopamine, they start sticking to their screens in order to get that one like or qualify that one level in a video game which would make them feel the same pleasure again. Sounds pathetic, I know.
But, this is how it is. Internet addiction is prone to promote dependence in order to feel happiness. This gives birth to obsession, alcohol abuse, a prolonged state of sadness leading to depression, irritation, frustration and anger management problems, anxiety, and of course, there are more problems.
2. Sleep Disorders and Other Physical Health Problems
You must have guessed it. Besides the numerous mental health problems which happen due to technology addiction, physical health problems are very common.
Often people spent seriously long amounts of time watching a web series, surfing the net, or playing video games throughout the night thus disturbing the circadian rhythm of the body and the way it acts.
Longer amounts of screen time lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia because of the radiation which comes from the screens of various digital devices. Additionally, the radiation from mobile and laptop screens also leads to early aging.
Furthermore, technology addiction leads to other problems such as poor posture problems, for instance, bent back posture, neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder, and back pain, obesity or weight gain, gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, etc. Too much, no?
3. Gaming Disorder
Often young people develop gaming disorders as a result of technology addiction. Video games, computers, and online games have become a norm for the young generation today.
They spent long hours playing, and there is a serious dedication shown by some teenagers in playing those games today which you must agree, is worrisome.
There was a time when children used to go outside and play sports which kept them fit, improved their social skills, and gifted them with good mental health.
Now, they spent most of their time sticking to their screens and yelling into them, eyes boring into them to play with far-off people or worse, just bots.
Moreover, excessive gaming leads to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you don’t know, it is defined as the numbness caused in the fingers, wrist, hand, and arm of a person due to a nerve pinched in the wrist.
One of the major causes of this condition is the patterns of hand use which remains tiresomely the same for prolonged amounts of time online while gaming.
4. High Social Media Involvement, and Poor Social Life
One of the major parts of technology addiction is social media addiction. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to name a few, are one of the most widely used platforms in the present day. There are millions of people making use of it. One of them is most probably you. And definitely, me.
It is such a sad time today that many people with thousands of followers or friends online do not have even one or two genuine friends to help them in need.
Because high social media involvement guarantees likes and follows, which may help you earn money or may not, but it does not really present the same gratitude and happiness in real life when one starts to see it as a source of instant gratification and pleasure only.
Technology addiction snatches our time away from school, office work, social gatherings, and meetings which in turn deteriorates our opportunities for social interactions. It is so commonly known, a human being is a social animal.
It is extremely important for a person’s well-being to have friends and acquaintances with whom time can be spent.
We need to express ourselves, talk, and live among people to lead a normal and happy life. And do believe, it is more important than it seems.
5. Inferiority Complex, ADHD, and FOMO
Another curse thing that technology addiction gives birth to is problems like an inferiority complex, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) seeming symptoms, and FOMO or the fear of missing out.
Inferiority complex is the wrong idea of feeling less about oneself. For instance, social media feeds are addictive and people start obsessing over likes and followers. It brings bitterness, and the feeling of being inferior to people with more follows and likes.
Sounds stupid but that is what prolonged use of social media does to the way our mind thinks. Surfing over the internet and noticing people enjoying vacations in Bali when you have got to work or study incorporates the fear of missing out.
Addiction to screen media leads to frequent changes in the mood because now it depends on what we see, read, and listen to on digital platforms which is defining our mood patterns.
Technology impacts our thinking patterns and takes away the amount of time we can give to things that are really important.
6. Involvement in Pornography and Other Criminal Activities
The most serious effect of technology addiction is the involvement of people, particularly teenagers and young adults, in crime.
As mentioned before, the internet is home to everything. And everything includes the bad, and the rotten too. It opens access to the underworld, drugs and pornography, arms smuggling, human trafficking, and other serious crimes.
While it is not definite for people to get involved in these things as most of them run on the Dark Web which not everyone can access.
The fact that there is a probability of something like this happening cannot be ignored. Specifically, for teenagers who are not mature enough to understand, and can be easily misguided.
Prevention and Treatment of Technology Addiction
When it comes to curing technology addiction, the most important among all is taking preventive measures.
Although, this only works as long as the addiction is not too severe. In case of technology addiction being very horrendous, it is always better to seek help. And always remember, there is no shame in asking for help.
1. Developing Offline Hobbies
Developing a hobby that one really enjoys helps people spend their free time on something which would add value to their lives. In addition to it, hobbies cut out the excess time one spends online.
And honestly, don’t worry about finding a hobby. It can be anything that you would enjoy doing – dancing, singing, fitness, swimming, chess, painting, writing (on paper), etc.
2. Physical Exercise
Spending half an hour doing yoga or running, or an hour working out in the gym makes one feel good and develops a true sense of accomplishment. Workout keeps the body fit and the mind healthy, as has been said, “A healthy mind lives in a healthy body.”
There are various treatment centers and clinics that help people fight their addiction to the internet and curtail their screen time.
Through numerous therapies which are used to treat behavioral addictions such as individual therapy, group therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy, the treatment of digital addiction is made easier for people.
There is nothing wrong with the technology itself. It is here to make our lives easy and meaningful. The wrong lies in its use.
While most people do not get addicted to the use of technology, many are prone to developing such an addiction, and it can be devastating. Research shows that technology addiction, a lot of times, also leads to substance use and drug addiction.
Careless use of technology is a monster disguised as a pixie that attracts from its magical sprinkles and then locks one in a cage. Technology is a pandora’s box with no limits.
We may get lost in its excitement, and this has to be prevented to live a happy, meaningful, and enriched life.
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