Technology has brought many changes in our daily lives. It is rather unthinkable that one could walk on the moon; talk with someone thousands of miles away and yet see him on the phone or iPad. The enormous amount of information or pictures can now be stored on small CDs or USBs. One can access any type of information using various search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. The present generation has got addicted to the web and social networking sites and feel like a fish out of water if their phone is lost or are denied access to the Net. This has thus resulted in diminished personal social interaction. The dependence on technology has therefore changed the very fibre of society.
Internet has not only condensed the world, but also affected lives. Here are some latest reports on internet use:
In a national web-based survey reported by Ha et al., 2014 showed that poor health, unhappiness, depression were significantly related to internet addiction
in both male and female teens. Higher risk of internet addiction was observed in depressed girls than in depressed boys.
In an Italian study reported by Bruno et al., 2014, showed that prevalence of internet addiction in high school students was 3.9% and males were more likely to get addicted compared to females. Most common internet activities were online games and online chatting with friends.
Senormanci et al in 2014 reported that individuals addicted to internet had greater feelings of depression
and rated their family functioning as more negative as compared to controls. A similar study by Yan in 2014 also showed that internet addicted individuals had worse family functioning, low extraversion, high neuroticism, and history of more stressful life events.
Ways to Overcome Technology Addiction
- According to research, at least 64% people spend 4 hours of their leisure time in front of the computer. This is similar to watching TV and is therefore associated with increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes. To kick out this habit, here are few tips:
Solution: Go for a walk, cycling or get some physical activity for at least an hour before logging on to your computer. Do rearranging of your furniture so that television is no longer a focal point of the room. Read book or magazine and make a point that you would be reading minimum 10 pages before turning on your computer. Create a list of activities or projects such as cleaning up of messy cupboard, organizing recipes, painting on bedroom walls, sorting out sewing materials.
- Smartphones today find its application in checking the bank balance, investing, sharing photos, chatting. Imagine the impact of losing it and this would then add up to a lot of anxiety and stress. There are times when you will feel itís just vibrated, but it may be a false alarm. Sometimes you run back home while going to store just to pick your phone. Getting poor grades in school can also be blamed to cell phone addiction.
Solution: At dinner, allow yourself to check messages for one minute before dinner. Then keep your phone facing downwards on the table in silent mode until your meal is over. Knowing that you will be checking again will refrain your brain from obsession. Keep your brain from being overloaded by strolling for 15 min outside or flipping a book with photographs of natural environments. This method of exposing yourself to nature will help your brain to focus better. Find your pleasure point or retrain your brain by actively doing something that makes you happy, instead of always reaching into your pocket. Learn moderation and limit use of technology by leaving your cell phone at home one day a week. There may be a feeling of anxiety, but life wonít end and you will find a way to overcome anxiety. Make a list of things you would like to do and try them out in your spare time, instead of hanging out on the phone.
- Social networking sites have revolutionized computer use among young and adults, and is now catching fast, whether, it's Facebook, Twitter or personal blog. Though there are lots of good things to be connected, but social networking sites take a toll on your health. Research shows that frequent users have signs of obsessive compulsive disorder to attention deficit disorder.
Solution: Reset your brain to better control to surf, text or tweet and put your mind at ease by taking scheduled "tech breaks". Limit your time on social networking sites and use your time on internet surfing for holidays, reading news websites or looking for books.
- Wasting time on the computer is easy and lots of kids have problems with spending too much time on the computer. Addiction to games on the computer is as powerful as drug addiction. Excessive usage could lead to serious problems down the road.
Solution: Parents should communicate with their children about the effects of excessive computer usage. Move the computer to an open area and out of the children's bedroom if they are facing any problems in the desire to escape. Set up a password so that only you (parent) can log on to it. Find out to what degree your children are addicted and what activity they do on the computer. Set up a time limit on the amount of time your child can spend on the computer per day. Check the internet browsing history to see what websites children are visiting or install a keylogger to monitor the program they are using.
- Video game addiction can be referred to as an impulse control disorder devoid of the intoxicating drugs, but very similar to that of the pathological gambling. Statistics shows that men and boys are more likely to be addicted as compared to women and girls. It has been found that nearly 1 in 10 youth gamers (ages 8-18) can be classified as pathological gamers. Gaming addiction can cause personal, family, academic, financial and occupational problems. Those suffering from this kind of addiction spend more time with self and less time with real people around them and are often viewed as socially awkward. In addition, these gamers can create on-line personas or avatars, where they can create fake identities. People attempting to quit gaming addiction can have withdrawal symptoms including anger, anxiety, fear, irritability, sadness, loneliness, boredom, restlessness, stomach upset. It can also cause physical discomfort and medical problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, dry eyes, backaches, severe headaches, and irregular eating habits like skipping meals, lacking personal hygiene and disturbed sleep.
Solution: First step is to determine if there is any such problem. If yes, then help should be sought from a certified addiction counselor who is trained in identification and treatment of such addictions, so as to determine the appropriate level of care. Learn moderation and limit the use of games even on phones; experiment with short periods of inaccessibility or electronic-free time. Go green and choose outdoor activities like playing outside and other physical activities rather than spending time indoors. Find a buddy or accountability partner with whom you can enjoy, share and spend time. Donít walk alone on the road to recovery as old habits die hard.
With every passing day, technology is taking over our daily lives, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, career or economic status. Anything can be abused, but moderation is the key. It is best to use and appreciate technology moderately without letting it rule our lives or hinder those around us.