The things we know as technology is everywhere now. As we live in an age of technology, these things are not going anywhere. The more time passes, people are getting more connected to technology. Now we see teenagers staring down at their phones, or keep their eyes glued with a laptop or tablet. This is called technology addiction. Instead of observing the world around them they are busy in the virtual world. It’s not unusual now to see two guys sitting together texting on their mobiles rather than talking to each other. The fact is, teenagers are so addicted to technology that it is a vital part of their daily life.
Technology addiction is not always a easy thing to recognize. Since all of us have to use technology daily at home, school, or work. Word is, tech addiction is even harder to admit than to find out. That is why it’s important to understand everything about this addiction, including the causes, symptoms, risks and how to recover from it.
The term of technology addiction can be defined such as obsessive tech related behavior regularly and increasingly done by someone despite of negative consequences to himself/herself. Over-dependence on technology impacts on our lives. We have to use technology to survive in this modern world but a severe overreliance on technology that is called technology addiction can also be very devastating on our social and personal lives. This dependence can lead to many consequences like mild annoyance to feelings of isolation, extreme anxiety, and depression when away from technology.
All technologies we use fulfill our natural needs daily for interaction, simulation and changes in environment. When teenagers have experiences of stress like romantic rejection or poor result on an exam, technology becomes the quickest and easiest way to find some relief, and such way it can become addictive too. Technology impacts on the pleasure system of the human brain in ways similar to other addictive substances. It provides with some of the results that alcohol and other drugs give. Smart phones and tablets, computer games, social media and the Internet provides many delicious offers that can create dependence on technology and negative results for youth.
The Internet is a multifunctional tool that brings us very close to an enormous amount of data and information at a very unprecedented speed. By design the Internet is user friendly. We have access to the web now from everywhere such as on our computers, through phones, tablets and watches. This much connectivity to the Internet causes addiction. A commonly said term is FOMO for teens and young adults. FOMO means fear of missing out in which young people increasingly feel that they need to stay connected to the Internet,
Related to this, some people said that they use the Internet-based social media platforms like “facebook”, “Tweeter” etc as a method to divert or diminish their depression and anxiety. There is so much accessibility to use the Internet; it is just as hard to stay away from it at any time.
Video and computer games:
Human psychology says that we want to feel autonomous, competent, and related to other people all time. Here come the video games for our use to this cause. These video games allow its players to feel that they are good at doing something. Games offer a variety of choices to players. This creates a sense of autonomy that they are in control of everything, for teenagers who might feel out of control otherwise.
The goals are often used to lure people in video games that drive people to pursue success in the real world. As someone gets virtual wealth or prestige and power by spending time on games and advancing through its various levels, virtual wealth can make them feel wealthy and addicted to that wealth. People can feel addicted to games and its purchasing power within an online game or a reputation within an online gamer’s community.
Gamers can find themselves connected to other gamer’s who share their gaming experiences through YouTube channels or blogs or websites or facebook groups which are dedicated to discussion about their game of choice with others. Same as the Internet, games are becoming increasingly accessible to teenagers via mobile apps on their smart phones that never leave their pockets.
While there is room for social connection in the gaming universe, this space also provides a potential escape from reality into a digital world where players get to assume new identities more appealing or more novel than those they hold in the real life.
Smart phones and lifestyle technologies:
These are the mobile and flexible machines that have the power to constantly connect people with each other and with the internet. Smart phones, tablets, and other smart devices like the Apple Watch or the Amazon Echo provokes technology addiction by removing the time from online activities that required logging into a desktop or a laptop computer source in the past.
Social media is the most relentless example of technology addiction. Social media presents relevant information about individuals in the easiest ways. Data is stored centralized, in personalized portals, and secure, like Facebook’s newsfeed, YouTube’s subscription, or Tweeter’s follower-ship.
Social media feeds our need for connections to others by allowing us to share anything with those who are far from us in the means of time, geography, or social status. We need to keep human contact for emotional and psychological health because of our social nature. Once addicted to it, people gets so much dependent on it that there is almost no turning back.
Identifying the signs of technology addiction is the first and most important step to starting on the road to recovery. There are several symptoms that indicate to the addiction to tech stuff.
Regular symptoms include:
- Repeated checking on text messages
- Frequently changing of Facebook status
- Regular uploading of “selfies”
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of interest in non technology activities that don’t involve a computer or phone
- Feelings unstable when unable to go online
Other signs of technology addiction include:
- Neglecting friends and family relentlessly
- A deep sense of euphoria while plugged in to internet
- Skimping on sleep
- Dishonesty about net usage
- Retracting from outdoor activities that were pleasurable once
- Feeling anxious, ashamed, guilty or depressed about it
Physical symptoms of technology addiction:
- Gaining or losing weight
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Repeated and long time headaches
- Neck and backaches
- Red eyes
Technology is certainly not bad at all. But overuse of technology certainly can create certain severe risks to the users, especially to teenagers. Addiction to technology is definitely not a good thing to learn to.
Technology can provide a false sense of relational security to people as they communicate with unseen people around the world. The speed of technology makes everything super fast which a teenager might be looking for. Teens want everything available to them within seconds, which encourages an ugly and unhealthy desire for instant gratification inside their mind. After feeding on speedy technology, a slow internet connection or unplugging will make irritability and anxiety for those teenagers.
Sleeping disorders develops because teens stay up all night to play games or to chat via social networks. They spend all night up dealing with technology, as a result their academic, athletic, and social performance can suffer. Weight gain or loss and other complications such as cardiovascular disease, may arise because of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. Social communication skills may deteriorate also.
For a technology addicted individual, the mind becomes unstable and unable to catch the difference between the lived reality and the alternate realities that were produced by instant stimulation, pleasure, and reward in games or virtual reality. The extreme use of technology, as a result can disrupt normal patterns of livelihood as well as mood and socialization skills in teenagers. This crude dependency upon social media, gaming, internet browsing or other platforms to function can become the new and unhealthy normal lifestyle for new generations.
Research says that the brain activity of tech addicts and drug addicts are quite the same. Another word is that those who are addicted to technology are more likely to also use drugs. Addiction to technology also leads to other addiction such as drug addiction, sex addiction etc. Tech addicts likely sit on chairs for a long time of the day, thus they consider cigarettes and alcohol as recreation. It seems reasonable that, if we can stop technology addiction, we also may be able to prevent other explicit and risky addicted behavior and more dangerous consequences of them to teenagers.
This addiction can cause damage to brain systems which are used to connect the emotional processing, attention, and decision-making. These systems are affected in both substance addicts and technology addicts. This means that being a technology addict can, in many ways be physically damaging same as alcohol and other drug addiction.
Technology will only grow on its verge while it is in its use in teens’ worlds. Preventing technology addiction among these teenagers means finding a balance within their lives, so that they do not misuse their technology options as an escape from real world. Rather than that they can face real life challenges, emotions, socialization, or identity that will help. Adults can also help children and teens have healthy relationships to technology.
Adults can take steps like:
Balance activity and productivity with healthy stress management: Stress management at home really can help. Everything we do in life requires energy to do, and often teenagers feel like they have too little energy to spend on these too many demands of life. If they are not guided properly by adults to discover healthy ways to live their lives and replenish their stores of energy, they may go to default by overusing easy fixes like games and internet for entertainment or stress relief that promotes technology addiction.
Social identity development in the real world: The adults and mostly parents must be proactive, creative, and excited as they help their kids to discover who they really are. We know once teenagers find something interesting and they are good at it and want to do it; they will naturally gravitate toward it. It is easier to create an Internet profile, but far more rewarding and exciting for teens to cultivate true purposes and genuine identities of themselves within their families, friends, schools, and other social communities.
Give treatment to problems: Inpatient and hurried treatment for technology addiction starts by the traditional way, by removing a teenager from both the Internet and the surroundings that allowed him to fall in a technology addiction. It is a form of intensive therapy though. Other treatment includes ways to help technology addicts to realize what they are missing and see the offline world as a more pleasurable place, without fully removing the online elements from their lives.