There is something called tech addiction

Michelle and the baby get up about 7 a.m. She already is on the phone with her best friend and as they talk she scans through Facebook while the toddler plays in the dog’s water bowl.

Frank gets annoyed with his wife when she says he spends all of his time playing games on his phone or wearing out the flat screen TV. He argues that he doesn’t but his wife isn’t the only one who has noticed.

Carol spends a good bit of time online with social media where she can “talk shop” with friends around the world about things that family and friends just don’t understand about her profession.

Technology addiction is thriving. When people become bored or lonely, they pull up their smartphones or tablets and find something to amuse or comfort them rather than talking to the people who are physically present in their lives. They may not even think about it or realize how much time they are losing. People just don’t realize how much time they are spending online. Smartphones do just about everything. That handheld computer is filled with interesting things to occupy your attention. You never have to be alone or bored as long as you have that mini-computer in your hand or within easy reach.

What did people do before there were cell phones and smart phones?

Do you depend on electronic devices?

Do you depend on electronic devices too much?

How have electronic devices affected you and your relationships?

If all of those devices were suddenly gone, how would that impact your life?

Paradigm magazine’s spring edition features an article on this very topic. Research shows that over-exposure is affecting behavior, emotions and academic performance.

“…a recent study examined how much a cell phone can impact a child’s educational performance. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that when they banned students’ ability to have a cell phone on campus in 91 schools, those 130,000 students had an increased academic performance…” And lower achieving students also saw improvement.

Symptoms of technology addiction are numerous including staying online longer than intended, using technology to escape problems or relieve feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt and helplessness, constantly checking the phone even when it doesn’t ring or vibrate, ignoring what’s happening in real time because you’re so involved with what’s happening in the virtual world.

Some things one who is addicted to technology might do are to: risk losing a relationship because of the Internet, lying about how much time is spent on the Internet, neglecting family and friends, not sleeping, withdrawing from other activities you used to enjoy, and dry, red eyes, among other things.

Addiction.com advises that men are more likely to have become over-involved with online gaming, cyberporn and online gambling while women are more apt to become addicted to sexting, texting, social media and online shopping. The website also says that more than 70 percent of Internet addicts also have other addictions, at least one: alcohol, drugs, sex or smoking. The effects of all of these on humans are very similar.

Moderation is the key. Too much of anything may not be good for you. A good place to start to disconnect with technology and reconnect with family is mealtime: no phones at the supper table. And it’s OK to walk away from your phone. If the call is important, they will call you back or leave a message. It isn’t necessary to check email every time the alert goes off or first thing as you get out of bed. Strive for your well being.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org.

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