By: Natalie Newman
Technology usage has become a normal activity in everyone’s daily lives. The more advanced our technology gets, the more people want to buy more. Whether it’s the new iPhone or a new computer, technology has grown to be a necessity in our lives, topping our survival lists near food, water, and shelter. But, why do we spend so much time using it? Why is it so hard to put our phone down for just 5 minutes to have a simple, focused conversation?
The answer is simple; addiction. As technology becomes more developed and our society grows, we become obsessed with the idea of being able to carry our whole lives on one little screen. From school documents to important text messages and social media, our lives revolve around a handheld device to keep everything safe. It is important to understand the addictions we are developing to our phones before they become irreversible. Now, throwing away all your devices and hiding from the world won’t make the situation any better, but learning how to understand when it is a good time to put your device down can make a major impact on your everyday life. You’ll realize there is more to the real world than social media posts and internet games.
At this point in our lives, the use of technology is inevitable. But it’s not whether we use it, but how we use it that can ultimately change our perspectives on a day-to-day basis. Think about the most basic scenario; whether it’s getting a poor grade on a test or getting in an argument with your mom. Now, think about your initial reaction when you’re in a situation like that. What do you turn to? The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation states, “Technology impacts the pleasure systems of the brain in ways similar to substances. It provides some of the same reward that alcohol and other drugs might: it can be a boredom buster, a social lubricant, and an escape from reality.” You become dependent on your device to provide you with the happiness you did not encounter at that moment. On the other hand, a quick escape from reality has the possible effect of negativity.
The moment your “social battery” runs out, what do you turn to? When you get frustrated and need to take a break, what do you turn to? We’ve all been there; you’re at a party or in a room full of people you don’t know, so you pull out your phone. In pulling out your phone, you’re not only detaching yourself from the world around you, but you’re making yourself appear closed off and unfriendly. Next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to pull out your phone to decrease uncomfortability, try taking a deep breath and starting a conversation with someone. Tell them you like their shoes, or their hair, or their clothes. Chances are, you won’t regret keeping your phone put away, and you might even make a new friend. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, “Tech dependence can lead to teen consequences that span from mild annoyance when away from technology to feelings of isolation, extreme anxiety, and depression.” The dependence on technology increases as our perception of the “real world” decreases, due to the fact that we cannot go a few hours without our devices. So even if it means putting your phone down for an hour, or cutting out video games, the difference it will make in your life can be drastic. Go for a walk, learn how to skateboard; the solution to your problems can’t always be fixed at the swipe of your thumb.
For more information on technology addictions, look out for future blogs and check out Why are screens so addictive?
- What is one way you can cut out the amount of technology used in your life?
- What can technology be compared to in your life? Why?
- Imagine a day of no technology (no cellphones or any device). What would you do that day?
- Do you think technology plays a large role in your life? Why or why not?
- Try to think of a time you took out your phone when you shouldn’t have. What would have been different if you had chosen to keep it put away?
- Why do you think people of all ages are becoming addicted to technology? Give a reason for babies, children, teens, adults, and the elderly technology addictions.
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