By DJ Spigener, MA, LMHC
As technology continues to develop at an incredible rate, its presence in our lives becomes more and more notable. While the modern conveniences of things like online banking apps, GPS, video games, or streaming electronic media may enable us to spend our time and energy more efficiently, there is always the potential that constant reliance on technology may lead to a form of problematic dependence. More research is being performed every day on this topic, with the National Institutes of Health recently commissioning a study on the potential risks of addiction with heavy internet use and online gaming (2017).
However, a formal diagnosis for “technology addiction” has not yet been developed. This article intends to provide some guidelines to determine if your use of technology has become problematic and how to resolve such an issue.
- Your Use of Technology Has Begun to Disrupt Your Daily Routine
If you find that your daily routine has begun to form around your use of technology, this is a strong sign that your relationship with technology has become problematic. This often takes the form of delaying healthy self-care activities, such as eating regular meals or maintaining a consistent sleeping routine, due to being enthralled by our cell phones, televisions, or computer monitors.
- Your Use of Technology Has Begun to Disrupt Your Relationships Human communication has evolved at a rapid pace in order to keep up with new methods of interaction afforded by technology. The number of competing social networking apps and communities (such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Tinder, and countless others) vying for our attention can be overwhelming at times. While these apps may offer us the ability to easily connect with others over long distances, to meet people with common interests, or to share aspects of our lives with friends and family, they are missing many of the key components necessary to build healthy relationships with the people who are physically with us. If you are finding that use of technology has become a problem in your own personal relationships, designating a day and time with your partners or family members during which devices are silenced and put away can help to remedy any relationship conflicts brought on by an unhealthy dependence on technology.
- Your Use of Technology Has Begun to Disrupt Your Education or Career Another surefire sign that your use of technology may becoming problematic is if it begins to negatively affect your ability to function in work or school settings. If you are finding yourself struggling with punctuality, failing to meet important deadlines, or falling short of your academic goals, it may be time to take a step back and look at how an unhealthy relationship with technology might be affecting your ability to function in day-to-day life.
While I have discussed some of the most obvious and troubling signs of technology addiction, there are a multitude of other warning signs that your use of electronics may be negatively impacting your life. If you are interested in learning more about this issue, or hold concerns that you or a loved one may be struggling with such an unhealthy reliance on technology, please reach out to Total Health Guidance to learn more about our holistic approach to counseling and wellness.