Before we begin, we must admit that we love technology. In fact, we run a tech company so of course we enjoy immersing in new inventions & ways to make things faster and better.
That being said, there is often a dark side to things that many people don’t realize.
We believe it’s important to warn & help people about the risks of technology so as to use tech wisely. That is, we want you to use technology, and for the technology to not use you.
In a recent study, 50% of young adults with phones admitted to “feeling addicted” to their smartphone. Even if they felt in control most of the time, they still felt like a part of them was controlled by it.
Simple observation of teenagers with phones will lead you to believe that this number is more likely around 80%.
Young adults & teenagers are struggling to socialize and focus because of the addictive nature of their phones!
What Makes Phones So Addictive?
One of the reasons phones are so addictive is because of the “notification.” That “ping” that means you have a notification often makes people excited at the prospect of getting a new like, follow, or message.
There is a degree of uncertainty to the notifications so people feel all the more excited. It is almost like treasure hunting except the treasure magically came to you.
When people respond to the ping and get a reward (ie. a text from the girlfriend), their brain begins to make the response more automatic.
By “automatic” we mean that it becomes more conditioned, or instantaneous. Rather than thinking “hmm I wonder what this text is,” people automatically open their phone.
There have been numerous entertaining pranks on YouTube in which someone walks around in public pressing the notification sound on their phone, and people repeatedly check their phone even when they know it’s not their phone.
Some people can be tricked over and over into checking their phone every time they hear a “ping.” We are guilty of this as well.
Phones are also literally designed to be addictive so that you stay on them as much as possible. The more you’re on them, the more games are likely to make money off of you and advertisers will show you ads.
What Are The Effects of Phone & Internet Addiction?
Phone & internet addiction is just now becoming a recognized problem in mainstream society. Our devices, games, and internet are all designed to be extremely addictive so we keep playing & browsing.
Internet addiction prevents your mind from being able to “dive deep.” Focusing for longer periods of time becomes more & more difficult.
Your brain gets conditioned to being distracted. Focusing for hours at a time like we naturally were able to is hard these days.
This is a problem because your work or schoolwork may suffer. Being able to focus deeply is a key skill which increases your value on the job marketplace.
Another problem for teenagers is that they struggle with socializing. Anxiety & depression are on the rise likely due to social media applications such as Instagram & Facebook.
Everyone is posting “picture perfect” moments so people begin to assume that’s the “norm.” Their life (and no one’s) is up to that level but they think everyone else is so happy, hence depression & anxiety kick in.
Social anxiety is also on the rise because people are spending more time communicating in chat rooms and through online games instead of in person. The ability to read body language is crucial for social abundance, but many young adults are struggling with that and further escaping into internet addiction.
How Can You Prevent/Fix Internet Addiction?
The easy answer would be: Quit!
However, that’s not so possible. In today’s society it’s basically imperative you use technology to some degree.
You likely need your phone to schedule meet-ups, do business, and more. The internet is critical for most people’s success.
If it’s possible for you to take a break for a little while, try it. For example, you could say “On Saturday’s I will not use my phone.”
Another thing you could do is delete/block/turn off applications on certain days & times. You might still need your phone to meet people, so you can turn these applications off and only use your phone for planning meet-ups.
Scheduling in on & off time is one big step you can take towards managing phone/internet addiction. Make sure to track your current internet/phone habits and become aware of your behavior patterns.
Practice focusing on one thing at a time if it requires the phone or computer as well. Don’t open a thousand browsers but instead read an article word-by-word rather than skimming through it without going in depth.
Use Tech, Don’t Be Used
It is possible to have a healthy relationship to technology, it’s just key that you remain aware of your habits & regulate your usage if you are worried you have a problem.
Most people (you included) probably need technology and can’t live without a phone.
It’s okay to use tech, just don’t let it use you.
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Thanks for reading,