Sunday, February 18, 2024

How To Stop Being Addicted To Technology

Take Some Time During Each Day To Do Absolutely Nothing

How to Stop Your Technology Addiction: A Practical Guide to Neutralising Procrastination

Have you ever stepped away from the desk for a few moments during the workday to completely relax and do nothing? Have you taken time to completely clear your mind? If not, you might want to give it a try. Instead of trying to cram as much as you can into every single minute of the day, carve out some quiet time. Take some deep breaths and just look outside at the sky, or a tree across the street.

Take a walk around your office building or around the neighborhood. Whatever it takes to create separation from your self-expectations, do it. You might find yourself savoring the day a little bit more, and you might find that social media app isnt quite as important as you thought.

Ward Off Internet Interference

Youre in the zone and working on the design of a presentation for a client. Then ding! An email arrives and youre gazing at four videos of cute kids throwing cereal. Finding your bearings and getting back into the flow of work can be a real challenge, just like trying to do so after consuming a plate of very spicy food for lunch.

Interruptions are a drag, and there are various tools to get them under control. Install a browser extension like StayFocusd and set time limits on visiting certain websites. Or turn off your Wi-Fi for an hour. Better yet, step away from the computer entirely and grab a notepad.

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Treatment Of Technology Addiction

Technology addiction falls into the category of compulsive behavior that it is difficult or impossible to simply abstain from, like food or sex addictions. Thus, treatment for technology addiction involves educating teens and young adults about what is happening in their brains and bodies, recognizing the consequences of their compulsion, helping them to set limits and interrupt the compulsive cycle, and find alternatives.

Sandstone Care integrates treatment of technology addiction into its programs by treating is as a cooccurring mental health disorder. As referenced, technology addiction is often present with other disorders including anxiety, depression, trauma, or substance use. So taking a holistic and comprehensive treatment approach is important in order to help achieve sustainable recovery.

Some of the treatment modalities that Sandstone Care uses include:

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Stop Always Being Available 24/7

Technology lets people work and be reached no matter the place or time. With devices in the pocket, work-life fences are down and people are always set to be on. Yet taking breaks is good for the mind.

Who hasnt had the Monday morning awakening when solutions magically appear to resolve giant problems? Getting there means being ruthless in creating space from screens. One day a week, consciously put in the effort to avoid anything digital. If youre in need of a longer duration away from digital life, check out Digital Detox.

This Bay Area organization has hosted more than 500 individuals on mindfulness retreats, leading prominent tech companies in day camps and conversations to uncover ethics, healthy technology habits and best practices.

Founder Levi Felix, who is a friend, also runs Camp Grounded, the 100 percent off-the-grid summer camp for adults, When we unplug for longer periods of time, we reconnect with with our own novel thoughts, our creativity heightens, blood pressure lowers and we are able to truly take stock in what’s most important in life, he tells me in an email.

How To Break 5 Soul

How can I stop being addicted to screens?

Nirs Note: In this last in a series of guest posts on the topic of technology habits, Jason Shah shares practical tips he used to regain control over his devices and break bad habits. Jason is a Product Manager at Yammer and blogs about user experience and technology at You can follow him on Twitter .

Not long ago, in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Texas, a 17-year-old boy was weathering withdrawal at its worst. His body shuddered with convulsions. He hurled tables and chairs around the hospital.

Had he been hooked on heroin? Cocaine? Jim Beam? Joe Camel?

No, his psychologist said. The teenager had withdrawn cold turkey from the Internet.

This account of a young mans struggle with Internet withdrawal is from a 1996 New York Times article. Since then, the Internet has become even more pervasive and habit-forming.

The Internet has much in common with gambling: its compulsive its compelling its distracting. Many people find it hard to resist the Webs grip. Affluent adults in the US spend more than 30 hours a week on the Internet its almost a full-time job!

Indeed, much of the webs appeal is hardwired in our DNA. Technology companies carefully hone their services to cater to our survival instincts. Over time, we have become conditioned to know where to look on the Internet for rewards, and in the spirit of survival, we return repeatedly to get as much as possible out of a reliable source of pleasure.

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Choose Outdoor Activities Over Technology

When youre at home, make it a rule that you cant be online if the sun is shining. Instead, you have to go for a walk, ride a bike or get some other kind of healthy physical activity for at least an hour before you can pull out your phone or tablet, or take a seat at the computer. This rule should apply to everyone in your household.

Try These Tips Tricks And Habits: How To Stop Being Addicted To Your Phone

It can be hard for a lot of people with a cell phone addiction, or an addiction to Facebook or other social media apps, to imagine being without their phone for even a few minutes. They devote a lot of time and energy into their social media apps. If you feel anxious when youre without your phone, there are a few options that could help reduce your dependence on your device.

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Types Of Technology Addictions

Technology addiction is not yet listed in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, so there are no formal classifications of it as a disorder. But David Greenfield, PhD, a psychologist and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in Hartford, Conn., says that technology addiction typically takes one of the following forms:

  • Internet addiction. This is an over-dependence on Internet-connected devices. People may spend hours browsing online shopping sites, playing online games like Candy Crush, or accessing the Internet in some other way.
  • Sexual content addiction. People who have this form of technology addiction are obsessed with consuming sexually-oriented content on the Internet.
  • Social media addiction. Social media addicts cant stop using sites like Facebook and Twitter even though they may want to. Their work performance or academic performance may suffer because theyre so distracted, tracking and broadcasting their lives on these social media sites, Greenfield says.

Though there aren’t yet formal criteria for the disorder, Strohman says that a diagnosis is possible if you have one or more of these symptoms: loss of time due to technology, withdrawal from people, negative consequences at work or in your relationships, and a higher tolerance for technology like one game is no longer enough.

What Causes An Addiction To Computers Or The Web

How to Deal with Technology Addiction

Whenever Internet addicts feel overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, lonely or anxious, they use the Internet to seek solace and escape. Studies from the University of Iowa show that Internet addiction is quite common among males ages 20 to 30 years old who are suffering from depression.

Certain people are predisposed to having a computer or Internet addiction, such as those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Their lack of emotional support means they turn to the Internet to fill this need. There are also those who have a history of other types of addiction, such as addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling. Even being stressed and unhappy can contribute greatly to the development of a computer or Internet addiction. People who are overly shy and cannot easily relate to their peers are also at a higher risk of developing a computer or Internet addiction.

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Prevalence Of Technology Addiction

It is difficult to determine how many teens and young adults suffer from technology addiction, but a 2012 study found that 4.4% of European adolescents had what researchers termed pathological internet use and approximately 14% displayed what they called maladaptive internet use.

Other studies have found that approximately 10% of peoples internet use interferes with their work, family or social life.

To complicate things further, the developers of technology like video games and social media are actively trying to create products that tap into our addictive tendencies, talking openly about creating a compulsion loop.

Why A Standalone Diagnosis Of Internet Addiction May Be Unhelpful

In November 2012, a study into Internet addiction among European youths from researchers at the London School of Economics in the UK proposed a different take on the concept of Internet addiction. Rather than view problems related to Internet use as addiction, the researchers employed the term excessive use to describe patterns of repetitive, compulsive and uncontrolled use.

The authors reasoned that where Internet use is blamed for declining school results in children or increased family tension, it is not at all clear whether excessive Internet use is the cause of these problems it could be a symptom or a consequence of these or other underlying troubles.

The LSE team applied the five basic components of Internet addiction, as defined by the British psychologist Dr. Mark Griffiths, to the participants in their study. They asked the children how often they experienced the following:

  • I have gone without eating or sleeping because of the Internet
  • I have felt bothered when I cannot be on the Internet
  • I have caught myself surfing when I am not really interested
  • I have spent less time than I should with either family, friends or doing schoolwork because of the time I spent on the Internet
  • I have tried unsuccessfully to spend less time on the Internet.
  • They found that very few participants experienced all five components, which suggested to the researchers that a specific addiction to the Internet is less prevalent than is generally feared.

    They write:

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    Is There A Test Or Self

    A lot of studies and surveys are being conducted to measure the extent of this type of addiction. Dr. Kimberly S. Young has created a questionnaire based on other disorders to assess levels of addiction. It is the Internet Addict Diagnostic Questionnaire or IADQ. Answering positively to five out of the eight questions may be indicative of an online addiction. Here are the questions:

    • Are you preoccupied with using the Internet? Do you think about your previous or future online activity?
    • Do you have the need to be online longer to be satisfied?
    • Have you made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to cut back, stop or control your Internet use?
    • Do you become moody, restless, irritable or depressed when you stop or decrease your Internet use?
    • Is your time spent online longer than what you originally planned?
    • Did your online use negatively affect a significant relationship, education, career or job?
    • Do you conceal the extent of your Internet usage from your therapist, family or others?
    • Does the Internet serve as an escape from problems or relief from a bad mood?

    The Fine Line Between Being Busy And Addicted To Technology

    5 Hobbies to stop technology addiction

    It should be noted some people who use technology all the time are actually not technology addicted. They are merely doing their jobs. For instance, a start-up entrepreneur with an online commerce site may find themselves checking the corporate website on a regular basis, especially in the first few months of the company. Similarly, a stockbroker may be required to keep up with all the developments in the financial world, which necessitates utilizing technology.

    So where do we draw the line between being busy and actually being addicted? True technology addiction is not usually productive. The person using technology for work can walk away from the technology and feel a sense of relief. In fact, being unplugged from technology feels good to someone who is only turning to technology out of necessity. On the other hand, those with technology addictions feel a sense of crushing withdrawal and anxiety when they are not able to interact with technology.

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    The 6 Most Common Types Of Technology Addiction

    Technology addictions, also commonly known as digital addictions or internet addictions, are often overlooked due to the acceptance that society has placed on using digital devices. Technology addictions often go unnoticed by loved ones because the addicted individual may appear as though they are tending to something important such as work-related tasks on their digital device, when in reality hiding behind the screen is something extraneous. When a technological problem does develop and is noticed it is often not viewed as being an imminent risk akin to an addiction to alcohol or drugs because not only is it more acceptable, but it is also not viewed as being acute or deadly. Despite these beliefs, pathological technology use can indeed be pervasive and detrimental to ones health and wellbeing. In a growing digital age there is a rapid expansion of digital use and subsequent potential for problematic pathological technology use to ensue.

    Why Are Technology Addictions Dangerous?

    Technology addictions can have a severe impact on ones mental health, exacerbating or contributing to anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well as other disorders. Technology addiction also can lead to restlessness, irritability, agitation, and anger. Furthermore, technology addiction can impact the brains ability to produce natural feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine, as well as lead to increased impulsivity.

    What Are the Signs of a Technology Addiction?

    A Sense Of Connection

    We all want to belong somewhere, to find community, to share and connect. This connection is what technology promises.

    As human beings, we have this primal fear of isolation and not being part of the group, which is tantamount to extinction, says Colier. Technology is craftily being marketed to elicit this fear of Oh my god, if I dont have this app or device, I wont be part of the group.

    With most addictions, compulsive use has steep consequences: You may lose your job, your relationships, and your place in your community. But when tech is the drug, the opposite is true. Compulsive use can make you feel like an insider, and you may fear that your status, relationships, and career will suffer if you moderate your social-media presence or delay your response to every text, message, and email.

    Many of us have grown afraid that if we dont continually tell the world who we are, as everyone else is doing, we will become invisible and irrelevant, says Colier.

    If this happens, our very sense of self is called into question. Our life has become something we use to advertise our identity.

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    Current State Of Technology Addiction

    The subject of technology addiction is now so omnipresent that a whole market has emerged concerned with digital withdrawal. The camp for adults run by Camp Grounded in Navarro, California, wisely located near San Francisco, is just one of many examples.

    Digital Detox also offers days filled with activities such as talent shows, painting and creative writing, retreats including green smoothies and yoga, all organised by the Oakland-based company. Their motto: Disconnect to reconnect. They all have one thing in common: You have to hand in your devices at the entrance.

    But what if youre not ready to go cold turkey and pay hundreds of dollars to hand over your mobile phone? With our 8 small everyday tips, you can quickly restore the balance between working productively with the help of technology and endless internet surfing.

    Turn It Off At Bedtime Or Set Your Phone To Airplane Mode

    5 Tricks To Break Your Addiction To Technology

    If your phone is on, beeps, buzzes and blue light omissions can keep you up, or wake you up. Try turning your devices off when you go to sleep. If anything really important happens, youll find out about it in the morning.

    Or, if you need to keep your phone on because you use it as an alarm, set it to airplane mode and dont turn this functionality off until youre ready to face the day. Give yourself some time in the morning to connect with yourself and do whatever puts you in an optimal state of mind such as meditation, reading a book, exercise, yoga or even just having a leisurely, nutritious breakfast.

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    Effects Of Technology Addiction On Kids

    Smartphones, tablets, or the Internet can be addictive because their use can trigger the release of the brain chemical dopamine to alter mood which is exactly what drugs and alcohol do.

    Thats a pretty sobering thought, isnt it?

    And just like with alcohol or drug use, you can rapidly build up tolerance so that it takes more and more time in front of these screens to derive the same pleasurable reward.

    Compulsive use of electronic devices can interfere with your childs daily life, school or work, and relationships. When kids spend more time on social media or playing games than interacting with real people, or they cant stop themselves from repeatedly checking texts and social media apps, it is time to question whether things have gone too far.

    What Tools Can I Use To Combat My Kids Screen Time Addiction

    Once parents have spotted the warning signs, they often look to introduce a screen time solution. Whether thats an actual app or an analog solution such as a device free zone at the dinner table there are a number of ways you can help your child reduce the amount of time they spend on a screen.

    Here are just a few examples weve thought of and tried ourselves :

  • Having a charging zone downstairs overnight, so your kids dont take their devices to bed.
  • An internet time out, where you unplug the internet for the whole house for a select few hours .
  • Screen free days, whether thats a family day out or an entire holiday.
  • Screens only allowed for family activities, such as movie night.
  • Weekend only devices a very popular choice.
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