Online Tech Addiction Recovery Resources
Whether youre struggling with a technology addiction yourself or are concerned for someone in your life who is, there are a couple of online resources available at absolutely no cost.
- The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction This site contains a lot of information, including a page with a few stories of internet addiction and its effects on real people. Remember, you are not alone.
- The Center for Internet Addiction This site provides a ton of information about tech addiction and recovery. It also has a blog with numerous articles on this addiction.
- TechAddiction This site hosts links to a number of technology addiction resources, some of which include information provided by professionals in the field and others that are meant to be support-providing sites.
Treating An Internet Addiction
There is no one specific treatment that should be used to address an internet addiction. Depending on the severity of the addiction and the behaviors of the individual, different types of treatment would be effective. If someone you know is suffering from excessive internet abuse, the first step is to plan an intervention or to express your concerns with their behaviors.
Therapy is generally incorporated into the treatment of addiction along with any co-occurring disorders that may be present such as anxiety, depression, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In some cases, medication may be used to manage symptoms of these underlying mental illnesses or to control intrusive thoughts about going online if other treatment options were not effective.
Internet addiction does not need to control the life of yourself or of someone you love. Consider doing more research to determine what the right way forward may be, but also be mindful of not waiting too long before taking action to fix the problem time is a valuable thing, and perhaps not best sacrificed overmuch so to the technological tools that are meant to serve us .
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Social Media And Depression
Depression and anxiety is a tricky beast and many of us find it difficult to identify, whether its within ourselves or in those around us. A common symptom of depression or anxiety is using a vice to numb true feelings. These days, one of the easiest ways to numb ourselves is through social media. Using social media could compound symptoms as research has found a link between increased social media use and depression and anxiety.
Social media is smart and is getting smarter every day. Each time you jump on social media you are willingly giving away data that is used to show content on your news feed that the provider believes you should see. It responds to your activity online by showing you ads and content that it thinks you need or are interested in. Often, this suggested content becomes a trigger to take you to other places.
And sometimes these are not the places you need to go, particularly if you are experiencing tough times. But whos in charge here? The humans or the machines? You can stay in charge by sticking to the content that you went online to see, by using social media positively and ignoring suggested or trigger posts.
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Continued Or Questionable Existence
Though originally diagnosed as a hoax disorder the increased digital age has propelled us into the Internet age and Internet addiction has become a truly real thing. However, many researchers are uncertain of whether Internet Addiction Disorder is a disorder in its own existence or rather a symptom of other underlying conditions.
Creating an even more problematic interaction is the fact that everything is online nowadays. Its hard to make a distinction between online and offline worlds. Everything is Internet-based. From ordering food, interacting with friends, playing games, and even watching tv. Adding an additional layer of confusion and distinction is that other digital technology is taking over the world as well make access to computers even easier. Now, we dont have to be physically sitting in front of the computer we can do anything from anywhere with just our phones, tablets, or other electronic devices.
Still, other researchers question whether excessive Internet use is an addiction or an obsessive-compulsive or impulse-control disorder. Indeed, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is correct in its acknowledgement that much more research is needed to study this disorder.
Consequences Of Not Seeking Treatment
Healthline stresses that failing to treat a technology addiction can lead to increased anxiety and depression. The site points out that it may also lead to other issues.
For instance, if you dont take the time to cook and eat a healthy meal because youd rather spend your time online, you could ultimately gain weight and become overweight or obese. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this negatively affects your overall health and wellness by placing you at a higher risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and kidney disease.
Another example of how avoiding treatment could harm you if you arent getting adequate sleep because youre on your technological device late at night or very early in the morning. This can lead to lower immunity levels, higher weight, reduced mental well-being, increased disease, and a harder time conceiving, according to the National Health Service.
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Make The Most Of Your Free Time
Got nothing to do? Rather than automatically picking up your phone, find something to fill your time. Here are a few ideas:
- Go for a walk
- Do some goal setting
- Make a list of 5 things youre grateful for
- Do something kind for a stranger, like buy someones else coffee when ordering yours or give a genuine compliment to someone
- Help someone volunteer, visit your parents and help them fix an issue in their house, cook for someone who might be sick or do their grocery shopping
- Meet up with a friend and tell them what you appreciate about their friendship
- Attend a Meetup or networking event to make some new, inspiring connections
- Get into nature
- Write a letter of appreciation to someone important in your life
- Think of someone who inspires you, and ask yourself why
- Name your 5 top attributes and challenge yourself to recognize another 5 ways you rock the following day, and then the day after that. Make a game of it and boost your self-esteem in the meantime.
- Consider how you could be a better person, and set yourself the challenge to act upon it
- Do absolutely nothing and give yourself a few guilt-free minutes to just rest and recalibrate WITHOUT any stimulation
the list is endless, really. Yep, there really was life before technology!
You Try To Regulate Your Use But Cant
This isnt the first time youve tried to cut down on your behavior. Maybe youve tried before in the past but you always keep backsliding.
Using the classical definition of addiction:
Addiction is the repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was pleasurable and/or valuable.- MentalHelp.net
When most people try to stop, they find out that they cant. The rewards they get from the Internet are too attractive in comparison to stopping.
And because there is no feedback that prevents them from stopping, their use continues indefinitely.
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Nervous Systems On Overdrive
We all look like we have obsessive-compulsive disorder, says Larry Rosen, PhD, author of The Distracted Mind. The average person checks his or her phone every 15 minutes or less, even with no notification.
This affects our health. When were in this constant state of anxiety, our systems are flooded with fight-or-flight chemicals, explains psychotherapist Nancy Colier, LCSW. This ceaseless cycle of cortisol and dopamine can make us twired simultaneously hyperstimulated and exhausted.
Tips To Help Children Avoid Technology Overuse During Covid
Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development has brought together leading international experts in the fields of media addiction, parenting, education, child psychology and psychiatry to present helpful advice for avoiding problematic technology use during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
More tips for parents and clinicians plus the latest scientific research on what we know about tech addiction were discussed in the popular Ask The Expertsweekly seminar via Zoom. Moderated by Dr. Gaya Dowling, PhD , an esteemed interdisciplinary panel lent their expertise on how to recognize problematic tech use, how to limit the harmful impacts of excessive screen time, and what families can do to promote positive behavior on-and-offline during this stressful summer of COVID-19.
PARENTS HAVE THE POWER
TRADE THE BEDROOM FOR THE FAMILY ROOM
QUIT BEING A HYPOCRITE!
ALL ABOUT THE BOUNDARIES
GIMME A BREAK
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Allowing a set time for your childs technology use in the morning and evening will help them get it out of their system and move on with the rest of their day. At home, be sure to have tech-free times and tech-free spaces , and when the phone isnt in use, make sure your children put it away. Out of sight, out of mind! Dr. Daria J. Kuss, Associate Professor in Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, UK
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
LOG OFF AND LISTEN
GET INVOLVED AND PARTICIPATE
About Children and Screens
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How Do We Stop Technology Addiction
Limit the use of TV, computers and mobile devices to a maximum of 30 minutes at a time. Ensure the total amount of screen time per day doesnt exceed the age-group recommendations. Schedule an appropriate time for using the device, and plan fun physical activities for your child to engage in at other times.
Ways To Break Your Technology Addiction
Chances are, you have checked your email, your Facebook feed, and your fantasy football roster in the past few minutes. Were more connected than ever before, and our dependence on our devices is getting worse. Over 40 percent of us check our phones within five minutes of waking up in the morning, and nearly half check up to 25 times a day, according to a 2015 study by Deloitte.
You might be hesitant to call your reliance on technology an addiction, but it’s true that your partner has asked you to put away your phone on more than one occasion. Want to detach your phone from your hand? We promise this will only sting a little.
1. END IDLE MOMENTS.
Its usually in your idle moments that you reach for your phone, says Jamison Monroe, founder and CEO of Newport Academy, a comprehensive treatment center for teens. So Monroe suggests creating a list of what you can do in your idle moments instead of scrolling.
If your first impulse when you get a quiet moment is to reach for your device, remind yourself of half a dozen other things you could be doing instead that would be more meaningful and relaxing: taking a walk, writing a love note with paper and pen, dancing to your favorite song, doing a few stretches, meditating for 10 minutes, Monroe says. The key is to come up with options that appeal to you.
2. USE TECH TO HELP YOU STAY OFF TECH.
3. DONT RELY ON WILLPOWER.
4. UNPLUG BEFORE BED.
5. START SMALL.
6. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS.
7. PLAN BREAKS.
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To Help Prevent Internet Addiction Before It Starts Try These Tips:
1. Limit Time Online The American Academy of Pediatrics says two hours tops of screen time should be the limit, but Demetri Christakis, MD, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Childrens Hospital, thinks thats too much and suggests just one hour.
2. Lead by Example Dont spend hours on the computer when your children are home and dont update your Facebook status constantly when you should be focusing on family time.
3. Keep an Eye on Gamers The type of game your child is playing can make a huge difference. The reality-based ones are the worst because they never end or shut off. Theres always someone awake across the world ready to play, says Dr. Christakis.
Look for these signs of a serious addiction:
1. Internet usage interferes with your childs normal everyday activities such as getting ready for school, coming to family dinner or attending sports practices.
2. He doesnt go to bed when he normally would and appears exhausted in the morning.
3. He cant focus on homework long enough to finish an assignment without logging on to the computer.
4. If you try to cut down his Internet time, he becomes belligerent and abnormally irritated.
5. Hes lost any interest in things that used to excite him, such as hanging out with friends or playing outside.
How Can I Make Sure My Kid Doesn’t Get Addicted To Technology
It’s unlikely that your kid will become addicted to technology. A person with an addiction can’t stop doing something that is extremely harmful, despite severe negative consequences. But you’re right to be concerned. According to a Common Sense Media poll, 50 percent of teens say they “feel” addicted to their mobile devices, and 59 percent of parents “feel” their kids are addicted to them. Still, experts aren’t sure whether true, physical technology addiction exists . And if it does, it’s very rare. More likely, your kid may have problems balancing technology with other parts of his or her life.
Problematic technology use is a growing concern. You can help avoid it by showing your kids how you want them to use technology. Let them see your own healthy habits. Set rules for how much technology they can use during the week. Share what’s important to you.
These ideas can help your family figure out how media and technology can be a part of your family’s healthy lifestyle.
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Technology Addiction Epidemic In Asia
The Asia-Pacific region home to the what are considered the gold star Internet de-addiction centers and treatment programs is said to boast the worlds highest level of smartphone penetration, with Singapore and Hong Kong at the top, according to media monitoring firm Nielsens 2013 report.
In Singapore, 87% of a population of 5.4 million own smartphones. By contrast, the US has a smartphone prevalence of 65% which is considered low by the Asia-Pacific standard. Citizens of Singapore are also more indulgent users of social media, spending an average of 38 minutes per session on Facebook about twice as long as the average American session.
Singapore has been the site of some of the worlds most pro-active technology addiction campaigns. A major cyber wellness education program targeting pre-school children is about to be launched, and the Put it on friend mode campaign from Nanyang Technological University which encouraged smartphone users to put their phones away while with loved ones apparently drew major support.
Medical News Today asked Dr. Adrian Wang, a psychiatrist at the Gleneagles Medical Centre in Singapore, why he believes social media use has twice the impact in that country compared with the US. He considers the problem to be largely one of access to technology from an increasingly young age.
A standard treatment program at one of the dedicated technology addiction clinics in Singapore is based around cognitive behavioral therapy .
Why Is Internet Addiction A Big Problem
As a society, we are currently coming to grasps with what Web 2.0 has done and is doing to us on a daily basis.
More and more psychologists, teachers, and government officials are beginning to understand that Internet addiction and social media addiction exist and it is dramatically warping our society and interpersonal relations.
If youre reading this article, its clear that you have a good degree of self-awareness. You realize that you probably have an Internet or even general digital addiction and you want to fix it.
Coming from that train of thoughtif you think of time as money , the amount of money you have wasted is staggering. Many people hate wasting money, yet that is what millions of people do when they spend excessive time on the Internet.
Realizing the effect Internet use has had on millions of people worldwide, it is easier to turn a more inquisitive eye towards our collective social media and Internet habits so we can ask the question:
What is this doing to me?
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Tech Firms Exploit Our Brains To Capture Our Attention
In their quest for our attention, some tech firms target the oldest parts of our brain, what UCLA psychiatrist Daniel Siegel calls the downstairs brain. The downstairs brain includes your brainstem and limbic regions, which control innate reactions and impulses and strong emotion . In contrast, your upstairs brain, including your cerebral cortex, is where intricate mental processes take place, like thinking, imagining and planning.
The downstairs brain is reactive. Its designed to protect us in emergencies it can make quick judgements, hijack our consciousness and drive action through strong emotion. The downstairs brain is what is targeted by attention-seeking products. Headlines that make us feel outraged and TikTok notifications that make us feel reactive appeal to our downstairs brain.
I Get A Kick Out Of You: The Biological Reason For Your Tech Addiction
It transpires that theres a biological reason for tech addiction.
You see, emails, text messages, and social media posts trigger the release of dopamine in your brain.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that rewards you for achieving something.
So when someone responds to one of your online remarks or comments, your brain sends out more dopamine giving you a tiny reward. And who doesnt like rewards? It makes you feel validated and seen.
If just using your phone which youre probably going to do anyway can give you a little boost, then it makes sense that youd want to do it as often as possible.
Technology addiction expert, Dr. David Greenfield, refers to smartphones as:
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