Get rid of Technology Addiction

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In the past, we thought of technology addiction as something caused only by chemical substances—nicotine, cocaine, heroin, etc. Today, we also think of addiction as something that technology can cause. In fact, new research suggests that scrolling through our Facebook feed affects our brain similar to cocaine use. The insatiable craving we feel to stay connected is, in fact, a real addiction.

How Bad is Your Addiction?

If you’re like most, you rely on technology in just about every facet of you life. A recent survey showed that 80 percent of people are online all day long. Currently, the average person spends 4 hours in front of a screen each day, and this number is only expected to rise.

The number of technology-addicted people varies from country to country and by what researchers define as an “addiction.” In the United States, a survey showed that 2 to 8 percent of people suffer from technology addiction. A Stanford University survey conducted in 2006 found that 1 out of 8 Americans suffers from technology addiction. A number of other countries, including India, China, Australia, Japan, Italy, Taiwan and Korea have also shown cases of technology addiction.

What’s the Big Deal?

What’s the big deal with technology addiction anyway, you might ask? Technology has improved our lives in more ways than people 100 years ago could even imagine. Who cares about addiction?

Well, one of the downsides to a dependence on technology is a negative impact on interpersonal skills. Many nuances are lost when a people communicate primarily through text, email, or instant message, and if a person spends a lot of their time (especially their developmental years) engaged primarily in virtual rather than physical interactions, they can fail to pick up important social skills.

How do I Shake my Addiction?

If you’re addicted to technology, the best way to shake it is simple: cut back on your technology use. Though easier said than done, it is important to discipline yourself and find alternate activities. Turn off the computer, the phone, and the TV for a while, and do something else. Research has shown that tech addicts, like alcoholics and smokers, can suffer withdrawal symptoms when quitting, but in the long run, end up happier and healthier.

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