The evolution of modern technology is occurring at a record pace and the population’s dismal addiction to said tech is becoming more blatant and obvious. Technology addiction cuts deeper than most believe and is now a problem needing to be tackled.
Tech addiction includes: over-reliance on smartphones, laptops, tablets, virtual reality, as well as video games. These can all be major problems for some.
The U.S. Census Bureau recorded that there are approx. 83.1 million people between the ages of 18 to 34 (Millennials) living in the United States. Studies show that the average Millennial spends an average of 17-18 hours per day using some type of digital media. Damn. More importantly, The Pew Research Center reports that 90 percent of young adults use social media. This is up from 12 percent in 2005.
Millennials are generally more educated, globalized, and connected. Also, much of the generation’s young minds are still developing. Scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health know that the human brain continues to mature to full-size until age 25. Not many people reach that age without engaging in some major form of addiction.
Millennial brains are constantly assaulted by backlit screens, which has some experts speculating that the development of their brains may be very different from that of their parents.
I received my first phone at the age of 15 years old and now I see little kids running around with not their parents’ old iPhone, but one of their own. The introducing of technology this early in life comes with a price. For example, parents are literally using iPads and smart phones as babysitters for their young children. SAD. I gotta say, between the addictive power of social media, our reliance on GPS, and the ability to aquire inexpensive smart phones. I’d pretty much gaurantee that almost all sweet sixteen celebrations will not include a first phone.
As social media continues to blow up in the tween and teen generations, we are witnessing conformity and social ignorance on an exponential scale.
Technology can diretly effect emotions including inceases in anxiety and depression.
A human system has been designed in such a way that it is rewarded each time it receives what is craves for. This occurs when the brain releases dopamine to a neurotransmitter and fufills the craving. Basic stuff that becomes deeply complexly manipulated as abuse continues.
I’m not a saint myself. I wrote this article, and did all of my research, on a laptop. I answered multiple texts and calls during that same period, while also scanning through social apps periodically.
Denial is strong with this addiction, and information on it is nowhere near “well-known” or “widespread”. So, while I’m in no way a listicle fan, I will now list some of the reasons that I am positive tech addiction is alive and well:
Porn — Ah yes, everyones hidden secret. Their minutes long escape that may have been completely harmless. That is until dirty magazines became digital and digital content became available worldwide to anyone with access to the internet, which include kids way too young for this content. Programs like NoFAP have been created to fight the addiction to porn that many men/women have and, even more concerning, many people don’t even realize they’re addicted, or at the very least, the negative impact it’s subconciously having on them. it.
The Awkward Situation Escape — It has become almost become a natural reflex to whip out and intensly glare at one’s phone when awkwardness arises. Whether you’re in a crowded elevator, train, bus, grocery line, gas line, eating dinner with your family, or simply seeking avoidance in general it’s all the same. Using tech as a means for avoidance is dangerous and can cause my next point, social anxiety.
Social Anxiety — Studies, magazine articles, and cultural opinions tell us that technology is a major origin for anxiety in millennials, teens, and well for everyone. A recent study of well over a million American high school students found that teens who spend more time on screens and less time on non-screen activities such as face-to-face socializing, exercise, or homework were psychologically worse off. What’s more, the study found that when kids reported a shift to more screen-based activities, a decline in overall “happiness” followed, implying a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
Waiting on the Dots to Become a Real Text — Anxious moments between texts have become more seductive and teasing with the ominous three dot message indicator. We feel rejected and/or resentful when the anticipate messag-to-be never comes to fruition. These hurt feelings can even spark full-fledged fights within relationships. Someone not texting back can feel like a slap to the face because self-worth, tech, and social interation have become so interconnected.
Phantom Vibrations — 9 out of 10 people now feel “phantom vibrations” when their phone isn’t on them. The oh so familiar feeling of a text, notification, or call makes its way to us even when the phone is missing. Call it a withdrawl symptom, or a maybe just a muscle spasm…one thing of which I’m certain is the fact that our addiction to technology is a cause for such physical and mental reactions.
Influence of Social Media — Fyre Festival is a prime example of how powerful social media influencers are. It’s a clear demonstration of the blind trust, faith, and value millennials put into social media. If you don’t know the full story behind Fyre Festival, just watch the well-made documentaries on Netflix or Hulu.
These situations are relatable for many, but for some, technology has a much deeper meaning. Rehab facilities that serve anyone in need of professional help for tech addiction are now becoming more accepted and understood. This may seem ridiculous to some, but as a former player of World of Warcraft, Diablo II LOD, and League of Legends, I can understand how one can go too far.
Sometimes our desire to escape the natural, environmental, and situational stressors that come with life can punch us all square in the face…and technology helps with such voids. Major tech addiction is not mainstream at the moment, but technology now openly flaunts its ability to manipulate and persuade users to use more and more and more.
Stay true to yourself and your values. Don’t let technology define you, and never let it bring you down. Pretty much, just be a human being and live life on terms that are realistic.
Talk to others even when it is deeply uncomfortable. Become kind in your ways. Pray to whomever or whatever you find peace in. Become so alive that it’s contagious.
J. Robert Fallon III