Usually addiction is connected to gambling, or perhaps even alcohol. It is thought of something life-altering or handicapping. In more humorous manner, some people refer to addiction when they describe their preference for a certain food, or perhaps a hobby. We humans have different needs and some of those resemble addictions, yet we barely ever think of them as such. Very few mention they have addiction to friends, or an addiction to breathing.
However, there is one addiction that has almost drug-like effects on our brain but that we’re not very good at avoiding, because it seems harmless. Just like checking your Instagram quickly while reading this, right?
Social media and internet addiction is a real deal, people just don’t notice it because how common it is. When you have your next recess, try to count are there more people using their phones or those who are actually looking at the life around them. Recesses can get dull, so that might just be a majority. All of us have probably had the moment when we are bored, and then resolve into opening our phone and checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, news — anything really. And it’s easy to say that it doesn’t affect anyone in any negative way, after all, we do that when we’re bored. There’s literally nothing else to do, right?
But when this behaviour exists for a longer time, it affects what we think to be boredom. Hanging out with friends may have moments, when we don’t talk. There are moments when you don’t know what to say, or what to think. When we bypass all this by simply watching our phones, we change our brain to think that any moment in life must be filled with content. And it takes away a portion of humanity from our lives. How many times have you talked to your friends, of whom many are simultaneously operating their phones? How many parties have resolved into the moment when you all just sit and watch your phones?
Next time you hang out with your friends, try banning your phones for a while. You may be surprised to learn how strong the urge to check your source of addiction becomes. Much better, you may be surprised how weird things people do when they get bored and don’t have a phone.