Our society has faced many addiction problems throughout the years. From the notorious drug and alcohol addiction to smoking which prompted the fight for lung cancer – now, a new kind of addiction is surfacing and affecting a majority of young people worldwide.
People’s addiction to smartphones, social media, and the internet or better known as technology addiction has been silently ruining relationships and health for the past 20 years. Seen more prominently among the millennial age group, tech addiction is believed to be as harmful as drug and alcohol addiction.
Millennials and Their Obsession with Technology
Millennials also known as “the ME generation” are rarely disconnected from their tech. They seem to have their smartphones glued to their hands – and use it for all sorts of things including messaging, gaming, and even paying bills. In fact, technology which should have been a luxury has become a necessity – creating overlooked problems in social, physical, and mental health.
It can’t be denied that growing up in the height of the world’s technological boom has its upsides. From easily finding people with the same interests to having a wide pool of resources to promote learning at their own pace – technology has helped Millennials grow to be intelligent, open-minded, and creative-thinking individuals.
However, it also created dangerous health risks for the young generation.
In a recent survey of 1000 people by the Bank of America, almost 40% of millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than with people. This is very alarming, considering one of the greatest cause of depression and mental health problems is the failure to form positive relationships with friends and family.
In efforts to prevent global crisis of technology addiction, not just to Millennials but in all age group, many experts have shed light on the issue.
Tech addiction is a universal disease. In fact, Internet addiction (IAD) is classified as an official disorder in many countries including Taiwan, Australia, India, Japan, Korea, Italy, and China. The Internet which is the primary tool used in the Tech industry is an irreplaceable convenience but it’s also the number one cause of wasted time at work.
If the older generation found their fix in alcohol and drugs, today’s generation has found theirs in social media. According to Tony Rao, addiction to social media may not bring physical harm such as other drug-based addiction like alcohol or tobacco – “but it has the potential to cause long-term damage to our emotions, behavior and relationships”.
Individuals addicted to social media are excessively engaged with their smartphones and are always online on social networking sites. They often “check” their phones and change their status many times during the day. Addiction to social media is heavily linked to depression, insomnia, and social withdrawal.
How to Cure Technology Addiction?
Like drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers, there are rehabilitation facilities for people suffering from severe tech addiction. But as always, prevention is better than cure. Addiction can be prevented with moderation and proper guidance. And best started early. If you have a child addicted to technology, here’s what you can do:
- Stop Using Tech For Everything – Children imitate what you do, so the best way for them to learn is to practice what you preach. Do not be so reliant on technology. Try to do stuff without help from tech once in a while. Sacrifice your convenience to teach your kids a valuable lesson.
- Digital Detox – Teach your child to unplug and disconnect for a significant time during the day. Set a “No TV time” rule that will encourage them to go and play with their friends outside.
- Engage in Non-Tech Hobbies – Teach your child non-tech hobbies that will make him appreciate time away from technology. Hobbies like painting, baking, and writing can encourage creativity.
- Disable Notifications – The tendency to check back on your phone all the time is powered by these pesky alerts – so turn them OFF.
- Limit Texting or Chatting – Encourage face-to-face social interaction instead of texting or chatting with friends or family. Ask her to invite her friends over or take them out for a trip to the park or mall.
- Phone-Free Dining Table – Set a strict rule of “no using of smartphones” while having meals. This will encourage conversation and improve relationship with the family.
- Set strict ground rules when it comes to internet usage – Disconnect the internet during bedtime hours. This will ensure your child gets a good night sleep and also prevent unsupervised internet surfing.
- Start training early – The earlier you train your little one, the more likely he will avoid addictive habits in the future.
Below there is an infographic from nuallure.com that describes Facebook addiction.