The Rising Problem of “Tech Addiction”
Executive burnout clients often tell me about how they are plagued by seemingly never-ending calls to action. Messenger services which are supposed to help with project management – although useful are giving people the sense of always being at work. Employees are also finding it increasingly hard to put in place boundaries.
Mobile devices are particularly concern because people are never away from them. They literally have it on their person all the time, even whilst they sleep.
It can affect the family also, children feel starved of attention because parents are hooked to mobile devices.
There has always been a concern about technology addiction. Even in Charlie and the Chocolate factory there’s bit about how TV destroys the minds of children and makes imagination dull.
The addiction is the same as any other addiction, those who are more likely to become addicts will become more dependant on the technology. They may feel irritable and angry when they first start to detox/withdraw from their process. I have seen this myself in dealing with technology addiction, some people will beg, plead or lie in order to get back a computer or a phone.
The difficulty is that there may not be abstinence program for a person, phones and technology are part of everyday life.
When a person can’t abstain, they need to set themselves limits, unbreakable limits. You see this with food and sex addiction. There are certain bottom lines which a person cannot return to.
Let’s say online gaming that might be out of the question for some people, due to the never-ending factor, the fact that content providers are always going to be updating and adding new things, the game never ends. Sometimes the only way to actually be good at games online is to put as many hours as possible into the game, some people will spend days or weeks “grinding”.
You can indulge yourself a lot more in gaming now, get a lot more exposure. Some people spend hours watching YouTube videos on games. One of the biggest YouTube “stars” is a guy called pewdiepie who just spouts inane drivel whilst he films himself playing computer games.
I’ve seen adverts recently advertising themselves as “This is the most addictive game ever” as a selling feature
FACEBOOK – YOUTUBE – Social media
Facebook addiction is very similar to an online game but instead you stir up interest and engage with your emotions. It’s very addictive for some people and is encouraging narcissism.
Narcissism, the love of one’s self may be indulgent whilst it’s good but it can leave a person feeling more vulnerable when it’s negative.
One very important thing to point out is that as an addiction grows it becomes just as dangerous as any other addiction. There’s an old saying about addiction leading to “jails, institutions and death”. Unfortunately, that is true of technology, most famously a young lady attacked the YouTube office in California before killing herself with a gun. There are numerous accounts of real-life attacks and murders over incidents that have happened via Facebook or YouTube.
Social media actually is just the illusion of being connected, we’re not really connected. We’re alone with whatever device we have in front of us. It’s just like a computer game really, we’re connecting with no one. Most of us are just stimulating various different emotions and they’re mostly negative.
People need to rely on certain devices in order to do business, more so than ever before. If they are becoming a problem then a person really needs to look at a balancing out their lifestyle. Workaholism is not always good for a company, overall it can make a person less effective, make them more prone to substance abuse or alcohol abuse. People need to let certain limits with their employers or negotiate them.
There is a very realistic concern around children viewing hardcore pornography, anyone with an internet access can browse pornography.
LACK OF EMPATHY
There is a bit of hysteria on the internet where groups of people become extremely titillated over the lack of empathy they show to a person in distress – this comes as cyber bullying, absurd memes about the people. Most recently “revenge porn”, some of this extremely distressing and we can see that some people have a form of PTSD from the level of abuse they have encountered via the internet.
You may have heard the writer, Johann Hari, who I must point out is not an addiction’s expert despite writing a good novel on it. He says the opposite of addiction is connection – which is debatable – however we’re dealing with people who really have too much “CONNECTION”, it’s a strange juxtaposition that we’re facing, people are increasingly more isolated but we’ve never been so connected in terms of our SOCIAL media.
There is a certain case for addressing personality issues from social media, help a person challenge their core-beliefs that they have to be narcissistic to be liked or that they have to be anti-social to get a rise out of people or a hit.
People need to connect with each other on a real basis. There is a strong focus on being a part of a group here, as well as therapeutic groups we also have a strong focus on breaking down isolation, having a sense of belonging.