Technology is a part of modern life, and allows us to be connected in ways that we have never been before. There are benefits to being connected, but you can be too plugged in. "Technology Addiction" is not a fully recognized disorder in the United States. However, now that we are more "plugged in" than ever before, it is easy to become hooked on tech.
Here are some signs that you might be hooked on your technology:
You feel a compulsion to constantly check your devices, even in the absence of an alert
You postpone doing basic needs in order to spend more time on your device (i.e. postponing a trip to the restroom to beat another level of your game, rather than pressing "pause")
You e-mail your coworker rather than walking down the hall to speak with them
You text your family members when they are just upstairs
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Start healthy habits early. Limit screen time for children, and use alternate methods of education and play in addition to technology.
Create "screen-free" zones. Make a goal as a family not to use electronics at certain times, like while sitting down for a meal together.
Put your electronics to bed. Snuggling with your phone is associated with sleep deprivation, so consider charging your electronics downstairs at night, or at least silencing them.
Both Apple and Android devices have "Do Not Disturb" or "Priority" modes, so you can set permissions for only the most important alerts to come through.
Set aside specific times to check and respond to e-mails, rather than answering them "on-demand" as they come in throughout the day.
Wait to check your devices until after you have gotten out of bed in the morning and had your breakfast. This way, you'll also be more alert when you answer your e-mails.
While visiting friends and family, store your devices - upstairs, in your purse, or in a drawer. You will be less likely to compulsively reach for your device if it's not on you.
Take a vacation from your electronics! Go "unplugged" for a weekend, or even a few hours.
Have a friend or family member hold you accountable in your new goals.
Consider reaching out to a psychologist to help you develop some strategies for creating more healthy boundaries with your technology.
Did You Know?
64% of adults and 73% of teens own a smart phone
42% of adults and 58% of teens own a tablet computer
67% of adults check their phones for alerts, even if they didn't hear them ring
80% of teens sleep with their phones by their beds, often so they don't miss alerts at night
81% of teens have access to a gaming console
75% of teens are on social media
Children spend an average of 7 hours per day consuming media