There are always signs of drug use. You can see the signs right away if you know what to look for. Many of the signs will be different depending on what you’re hooked to. If you’re addicted to your smartphone, for example, you won’t have the same signs and symptoms as someone who’s addicted to video games.
But there are some signs of being too dependent on technology that everyone has. Restlessness is a common feeling for people who have been without their favourite “drugs” for a long time.
Here are the top ten signs that you may be too dependent on technology. Even if you notice a couple of these, it doesn’t mean you have a problem with addiction. But if you notice more than a few of these signs often, it may be time for you to take a break from technology.
1. When your phone rings or buzzes, the first thing you do is reach for it.
It’s one thing to check your phone when you know you have to because you’re expecting a call or email that you can’t miss. It’s a different problem to reach for your phone every time it buzzes or rings. Your answer shows that you have made a habit of something. You’re responding to a cue in a way that is automatic, just like Pavlov’s drooling dogs.
2. You start to worry if you don’t check your phone right away when you get a notification.
Imagine you are talking with a close friend. Your phone moves in your pocket to let you know you have a new message. You don’t know if someone has texted you, emailed you, or called you. It could be something small like a message from one of your apps. When you can’t look at your phone, does it make you a little nervous? Does it get worse before you can get it done? Worse, do you keep checking your phone during the talk in case you missed an email, text, or call? This tendency sounds like a strong drive. The longer it has been since you checked your phone, the more anxious you feel.
3. There are withdrawal signs when you can’t use the internet.
Addiction to the Internet is a very real problem. It influences millions of people all over the world. And when kids can’t use the internet, they have the same withdrawal symptoms as drug users. According to a study done in the UK in 2013, “high internet users” had more mood swings and feelings of sadness when they couldn’t get online than “low internet users.” The people who took part in the study allegedly had a “comedown” similar to what happens after a drug high. Do you get angry when you can’t use the internet? When you can’t use the internet for a long time, do you get dizzy? Do you tend to defend your surfing when people ask you about it? Is your time on the internet hurting your interactions with other people? If so, you may be having trouble with addiction.
4. Technology has made it so that you are always late or can’t be counted on to keep your promises.
Technology might make it easier for you to stick to a plan. There are a lot of apps for your phone that can help you better manage your time. You can download absolutely thousands more add-ons to your browser that do the same thing. Most tech addicts won’t find these tools to be very helpful. The addict finds it hard to keep the discipline and attention that are needed to use them well. Instead, the junkie is late because he is addicted to digital media like his phone, computer, video games, newspaper, TV, and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. People don’t trust him as much because they make him late. Do you always run late to class, work, or meetings because you spend so much time on your phone? Do you often forget about what other people want to do because you’re on your phone or computer? This is how addictive habits look.
5. You feel good when you check social media.
You must be able to understand this. You get a little rush every time you log into Facebook and see what your friends have been up to. When you look at Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, you feel so happy that you might even feel exhilarated. The effect is caused by spikes of dopamine in the brain’s reward system. This makes you feel good in a way that is similar to how most addictive drugs make you feel. And, as you possibly guessed, the lows always come after the highs. A big effect. False hope. When you go to your favourite social networking sites, do you feel like you could burst with happiness? Do you feel better after checking your Facebook and Twitter accounts? If this sounds like you, your brain’s reward system is acting in a way that can lead to addiction.
6. You bring your device with you to the toilet.
It’s good to have something to read when you have to go to the toilet. But this is based on the idea that you will talk to the person for at least a few minutes. If you need to take out your phone for a quick 30-second break, you’re probably too busy with it. Do you always bring your mobile device with you to the bathroom? Do you use them when you have to use public toilets when most people are in a hurry to get things done? Do you beat yourself up when you leave your phone at home? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might need a break from technology.
7. You don’t sleep so you can spend more time on the internet.
When we don’t have a lot of time, the first thing we give up is sleep. It’s strange, since sleep is so important to being active during the day. If you’re tired, it will show in everything you do, from your work to your basketball game to just having a normal conversation with your partner. If you have a bad relationship with technology, it could keep you up at night. Have you ever stayed up late and watched YouTube videos in bed? Have you ever used social media or texted when you should have been sleeping? Do you ever play video games until you’re too tired to go to sleep? Even if you said “yes” to one or more of the questions above, that doesn’t mean you’re addicted to technology. It’s fine, everyone does it. But not everyone is addicted to something. If you often skip sleep to do things online like social networking, gaming, and exploring the web, you may be a “techaholic.”
8. You no longer do the things you used to like to do.
When your friends call to hang out, do you often say “no” because you’d rather stay home and play with your phone apps? Do you spend more time on Facebook than, say, playing basketball, the guitar, or spending time with your family? Do you text your friends while your spouse is sitting next to you and you pay no attention to them? These are signs of being too dependent on technology. You can’t care about anything else because you’re so focused on it. Over time, you will lose touch with your friends, hurt your family, and stop caring about the things that used to make you happy. During a digital detox, you’ll see all the things you’ve been putting off because of your addiction.
9. You’ve lost the ability to talk to people, so you feel weird and uncomfortable when you’re around them.
Experts say that the internet has had a big impact on people’s lives and on society as a whole. It has hurt our ties with the people we care about most. Because of this, it has changed how we communicate with each other. It’s made it harder for people to share ideas and thoughts. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you are more likely to have these problems. He stays away from the problems of relationships with other people by hiding out on the internet. His social skills are getting worse because he spends more and more time online. People have trouble paying attention to him because he starts to mumble more. In fact, he might like the privacy of online contact and avoid meeting people face-to-face at all costs. Think about how you feel when other people are around. Social development means being able to talk to other people about things that are interesting to you. Can you talk to the people who are right in front of you? If not, put the phone down, turn off the computer, and put the game system away. In other words, it’s time to take a break from electronics.
10. There have been many failed attempts to control how much time you spend on electronic devices.
Most people are faulty. For some, the answer is ice cream. Cigars are liked by some people. Some people can’t stop gaming, shopping, drinking, or using drugs. All of these bad habits are hard to get rid of, which is something they all have in common. Think back to the last time you tried to drop some pounds. You probably found it hard to stay away from the bad foods you used to love. You may have broken your diet rules more than once by giving in to your guilty joy. The same goes for any kind of drug, like being too interested in electronic media. If you have tried to cut down on your use more than once but kept going back to it, you are possibly an addict. You feel like you have to do something because of how you feel. You’re lucky to have found the right place. You’ve decided to take action about the problem. In the next part, we’ll talk about the bad things that can happen when you use technology too much. Realising how bad this habit is can help you understand what’s at stake.