July 2019 – Social Media & Technology Addiction

Are you suffering from information, internet or technology addiction? This is a growing problem as people spend more of their time on their smart phones and tablets. While these online tools are useful, compulsively checking (and being on) them throughout the day disrupts brain chemistry, interferes with relationships and diminishes life fulfillment.

You may be a technology addict if you:

  • Check email, text, news, and social media or play games compulsively.
  • Are constantly on your device even when other people are present or nothing new has happened.
  • Can’t get away from your device in order to get outside, exercise, or spend time with people.
  • Can’t get important work and everyday routines done because you “have” to check your messages.
  • Feel anxiety if you’re disconnected from technology for more than a few minutes.
  • You have thought about cutting down usage but have not.
  • Become annoyed when someone is critical of your technology usage.

Assess your habits. What websites, programs or apps are you addicted to most? When are you most likely to be sucked into your addiction?

Introduce “the pause”.  Start to break this chain of trigger-habit auto-response by wedging a small pause in between them.  Wait a few minutes before checking devices.  Interrupt the pattern.

Take a break every hour. Even if you’re stuck on the sites you’re addicted to, take 10 minute breaks every hour. Put your device away for an hour or two.

Abstinence: If a specific application, such as a game on social media feed,  is a constant time consumer and efforts to moderate fail, then abstinence from it is the next appropriate intervention.

 “By the Numbers:”

  • 65% of owners are addicted to their smartphone.
  • 40% – take their phones to the bathroom to use it.
  • 80% of 18-24 year olds sleep with their phone right next to them.
  • 50% –  of teens admit they are addicted to their phone.
  • 80% of people have experienced phantom vibrations, and around 30% heard a ringing that simply did not happen.
  • 20% of users would rather go without shoes for a week that take a break from their phone.

An average person checks their phone about 60 times per day while the more addicted users check their phones hundreds of times each day.

Changing Habits

Over time your brain’s structure and chemistry may be altered at the cellular level.  You can change your habits. This may take a month or two, so you’ll want to fully commit to a change. Any change done halfheartedly won’t last.  If you are really concerned about this feel free to make an appointment with one of our counsellors.