Are you a tech wreck?
Written by Angela Silva
As technology continues to advance, so does the need to find balance and establish boundaries with the advancements. Technology does more for us now than it ever has. The invention of smartphones replaced a number of other services and devices, including but not limited to alarm clocks, thermometers, calculators, phone books, libraries, cameras and even computers. We have our email accounts, social media accounts, even Netflix accounts all tucked safely in our pockets. But is this all-in-one convenience doing more harm than good?
Many researchers would say yes.
Most of the services and capabilities we get from technology aren’t inherently bad. It’s the user, not the technology itself, who generally needs to be checked.
So how much is too much? It seems that everyone is glued to their screens these days. How can you know if you might have an unhealthy relationship with technology?
Ask yourself the following questions in regards to your technology use:
- Do you check your email or social media accounts before you get out of bed or while you lay in bed at night?
- Do you use your phone for entertainment in social settings?
- Do you multitask regularly with technology, using multiple devices at a time or always having a screen up while doing other tasks?
- Do you lose track of time while engaged in online activities?
- Do you feel guilty or defensive about your internet use when people mention it?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you could have an unhealthy relationship with technology. But why does it matter? An excessive technology compulsion often damages the other aspects of our lives, including relationships with others and ourselves.
Friendships and relationships depend on connecting intimately with others. Social media has replaced few intimate relationships with many shallow relationships. Instead of enjoying a beautiful day at the park with our children or a hike with our friends, we focus on getting the best picture to post online and have our face to the screen for most of the time. Our self-esteem may suffer as we see the pictures and stories of others’ lives that seem so glamorous or exciting on social media. We may get in a habit of regularly posting our own pictures or stories only for the response from others on which we’ve become so dependent to make us feel important.
So what can you do about it?
The University of California, San Francisco suggests a few tips for dealing with an unhealthy relationship with technology.
They recommend asking, “What am I missing out on when I spend so much time on the Internet?” Make a list of activities you enjoy and try to do them more often.
Identify the times you’re most prone to excessive use. Switch up your routine to disrupt those patterns.
Associate with others who aren’t interested in spending time online and realize that the whole world really isn’t all online.
Reconnect with the offline world. Read physical books, use an actual alarm clock, invest in a wristwatch and buy a real calculator to avoid constantly checking your phone.
It’s not easy to break a habit, but it’s also not necessary to let technology disrupt or consume your life. Conduct a self-evaluation to analyze your own technology use and discover if there are any changes you could make for the better. Technology can be both a blessing and a curse, but it is up to us to decide which way it will affect our lives.