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Addicted to Technology?

Updated on June 5, 2020
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Use of Technology

Using some types of technology has become typical for our numerous waking hours for children, teens and adults. You cannot walk down a crowded sidewalk without seeing several people talking on their phones, and it is the same in grocery stores or even in doctor offices. Do you sometimes feel quilty for the amount of time spent talking or playing games on your phone?

Then, there are people in their homes using their tablets, spending large amounts of time on their computers or watching TV. They may be using some type of social media or playing a game. How much time spent this way is healthy? What about younger children or teens?

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

--Stephen Hawking

Children Under 11 Years of Age

Studies have found that 40% of children have a cell phone by fifth grade, and many parents say they are used is for safety. The parents want their child to have a way to contact family members, and many feel it is also okay for their child to keep in touch with their friends. There are several studies on teens, but not many are directed at younger children below 11 years.

The unintended consequences of too much social media, computer games or TV can have an immediate impact on a child’s health, but the manifestations may not occur until late adolescence. The problems may include a lack of motor development, fewer activities, attention problems at school or sleep problems. An increase in body mass (BMI) may also be a problem as many children are overweight by 11 or 12 years of age.

So what are your options as a parent? Suggestions include: encourage your children to play outside, to join a sport team of their choice or to limit their computer or phone time to roughly two hours daily. Family time together is important. No cell phones at the dinner table!

Why Are You So Addicted To Your Smartphone?

Teenagers

The amount of sleep required for teenagers in from 8 to 10 hours nightly, yet only 12% of teens reported getting this amount of sleep. Sleep is just as important as food and water.

Many teens are quietly texting in their bedrooms at night. These years are significant for maturation, which includes intellectual, physical and emotional growth. The lack of sleep for adolescents can cause depression, a lack of energy, a lack of productivity and often, poor school performance.

About 78% of teens between the ages of 7-12 have a cell phone, according to a Pew Research poll.

Additionally, this is a time where the teen's biological clock shifts, and melatonin is released at approximately 11 PM, which affects their sleep-wake cycle. This explains why they are sometimes tired and grouchy in the mornings. They typically want to stay up late and sleep late on the weekends, but this also interferes with their wake-sleep cycle.

Cyberbullying can also be a terrible problem for some children, and even viewing a birthday party that they were not invited to can cause hurt feelings or depression. Teen years are tough, so trying to keep communication open with your teen will help you know what is happening in their lives.

5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now

Possible Problems With Too Much Technology

Constant use of technology can be detrimental to anyone’s health, but this use is accepted by society today even for adults. When computers, pads, and particularly phones are used for several hours a day you may have actual changes in your brain.

This may be an addiction, just not by using a drug, but it does provide instant gratification. See the video below for more information about the brain.

Possible problems with too much technology time:

  • Remaining in fixed position over extended periods of time can cause musculoskeletal problems
  • A sedentary lifestyle may cause you to spend much less time exercising
  • Lengthy time before a bright screen may cause visual problems, such as eye strain, blurred vision or headaches
  • Actually, media devices can have a large amount of germs and cause infections
  • Social development can be impeded when spending too much time on social media, particularly in a child or teen as they need more face-to-face time with others
  • Devices may interrupt the sleep cycle. Teens in particular tend to talk at night with their parents unaware. It is a good idea to have them turn off their phones at bedtime and maybe leave them in a particular area. In addition, you may be too alert, too awake or simply unable to rest at night when thinking about your game or contacts.
  • Using technology excessively can by associated with severe mental health problems, including lower emotional stability, poor self-confidence, poor psychological well-being and a lower life satisfaction.

Other Possible Psychological Issues

If you always have your cell phone closeby, and if you are constantly checking your social media, plus talking on the phone, you may hear phantom rings. This is called phantom rings. People report hearing a phantom ring, or they think they feel their phone is vibrating, which may occur about once a week.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed or even isolated when technology is not readily available, you may actually suffer from withdrawal. Instant gratification games and continual bright screens actually demand a level of stimulation. So what happens when the power goes out?

If you think you are too dependent on your phone, try turning it off or at least placing it away from you for a period of time. This should quickly help you to determine if you have a problem.

Adult Technology Use

In Summary

Remember that family and friends are more important in life than technology. The lack of control (and a need for artificial control) consumes the meaning of family, friendships, and even your favorite TV show is not more important.

Having said that, we bought our 3 year old granddaughter a toy computer for Christmas, and it had many great features. She loved it! So, this year, for the 4th birthday we got her a small bicycle with training wheels. Her mom and dad bought the helmet, etc. I assume that is an improvement.

If you have a child who is overly self-conscious, has anxiety, or has unreasonable expectations, you may need to seek professional help. It is so important to know what your child is doing in his or her free time. We, as parents, are responsible for the next generation, so it is important to see your child grows up with a healthy routine.

How Important is Technology in Your Life

How many hours a day do you us technology, which does not include work.

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

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  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    16 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy,

    I grew up like you did and I am glad too. Everyone needs some balance. Thanks for commenting, Peggy.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    16 months ago from Houston, Texas

    I am happy that I grew up in a time when leisure time usually meant playing outside, climbing trees, or reading a book. Spending time with our families also took up much of our time, and I will always be happy for those memories. Personal computers had not yet been invented, and somehow we managed. Ha!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Tim, I think your comments are so important concerning the possible effects on the brain. The story of your time with your neice is just preious. It shows we can even help other children in addition to our own.

    I played a lot of board games with by grandchildren and now they are in their 20's, but not addicted to technology as far as I know. Parents need to do a better job in many cases so children can be creative with play outside or with games. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

    Tim Truzy 

    2 years ago from U.S.A.

    Hi, Pamela,

    Great article. Addiction specialist recognize the behaviors and symptoms demonstrated by prolong use of these technologies can impact the brains of users. The same areas of the brain which are active during chemical dependency also are activated with this addiction.

    To help my nieces and nephews from falling into this situation, I always showed up with board games or planned to take them out to the park. Whereas most of us grew up knowing how to create options for play and recreation, I think many Americans may have to show their children that other options exist beyond the cell phone or tablet.

    I received my reward when my niece showed up saying, "Hey! Uncle Tim! Remember how you use to tell us stories as kids! Well, come take a walk with me and I'll show you what inspired me to write about my childhood for a college paper." It was a tree in the back yard, and we talked for hours before she ran off to school again.

    Excellent and relevant article, Pamela.

    Very good information.

    Sincerely,

    Tim

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Genna, I absolutly agree with you, and it is hard not to use gadgets. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Good question, Pamela. Technology is important, but what is this doing to us? To our children? We seem to become more and more reliant on tech gadgets and apps as we disconnect and disassociate from the real world, our natural environments and, ironically, each other. Excellent article!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Maria, I am grateful to have grown without technology as well. I appreciate your kind comments, and understand a day without the phone. Hugs.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Pam,

    I'm always grateful to have grown up without all the technology that surrounds us today.

    I didn't get my first computer until I was "40". I view technology as a tool / at times a necessary evil.

    I left out for work the other day without my phone - what a great day!

    Great post - well researched and most informative. Hugs, Maria

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dianna, It is hard to think of daily life without technology as it has added so many great things to our daily activities. Children are a concern. of course. I appreciate your comments.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    2 years ago

    Technology is part of our daily lives. We cannot function without it. However, it doesn't always prove to be a healthyexperience for users, especially children. Good article with lots of important topics covered.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Louise, I hate to see those examples of people using cell phones that you listed. It is frustrating when people talk too loud in an enclosed environment, such as restaurants or offices. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Coffeequeeen profile image

    Louise Powles 

    2 years ago from Norfolk, England

    It must be very frustrating for parents when their children are constantly on their devices. I'm not addicted, thank goodness. I have a PC at home and a mobile phone, but I can see why it can be addictive. Frankly, it drives me mad when I go out to a restaurant for instance, and you see people sitting there with their heads in their phones and not talking to each other.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Devika, I agree about the convenience. I think you are right as moderation is the key. That is probably true for most people.

    I am more concerned about children as parents might let them play games too long because it keeps them quiet and out of trouble. I think most parents are too knowledgeable to let this happen, but information is always useful. I appreciate your comments.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Modern technology has taken the world by storm. It is part of our daily lives. In moderation is key but not every one would see that way. However it has made our lifestyles convenient. Useful points if someone is addicted.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Linda, Safety is certainly a concern for every parent, but they should draw of line as you suggested. You made some excellent points. Thank you for making such kind comments about this article.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    You've included some great information in this article, Pamela. I think the use of technology needs to be considered carefully, especially in children. I do think a cell phone can be important for young people (and adults) in case they face an emergency, but somehow a line has to be drawn to prevent overuse of technology, for the reasons that you've mentioned. Thanks for an important and thought-provoking article.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Pop, Some of my concerns about technology is the effect on relationships, learning and concentration. I turn my phone off early at night, at the doctors or restaurants or at least on vibrate only. Glad you are at happy and peaceful. Thanks for sharing your comments.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 

    2 years ago

    I am not addicted. In fact,w hen I leave the house without my phone I am happy and at peace. If I am out, I do not want to be talking on the phone unless it is an emergency. I don't call anyone on their cell if they are not home. Having said this, I can see how the phone can be addictive. I hate being in a restaurant and watching everyone on their phones. This isn't normal at all. In the end, all this technology will have a profound adverse effect upon relationships, learning and concentration.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Shauna, I am irritated in restaurants, and in a waiting room for a doctor when someone is talking loud. I just want to quietly read my book at a doctor's office, and enjoy my food at a restaurant.

    Of course, it is against the law to drive and talk on the phone, but I see it all the time. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Readmikenow, You really got a first hand view of the problem. I can remember when we got our first TV, so also don't feel attached to my phone either.

    Thanks for your comments.

  • Readmikenow profile image

    Readmikenow 

    2 years ago

    I became very aware of this last year when I went backpacking with a friend and his sons. We hiked and camped in an area that was a "Dead Zone." No cell service. My friend and I grew up without cell phones and it was no big deal to us. His two sons in their 20s were absolutely beside themselves with fear. I'd never seen anything like it. There was a time when we survived just fine without cell phones. People seem to forget this. Many times I intentionally don't have my cell phone with me.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    2 years ago from Central Florida

    It drives me crazy when I see people on their phones in a restaurant. I put mine in my purse and turn the ringer off. Why go to the trouble of having a meal out if you're not going to actually share the company you're with?

    Same with talking on the phone when you're out and about. What makes you think I want to hear your conversation? Can't you tell the caller that you'll call them back when you're in a more private setting?

    I won't even answer my phone when I'm driving. I wait until I get home or wherever I'm going to check to see who called or texted. When I'm in my own personal space, I'll return the call or text.

    Technology has trumped respect and human interaction. So sad.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Flourish, I know what you mean, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. It is sad.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Aldene, Thanks for stopping by to read my article. It is something to consider.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Bill, I was surprised by that percentage also. I am concerned about children, particularly teens, as I don't really see an upside to having this amount of technology available. Thanks for your comments.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    2 years ago from USA

    I see people doing this too and it’s sad. They are in the direct presence of several people but everyone is staring at a screen. What will they remember about one another? They’re not making memories! That video was very impactful.

  • AMFredenburg profile image

    Aldene Fredenburg 

    2 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

    Food for thought!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    2 years ago from Olympia, WA

    The first statistic, 40% by 5th grade, is astounding...and troubling....and perhaps, my friend, I am just too old to understand the changes that are happening to society.

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