Ah, technology. You can’t budge for seeing it no matter where you are. Electric cars on the road, smart fridges in the kitchen, the upgraded technology in the palm of your hand that gives you access to all of the world’s knowledge – bingo. Everywhere you look there is something to do with technology, so it’s no wonder that all of us are so reliant on it these days. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Progress is always a wonderful thing, but progress for progress’ sake? Maybe that’s not such a good thing. This is more in the context of billionaires building robots – but they probably haven’t seen Terminator just yet!
Understanding whether or not technology is still something you can enjoy without becoming reliant on it for every minute of the day is important. You might love your new DJI Mini 3, but that doesn’t mean that you would buy every single version of this drone every time one comes out. The point is you need to be able to point out to yourself whether technology is something you need or something you enjoy – because there is a very big difference. Let’s take a look at all of the signs that you may be addicted to technology.
- Your phone broke and the world ended. There’s nothing like the old Nokia phones from the 90s; you could drop those bricks and they would bounce. Today, however, we’re able to get phones that are as fragile as angel hair. It makes for wonderful apps and screen sizing, but not so great for fragility! When your phone breaks, you should be able to use insurance to replace it. If you’re panicking and having a tantrum instead, it could mean you’re more addicted to it than you think!
- Your smartphone is your morning paper. Do you remember the days of sitting at the breakfast table with the broadsheets while you eat your croissant and drink your orange juice? No, minibar. Instead, we now roll sideways, unplug our phones on the charging port and start scrolling through Facebook. If you’re looking at this and starting to feel that flash of guilt trip up your face, you’re probably addicted to your technology – you just don’t want to admit it. Just because you’re looking after your friends, or checking your messages, doesn’t mean you’re not addicted to technology. Look up and smell the rain outside – there’s something amazing out there you just have to be willing to see it.
- The Internet has you in a chokehold. Have a look at your screen time rates on your phone. You should be able to find a spot with your settings. It should tell you your average screen time through the week, and if you’re spending more than four hours per day on the Internet that you may have an issue. Of course, we are not talking about Internet usage that is work-related, we are talking about scrolling power. Look at which apps you are using the most – is your Facebook app open more than your calculator? You’re probably addicted.
- Your phone is lost – again, the world has ended. If you find that you cannot be without your smart phone, you cannot leave your house without a drone, you cannot go anywhere without being able to take photos on a GoPro – or you need your iPad to travel – there could be a problem here. If you are experiencing genuine anxiety when you are without your smart phones this could indicate quite the problem. We are not talking about when you drop it in public or you have lost it at the concert. When you can’t find your phone to take out with you during the day and you suddenly panic, there’s a problem. Technology should never elicit a primal, instinctive emotion for something as simple as losing your phone. This feeling should be reserved for your arm or your children.
- The idea of being without social media feels alien for you. It’s a good sign you’re addicted to your psychology if you can’t come on Facebook for at least a month. What did you do before Facebook existed? You probably read books and watch the actual DVDs. You probably saw your friends. You probably went outside and enjoyed the fresh air in the grass. All of these things should still be enjoyable for you, so why not challenge yourself to a month without social media?
6. You need to buy the next new thing. There’s a new update, there’s new hardware, and there is a new version of the phone you already have. They’re not very many differences but you must have it. You are chewing up at 3 o’clock in the morning for the shop to open so that you can be the first in and the first out with your brand new technology. Well there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, it shouldn’t be something that you lose sleep over or become anxious over.
7. You are a technology snatcher. It’s fair enough that you don’t allow your children to play with your camera. It’s also fair enough that you wouldn’t allow children to play with your phone. If you’re protective over your technology to the point you won’t even allow your friends or family to touch it, this is a problem. You should never become viciously protective over technology. Yes, it costs you a lot of money. Yes, you want to keep it protected. But if you trust your parents to babysit your children but not use your iPad? That’s a problem that you should probably address sooner rather than later.
8. You become angry when your Internet connection slows down. Will use mostly streaming channels to watch films and TV shows these days, so when the Internet slows down and prevents you from being able to use it you become angry and upset. This should not be happening. In fact, you should be able to wait patiently for your Internet connection to reboot. If you can’t wait, then you need to have a look at whether or not you are struggling to manage without your Internet connection or if you have a genuine reason to be upset.
9. Your body hurts but yet you’re not seeking help. It’s forgivable to push through the pain in your subs when you’re gaming, but when you game so much you’re developing a repetitive strain injury, or your posture is starting to suck because you’re hunching over your work, you really need to make some changes. Sitting in front of a computer all day long is going to give you a bad back, as is hunching over your phone. How’s your little finger looking? You know, the one that holds up your phone while you scroll with your thumb? And what about the back of your neck, is that hunching over, to? We need to make sure that you are looking at this with a realistic eye – nobody wants to have a hunchback in their old age.
10. Do you put off your plans because your technology is not working? If you want to go on a vacation, but your go pro isn’t charged or your drone isn’t working, are you still going to go or are you going to hold off? Those of you out there who will hold off should make sure they speak to a doctor. You shouldn’t ever put your plans off because your technology is not working, because you can’t function without it. Yes, it’s nice to be able to document your vacation, but if it’s something that’s going to lose you thousands of dollars then maybe you should hold back.
11. Can you leave your house without your phone? This is a question that’s going to be quite interesting for you to answer. Could you leave your phone at home and go out and have fun? Are you able to stay off social media while you’re out with your family? Can you go to the dinner table and it’s a meal without scrolling through your phone? The chances are very high that you’re going to make this one person who can’t do any of that. If that person is you, then evaluating whether or not you are addicted to technology is that to be the least of your problems. You should be able to enjoy the world around you, including eating at a restaurant without having your phone in your hand. Take a book with you next time and see how different you feel.
12. Is your phone off while you fill up? If you are unable to turn off your phone at the hospital or a petrol station, then you need to consider stopping justifying why. You need to have your technology turned off when a plane is taking off for landing as well as when you are filling up your car with petrol. Again, bring a book with you if you need to entertain yourself for those few minutes, but don’t put everybody else at risk!