When society considers the issue of addiction most think of drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex. When these substances or actions are consumed or repeated at an obsessive level they can cause serious damage. Drugs and alcohol cause severe damage to health, social and employment situations. As technology continues to become more advanced and easy to access it can become more of a problem. Technology can be addicting and it is quickly and quietly taking over our lives. People have become increasingly reliant on the need to be on social media or other technological entertainment devices. This fact is easy to understand and even easier to see. No matter where you are the use of cell phones or other gaming devices is visible everywhere. What is surprising is that individuals are experiencing the same withdrawal symptoms as drugs and alcohol when they are away from their technology devices. These withdrawal symptoms can be present in any age and cases have been reported as young as four years old.
Study on Technology Withdrawal Symptoms
The University of Maryland conducted a study of approximately 1000 students worldwide. It asked those students to stop using all of their technology for an entire day. They were not able to use computers, cell phones, internet, and their television for a single day. The study discovered that four out of five students experienced withdrawal symptoms. These students experienced symptoms of confusion, anxiety, irritability insecurity, nervousness, anger, loneliness, depression and paranoia. These are all similar symptoms of alcoholics and drug addicts when their substance is abruptly taken away.
Young Technology Addiction
Technology has seemed to be a gift from a higher power for parents. The old days of going out to dinner and having it cut short because your children throw a tantrum are over. The days of driving in a car to hear the kids in the back going crazy are done. Televisions, games, and other entertainment devices can be found in every facet of a child’s life to keep them from ‘acting-up’. Parents are now given the opportunity to drive without the crying and yelling in the back seat because of headrest televisions and tablets. Parents out at dinner can enjoy their entire meal because kids are now distracted and even consoled by technology. This situation has reached a tipping point for a mother in U.K. her four year-old plays on her tablet for up to four hours a day and cannot be consoled without it. Specialists believe that the child is incapable of forming any social bonds because technology has intervened.
Comparing Technology to Drugs
The idea that technology has the same effects on an individual as drugs is hard to see. Drugs cause immediate changes to the brain and body, while technology cannot seem to create the same effects. The truth is that people can use either for the same reasons. People use drugs and alcohol to escape the reality of their lives. It is normal for people to use the internet, games, or television to cope with difficult times as well. Using substances or technology as a distraction from life is a dangerous practice. Illegal drugs excluded, using substances or technology or activities to distract yourself from difficulties in your life, in moderation is alright. When these activities begin to interject and interrupt normal life than they have become a problem. If normal and healthy social situations are troubled by the use of technology than there could be an addiction issue. Those individuals that cannot socialize normally outside of a phone or screen could suffer from social interaction anxiety, which is a symptom on technology addiction. Speaking with an addiction specialist can help addicts and their families better understand addiction and help them get the treatment they could require.