Technological advancement has resulted in a great number of advantages that people would not be aware of without modern devices. In fact, the living standards have improved, and work has become easier than it was in the past days. Technology has also extended the lifespan of human beings since modern medical health care services enable medical practitioners to improve one’s health conditions easily. However, there are uncountable disadvantages of the technology that have as well brought about endless suffering to the human race. As a result of technologic progress, there is a whole bunch of gadgets surrounding every human being throughout the day. The gadgets demand attention; therefore, they constantly fragment people’s ability to focus on the task at hand in a proper way. In this case, technology has caused addiction that has worsened some aspects of life. Craving for technology has several qualifications that cause addiction (Heap, Thomas, Einon, Mason, & Mackay, 1995). Most people only see the positive side of technology. However, continuous overdependence on technology causes addiction that affects social, emotional, and health status of children, youth, and people in general.
Types of Technology Addiction
Internet addiction refers to the excessive use of the Internet throughout the day. Technology has caused many people to remain online for the whole day. The Internet allows people from all parts of the world to meet and to communicate in an easy way irrespective of the geographical distance between them. In this case, it is effective and efficient to pass information from one person to another within the shortest time possible. Additionally, people are able to read the news, play online games, read books, and attend classes at the comfort of their homes. However, people are using the Internet the whole day and fail to do other things that are expected from them (Heap, Thomas, Einon, Mason, & Mackay, 1995).
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The individual feels uncomfortable, whenever he/she is not online. In the long run, an individual ends up being depressed; as a result, he/she lacks social support. One feels that having online friends is more satisfying than having real-life friends. The addict becomes withdrawn from friends and family members. Online gaming has also caused internet addiction. People prefer to play games online rather than join a playground. Despite the fact that online gaming does not favor the players physically, they prefer playing online claiming that it is easier, more entertaining, and friendly as compared to physical games.
Online gambling has increased drastically and caused addiction. Technology has shown people the possibility of earning money without struggling. Therefore, some people take advantage of technology and prefer to use their time looking for online luck and chance. Unfortunately, online gambling, similar to other types of gambling, is not always promising. Therefore, those who are addicted to gambling are not always lucky. They end up getting depressed after losing their money online (Anderson, 2002).
One of the main categories of internet addiction is social networking addiction. Social networking sites are online websites where people from all over the globe share their ideas, pictures, music, and other preferences. They meet to chat and enjoy communicating irrespective of their geographical position, religion, and racial or gender differences. Technology enables people to make profiles where they post personal information. People meet friends and make friendship. However, nowadays, people are chatting with their friends online most of their time. They make online friends and value them even more than the real ones.
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Additionally, social networking addition makes people spend most of their time changing their profiles in order to look more attractive. They spend a lot of time updating their statuses and checking the new posts. In case they post a status, and only a few people “like” it, or comment on it, they become depressed. Other people use fake names and pictures in order to encourage others to be added to their friend list (Rogers, 1998).
Students take advantage of social networking sites to communicate whenever they are not interested in what the tutor says. They post jokes when the lesson is still in progress. In this case, their education is affected in a negative way. Apart from education, social networking addiction has lowered production in all sectors. People use most of their work time for social networking. Hence, they fail to attend to their chores, which lead to the poor performance of the entire organization (Rogers, 1998).
Television and Video Games Addiction
Apart from online technology, people are also addicted to television and video games. They use excess time watching television programs and movies. People can spend the whole day holding the remote controller and entertaining themselves with soap operas, reality shows, or digital games. They prefer watching television to joining friends and relatives and communicating with them. Television and video games addiction make people stop reasoning. Instead, they start behaving themselves like the movie characters (Pinch & Bijker, 2004).
Despite the above described different types of technology addiction, there is still a group of people claiming that technology by no means can cause addiction. The opponents of this idea point out that the world is moving from the analog period to the digital period. Their main argument lies behind the numerous advantages of technology. They argue that technology has too many advantages than the single sided addiction. Therefore, addiction to technology does not count. Additionally, opponents of the existence of technology addiction claim that there is no addiction to technology since it is only used when necessary. They point out that an individual cannot use technology inappropriately. Firstly, technology is not free of charge. Therefore, one cannot use their money unnecessarily. Secondly, technology is only used by learned people. Therefore, they can hardly use technology unnecessarily (Pinch & Bijker, 2004).
Solutions to Technology Addiction
According to Rogers, E. (1998), it might appear important to own a device, which can perform tasks concerning anything. However, becoming dependent on one device has its collection of predicaments. Take into consideration this scenario: one may take out his or her phone to confirm what the time is. Then, once the phone is out of the pocket already, it is necessary to check the email. Therefore, one ends up using a few minutes assessing whether or not to respond to the email or respond later. It goes on from there thinking what must be a reasonable quick function that is checking what the time is into a collection of functions you do not necessarily require (Rogers, 1998).
Therefore, it is highly important to control the time one spends on checking emails, profiles and calls. The best solution is to practice checking, for example, the mobile phone only in case of inbound calls. It is advisable to go about one’s business not focusing on updates Trying to keep the phone in the pocket will save the precious time. If the calls distract from the matters, it is recommended to switch the Internet. Once the person is meeting with friends and relatives, the best option is to put off the device and concentrate on real communication. (Anderson, 2002).
Addiction to technology is a personal problem. Therefore, it requires a person to make a decision to at least weaken the addiction. It requires about two months for an individual to stop over-depending on technology. Setting limits on how much hours one spends online per day helps individuals not to devote all their time to gadgets. This minimizes the addiction. Secondly, setting boundaries between life practices and work is important. It helps individuals understand the distinction between personal practices and office chores. Additionally, individuals should find the practical hobby that does not involve social, media, or electronics contribution. Developing a healthy plan on how often one checks his/her social network updates, emails, and phone messages help reduce technology addiction (Pinch & Bijker, 2004). Individuals should make a decision to stop over-depending on technology as it causes addiction.
- Anderson, M. (2002). The toll of downtime. Healthcare Informatics Online.
- Heap, N., Thomas, R., Einon, G., Mason, R., & Mackay, H. (1995). Information Technology and Society. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
- Pinch, T., & Bijker, E. (2004). The social construction of facts and artifacts: or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science, 14 (3): 399 – 44.
- Rogers, E. (1998). Diffusion of Innovations. (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.