Addiction. The very word has a depressing ring to it. Many of us have come face-to-face with addictions in our lives. Some of us may even have struggled or are still struggling with addiction. Convention associates addiction with substances. Things like alcohol, drugs, and pharmaceuticals are the most obvious forms of addiction. But there are also other things that a person can get addicted to. Things like sex, adrenaline rush, and even technology. You may not shoot your Cox bundles into your veins. But the risk of getting addicted to using modern technology is no less real.
Addiction to Technology: Real or Not?
Many people have trouble accepting technology addiction as valid. Too many people believe you can’t get addicted to technology. This is wildly insensitive. Many people still believe in outdated concepts. Concepts like depression are only a matter of being or not being happy. This is not only factually incorrect but also insensitive. Technology addiction is a very real problem, even if the mainstream world doesn’t think it is. This blog touches on the following aspects of technology addiction:
- Addiction or Necessity?
- Video Game Addiction
- Social Media Addiction
- Information Addiction
Here’s a brief lowdown on what addiction to technology is.
Addiction or Necessity
There is a very fine line that separates necessary use from addiction. Technology is all around us. It has shaped most of the modern world we know. All the knowledge of the world is available in the palm of your hand. Technology offers new forms of entertainment, socializing, and interaction. Take a look at the internet. The internet has become the lifeblood of our daily lives. Can you imagine living without the internet? Or your smartphone? Or cloud services? Millennials and Gen Z have grown up with technology at their fingertips. Much more advanced technology than previous generations, to be precise. Almost everyone uses technology in one form or another. Those that don’t have trouble in everyday 21st Century life.
But what about people who can’t seem to stop using technology? Professional gamers spend up to 10 hours every day. Lower-tier gamers spend even more time online, trying to get to that level. There have even been reports of people dying in front of their computers. Exhaustion, dehydration, and malnourishment were the causes. Addiction is a tricky definition at the best of times. But being unable to care for yourself just to spend hours online definitely does qualify.
Video Game Addiction
Addiction to technology is very visible in the online gaming world. Believe it or not, the gaming industry is huge. Billion-dollar huge! Professional gamers have celebrity status. Especially in countries like Japan, China, and South Korea. Gamers are revered in these countries. Major professional gaming tournaments
take place in packed football stadiums. The prize money is often in millions of dollars. So it’s no wonder that young people have a fascination for video games. To repeat me, professional gamers can spend 10 or more hours every day. This encourages aspiring gamers to put in more effort. They spend the better part of the day playing games and trying to enhance their skills.
Money and fame aren’t the only attractions though. Many people don’t aspire to be professional gamers at all. But they still play just as much. The digital high they get from playing well and winning is very addictive. Many gamers start to focus on their digital persona over real life. They get addicted to the intensity of online gaming. Their real-world interactions start to suffer.
Social Media Addiction
Social media changed the way people interact. It connects you to all the people around you. It lets you share images, videos, updates, posts, and opinions. In many ways, social media is a perfect example of a shrinking world. People interact across countries, oceans, and borders. The world is much smaller and much more connected. At the same time, social media has a dark side to it. Many young people, especially teenagers, get addicted to social media lifestyle. They invest in crafting the perfect social media profile. Everything they do and post on social media has a lot of thought behind it. Young people get addicted to the idea of presenting the ultimate highlight reel. Everybody wants to compete with everyone else. Some people actually go as far as “faking” a lifestyle very different from their actual one. A fanatic obsession with social media can damage anyone.
The internet makes information accessible to anyone. Or at least to anyone connected to the internet. We use the internet to find the information we need every day. I’ve used it for finding everything from Verizon FiOS in my area to lasagna recipes. It’s astonishing how all the information in the world is right at your fingertips. But like everything else, there’s a flip side to the coin. The internet is cluttered with information. Some of it is reliable and useful. But some of it is also false, incorrect or even dangerous. People tend to find false news and conspiracy theories very addictive. They find themselves always browsing on the seedier part of the internet. Many even become convinced of global conspiracies, hidden agendas, secret societies, and more. Adds a whole new meaning to TMI or Too Much Information, doesn’t it?