Addiction To Screen Time

February 21, 2018 Addiction Uncategorized 0

Are you unable to leave a room without your phone? Do you check your phone
constantly? Do you check your email and Twitter feed before even getting up out of bed
in the morning? Do you panic when you can’t locate your phone? If your answer is
mostly ‘yes’, then chances are that you are at least overusing technology, or at worst
suffering from an addiction to screen time.

You know that you have an enmeshed relationship with technology when it interferes with
‘normal’ life activities, like real time spent with friends and family, hygienic behaviour,
meeting of deadlines at work, and chores at home. Tech addiction also has to do with
spending more time in technologically based activities than planned. This is partly due to
the fact that many online activities don’t have any stopping cues that tell us to move on
and do something different. When we read a physical newspaper or magazine, it comes
to an end. When we watch a tv show, it comes to and end. Yet, the newsfeed on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just rolls on and on; text messaging is in fact
bottomless.

Most of us are aware of the many reasons why technology should not be overused, like
disrupted sleep patterns, lack of exercise, risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, eye and back
strain, financial problems, job loss and relationship problems. However, do we ever
consider the sacrifice we make in terms of our own personal time. Personal time is
sacred time, time to reflect deeply, time to be ourselves, time to grow on a personal level.
Personal time is our free time, our time to contemplate life, to think creatively about our
life, to listen to our inner self, to connect to the force of life within us. Yet we lay this
magical time at the feet of our technological devices, sacrificing our deepest need, which
is to connect with self.

Why do we harm ourselves in this way? It becomes a way to escape problematic life
circumstances and relationships, a way to avoid dealing with difficult situations. It gives
us a feeling of connectedness when in reality we are feeling disconnected and lonely. It
gives us a feeling of status and trendiness, of being taken seriously and listened to, when
really we are suffering with low self esteem. It allows us to feel in control, when we feel
overwhelmed by life. It allows us to create a different persona, an image of the person we
would have liked to be, when we are unhappy with who we are. It hides our poor social
skills allowing us to connect with people through other means. It becomes a way to dull
pain, both physically and emotionally It allows us to stay anonymous, thereby guarding
ourselves from being evaluated by others. It helps us to feel alive, when inside we are
feeling down and depressed.

Balance is key. Imbalance needs to be addressed. We need to become conscious of the
specific reasons underlying our over dependence on technology. Here in lies the
gift….emerging from the state of ‘unconsciousness’ that our overuse of technology keeps
us in, addressing the underlying causes like lack of self esteem, problematic relationships
etc. and receiving the personal growth and sense of true connection with self and life
itself.

It is advisable to make use of a Psychologist specializing in addiction as a guide on your
healing journey. Your Psychologist will help you to unpack and explore the psychological
reasons underpinning your addiction, be a witness to your healing journey, and offer
containment and emotional safety as you transition from unconsciousness into
enlightenment.

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