When we hear the word “addiction” our first thought is drugs or alcohol or tobacco. Maybe love is also an addiction. But are these the only cause of addiction? In this age of unique inventions there is an addiction which has been added. It is known as Technology addiction – sometimes called Internet addiction, Internet User Disorder (IUD) or Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). This type of addiction is a disorder which has serious problems including the inability to control various kinds of technology, in particular the internet, smartphones, tablets and social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc..
Several medical experts who treat patients with addictions have raised the alarm about more people becoming hooked to their digital devices as they surf the Internet, play online games, use social media, and text. The experts are calling high-tech gadgets for some users “digital heroin” and “electronic cocaine.” Depression, anxiety, and aggression have all been linked to excessive screen time, and can even spur psychotic-like features. Further research shows that as more kids use digital media, their social skills Erode. And the more time a child spends dedicated to cyber-reality, the more they lose the ability to interpret real life emotions. Research shows that long amount of time focus on the screen can affect the brain’s frontal cortex the same way that cocaine does.
How Technology is a Drug?
kids today are spending ample amount of time using electronics and gadgets.A 2015 survey published by Common Sense Media found that teenagers ageing from 13 to 18 averaged six and half hours of screen time per day on social media and other activities like video games.The report also says that 24 percentage of teenagers ages 13 to 17 are being “online constantly” and that 73 percentage had a smartphone or access to one.
What keeps them wanting to come for more? Much of the interaction with technology can provide a dopamine high for our kids.Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that gets released in our brain when we experience something positive and interesting.It essentially serves a positive reward system.In the same way that drug users experience a dopamine high,experts are now finding that aspects of technology can also provide that same type of physical and psychological reaction.
Experts say that, the way smartphones stimulate our brains,we’re all “carrying around a portable dopamine pump”.Every time we posy,share,comment,or send an online invitation,we’re all creating an expectation to get a response from others.When someone responds to our email,comments,texts or invitation,we feel a sense of belonging and get a rush of happiness and excitement.
Dark Side of Tech
If you want to know how Donald Trump became president of United States and why his fellow populists and nationalist are on a march across wide swaths of Europe,you could do worse than to glance at the smartphone you interact with about 500 times a day.
No, the immense powerful computer nearly all of us carry around in our pockets and purses didn’t give us Trump.But this unique piece of technology is as much an avatar of our historical moment as the factory or sweat shop was for age of the industrial revolution.That was the last time in our history when destabilizing technological change led to the rise of radical political movements of anti-liberal right and left.Those who supported those movements did so in reaction to the sense that their lives were spinning out of control,with technological innovations and resulting economic trends seeming to master us rather that the other way around.
What Parents can do
Besides cutting back on screen time,we can help divert their minds to more effective and positive ways to get a dopamine boost.
*Sports and Exercise:
Indulging one’s self in outdoor games like football,basketball,cricket helps one to get detached from screen time.Gyming,running.family rides or runs also encourages in getting detached from screen time.
Our brain chemistry changes when we do something kind for others.Get involved in social services,help the needing and the poor and your friends and family.
*Focus on Passion:
Exposing children to inspiring hands-on activities like art,music,dance,writing etc, help them to get indulge in something fruitful other than interacting with technology.When they explore something that makes sense,they get a happiness boost.
*Play Board Games:
Board games like cheese,ludo etc help them channelise their brains and intelligence.
One of the best ways to distract kids from their gadgets is to get them giggling.There are so many ways to bring comedy and humor into their lives,from comic books to comedy shows.Have fun with it!
Imagine, you’re dreaming that you’re texting your loved ones. You’re posting selfies, sending snaps to your friend and suddenly, all you want to do is stay online. You can feel yourself getting addicted but you can’t help it and then you realise it’s not a dream, after all. Never let anything get the best of you. The outside, is a beautiful place. Instead of losing ourself in this man-made world, why don’t we put down all our gadgets and go outside and take a deep breath of air. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, play or chat with our friends, face to face and not just through phone. God said, “Let there be light,” well, it’s time to wake up and get a sun-tan in that light.