Tech addiction is something that has been studied from different viewpoints in science. It has been researched from medicine, computer, law, ethics, and psychology. If we look at the association of mental health and those addicted to technology, what will we find? Do the effects on the brain stay the same regardless of age, gender, marital status, or even education levels? That is what we want to find out.
Technology has changed how the average person lives, learns, and works- but at what cost? When an individual cannot balance time online and offline, it can mean significant issues in their relationships, work, school, and even mental health.
Many researchers seem to be thinking about social media as if it were sugar: safe in small to moderate quantities and harmful only if teenagers consume large quantities. But, unlike sugar, social media does not act just on those who consume it. It has radically transformed the nature of peer relationships, family relationships, and daily activities. (Jacqueline Nesi, n.d.)
Here we try to find an answer to a question that many professionals have been asking. Which came first, technology addiction or the co-occurring mental health problems?
What is healthy mental health? Exactly what does Technology addiction mean, and do these two things have a negative correlation together? Let us find out.
What is “good” mental health and what is tech addiction.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is vital at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. (What Is Mental Health?, n.d.)
Positive mental health allows people to:
- Cope with stressful situations in their lives.
- Make meaningful connections with those around them.
- Have the flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change.
- Implement a balance between work and play, rest, and activity, etc.
According to helpguide.org, Having solid mental health does not mean that you never go through bad times or experience emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury, people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. (Building Better Mental Health, n.d.)
What is Tech addiction:
If you ask someone who has technology addiction what they get from technology or their device, the first answer will most likely be a connection. Everyone has a need for human interaction and connection, and technology has found a way to give it to them.
What falls under the umbrella of tech addiction?
- The internet.
- Video games.
- Computer games.
- Mobile Phone.
- Social Media.
Top reasons that people become addicted to the internet:
Statistics regarding Technology usage:
- Only 53% of Americans have meaningful in-person social interactions daily.(Cigna, n.d.)
- Those who perceived more negative interactions online and were prone to social comparison had higher levels of anxiety and depression.(Medical News Today, n.d.)
- Higher use of social media makes people three times more likely to have perceived social isolation.(Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S., n.d.)
- For every 10% rise in negative social media interactions that someone experiences, the risk of depression increases by 20%.(Wiley Online Library, n.d.)
- Those who spend over 6 hours per day watching TV or using the computer are more likely to have moderate or severe depression levels. (NCBI, n.d.)
The Effects of Technology usage:
Psychology effects of Technology addiction:
Physical impacts of Technology addiction:
- Poor posture
- Sleep problems
- Type 2 diabetes
all4kids.org states that “unfortunately, the effects of technology on children and youth are not only spreading to a larger population, but they have also shown to be long-lasting as well. To put things into perspective, about 50% of lifetime mental illness cases started at the age of 14, and 75% began by 24. With this in mind, it is important to take cautionary steps to mitigate potential risk factors for our children, including their access to technology. These steps can include adding parental controls to limit the amount of time your children can have on their mobile devices or while watching television. It is important to keep in mind how a child’s exposure to technology and social media can leave a lasting impact on their mental health.”
In conclusion, technology has changed the average American lifestyle in terms of “connection.” While we can see that technology brings many goods to people, we must also be aware that it comes at a price for many.
From looking at the surface of technology, we can see the beneficial use, but if we take the time to focus on the core issues, you will find harm, especially when it comes to the millions of under-age users that it seems to take hold of every year.
If you are not sure if you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Severe changes in sleeping habits, personality traits, and behavior.
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Partaking in risky behaviors that can lead to harming themselves or others.
- Attempting to harm oneself or thinking about it.
- Extreme sense of worry or fear during daily activities.
- Extreme mood swings.
If you or your loved one is struggling with technology addiction or any addiction that falls under the realm of technology, or you think you are starting to see the signs, contact us today at (512) 601-5407 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Read more about addiction to technology and what we have implemented in our program that makes it successful for not only the addict but also the entire family.