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Escape from Technology: smart phone addiction in adults and children

It’s shocking and we don’t want to admit it – but we have a problem 

Written and researched by Monica C

The number of people addicted to high-tech devices has increased dramatically over the last few years. In addition to this worrying trend, people became more addicted to social networking sites and applications. The problem was not only observed among adults but among children as well, as devices and applications proliferate youngsters’ lives on a daily basis.

In this book, you will learn more about how this addiction has affected, and continues to affect, the lives of many people. You will also understand what computer scientists and web developers do to make sure that people keep using their products and services, regardless of the implications.   

Moreover, this book provides useful tips to help you fight addiction to social media and high-tech gadgets. You will also find guidelines to help your kids control their use of devices.  In the last chapter of this book, you will find some great apps that you can use to help you overcome your addiction to digital devices and social media. 

By the time you finish reading, you will be equipped with lessons that will help you become responsible in managing your usage of social media and high-tech devices.

Monica

Adults’ Addiction to Smartphones and Other Gadgets

Addiction to gadgets is a common problem among people today. Too much use of smartphones and other types of high-tech devices can detrimentally affect the lives of many people. This addiction causes a negative impact towards people’s health and lifestyle.

According to a recent study, 56% of Americans own smartphones. High-tech devices like computers, laptops, and tablets are now part of people’s daily lives. Some people use gadgets for entertainment while others use them mainly for communication.  

These innovative devices are designed to be used in various ways and for different purposes. They are most commonly used for communication, social interaction, entertainment, information gathering and dissemination, and content production among other uses.

People find these devices convenient for doing online banking, completing projects for school, and creating presentations for work among others. There’s no doubting the positive impact such technologies and systems have had on society, but there is a downside to this as well.

The Problem

It’s a big issue for some adults when they misplace their smartphones – I’m the same, it can be an awful feeling. When this happens, people suddenly feel lost or incomplete and are unable to accomplish any task because they rely heavily on their gadgets to do their jobs. People use their smartphones, tablets, or laptops wherever they are and whenever they want to.

They are used even in places like the cinema or the bathroom, where these gadgets are considered out-of-place or intrusive to some extent. Who hasn’t quickly whipped out their iPhones when perched on the loo to quickly check Facebook or send a text?

The addiction to smartphones and other digital devices is further underscored by stories and accounts of people taking their devices to bed with them. They surf on their tablets, read eBooks, or play games on their smartphones, supposedly to help them fall asleep, much like counting sheep.

When their smartphones beep or ring, they pick up or check for messages even as they are already dozing off. Intimate moments are not spared from this addiction as studies have reported that one out of six couples has admitted checking their phones or texting while having sex

There’s also the issue of texting while driving. In many countries, this practice is widely prohibited and for good reasons. Studies show that this practice is seven times more dangerous than drink driving. 

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Texting while driving is on the increase

Spreading Like Wildfire

All of the instances are indications that addiction to digital devices and gadgets is indeed a bigger problem than people want to admit it is. Frequently using and the seeming inseparability with these gadgets and devices is perhaps one of the most common compulsive habits observed in adults today. The sad news is that children and teenagers are likewise emulating these habits and patterns and therefore also developing a dependency or addiction. 

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Children’s Addiction to Smartphones and Other Gadgets

Many addiction experts agree that the worst victims of gadget addiction are children and young people. Like adults, kids and teenagers use their devices all the time and are gradually becoming too attached to them. 

An independent research team in the UK interviewed over a thousand of teenagers and the respondents were asked about how they use their smartphones. Results showed that 92% of teenagers went online every day and more than half of them use their phones more than twice a day. Some of the respondents admitted to using their phones even when they were in school. Around 12% of the kids use their phones once a day, while 6% of the kids say they go online once a week. 

Most of the children nowadays grow up to having instant access to almost anything they want. Kids are given basic phones at an early age and most of them get smartphones by the time they become teenagers. Only a handful of parents put their foot down when it comes to allowing their kids to have gadgets or actively work on limiting gadget use. 

As children witness the addictive behavior from their parents, it is but natural for them to engage in the same practices as well.

Making the Addiction Worse

There are bigger problems that spring from the issue of addiction to digital devices and gadgets. If the kids are vulnerable to addiction to these devices, it is highly likely that they will also be vulnerable to other addictions. Addictive behaviour and dependency is something that goes beyond just one object of obsession.

Becoming dependent on a device at an early age can inadvertently open the door to susceptibility to addictions and dependencies later in life.

Sexting is another more recent issue that comes with digital device and social media addiction. Recently, concern has grown over the exposure of children to pornographic materials through their digital devices and the sharing of these materials through their smartphones.

Each year, the number of children exposed to explicit content grows. Kids can now access adult websites even without supervision and concern has grown over sexual or fetish content getting through the filters and on to children’s YouTube or for betting companies to target youngsters with well-known characters flashing on screens to advertise gambling games.

In a recent survey involving 1,500 teachers, around 75% of them admit that they are aware of students sharing sexual images and videos. Over the last three years, more than 2,000 children were involved in crimes linked to disturbing images. Many teenagers describe sexting as “normal.”

Most young girls think that sending naked pictures to someone is a common occurrence among their peer group. They say that it only becomes a problem if their parents find out. 

Kids also become more attached to their digital devices when they get addicted to playing mobile games. What’s worse is that it’s actually the parents who are often to blame for this kind of addiction. They use digital devices as surrogate or virtual nannies to keep the kids from becoming too rowdy, noisy, or fussy.

They think that for as long as their kids are preoccupied with their games on their devices, they are less likely to get into mischief or make a mess. What parents sometimes do not realize is that they are encouraging and supporting addictive behavior in their children. 

Mandy Saligari, an addiction expert, said that parents tend to overlook the addictive nature of high-tech devices. She notes that giving a tablet or a smartphone to a child is like giving him or her a gram of coke or a glass of wine.

She observes that many parents pay more attention to keeping their children away from alcohol and drugs rather than to keeping them from using their gadgets too much. They are failing to see that it’s the same addictive behaviour regardless if it’s alcohol and drugs or digital devices and social media.  

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