Addicted to Technology? Try a Tech Detox

Posted on December 28th, 2014
Posted in Addiction

Technology addiction is real and it could be affecting you. Getting hooked on tech is a modern problem and it can take many different forms: smartphone addiction, internet addiction, and even being addicted to getting more information. It may not seem as serious as drug or alcohol addiction, but you might be surprised to learn that tech addictions have many things in common with chemical addiction.

For instance, when you get a text or a like on your Facebook status, your brain releases dopamine, the same pleasure chemical that comes out in a rush when someone gets high on a drug. Research has even shown that people experience symptoms of withdrawal when away from technology. These include anxiety, confusion, panic, jittery feelings, paranoia and irritability along with intense cravings. If you think you may be too attached to your tech, try a detox and see how much better you feel. Here are some tips to help you cut back:

  • Determine how bad your problem is. You may not really have any idea how much time you spend using tech or how it impacts your life. On a typical day keep track of your tech usage including what you do with your phone or tablet and how much time it takes. Seeing just how much time you spend using tech could shock you into making a change.
  • Schedule screen time. Setting certain times when you can use your phone, tablet or computer will give you greater control. As with any addiction, if you are hooked on your technology you tend to lose control and spend far more time online than you meant to. A carefully planned schedule will give you back that control and help you cut back on your total time spent using tech.
  • Wear a watch. This may seem simple and unrelated, but most of us now rely on phones to tell the time. When you need to see the time you pull out your phone and then why not check your email while it’s out? And your status updates? If you wear a watch you can check your wrist for the time and avoid getting distracted by your phone.
  • Use an app. It sounds counterintuitive, but you can actually download apps that will help you use your phone or tablet less often. These set off alarms when you have been using your device for too long or even restrict access after you have been online for too long.
  • Never use tech when socializing. Make this a hard and fast rule and you will use your devices less often. If you’re out for lunch with a friend, grabbing cocktails on a date or eating dinner with family, never reach for your phone. It’s impolite and it only adds to your tech time. You may even set a good example for those around you by refusing to pull out your phone.
  • Try a day-long detox. Quitting tech cold turkey won’t be easy and it’s not practical either. In this modern world most of us need to be connected to some extent. Putting your screens away for just 24 hours, though, could help you get a grip on your addiction. You may feel some withdrawal symptoms at first, and this will help you realize just how hooked you are on technology

Everyone is vulnerable to developing technology addictions — it’s almost impossible not to, considering how modern society is today. But you can take charge: Take control of your life by being aware of how you use technology and by making positive changes to live a balanced life.

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