As a child, when I needed information, I would go to the library. If I was driving to an unfamiliar place, I would ask someone I knew for directions, or buy a map. If I happened to get lost, I would swallow my pride and ask a stranger for help. That’s what we did back then. Now, life is quite different. We can use our electronic devices for all of the scenarios described above. Just about everyone orders that Saturday night pizza on their phone. In fact, you don’t even need to speak to anyone, because “there’s an app for that.” I don’t even memorize phone numbers anymore, as they are all stored on my phone. The technology is great, until my phone becomes lost or broken and then I’m in trouble! So, I ask myself, “Am I as dependent on my phone as a drug addict is with drugs”?
Well, it certainly is a luxury having it phone and I do depend on it for some things, but I can sit and watch TV or a movie without it. I recently spent some time with a group of young adults who happened to be watching a movie (if you want to call it that). The whole time the movie was on, each of the five in the room had their noses buried into their devices! I found that I was the only one watching the movie and it seemed very comical to me. I was tempted to take a picture of them with my phone, but I had the willpower to hold back that action. Maybe I’m not so addicted after all!
There is, however, a more serious side to this issue. Everywhere you go, you will notice children and adults are glued to their devices. It seems that many are losing their social skills. Instead of talking with someone directly, they are using texts or emails in lieu of direct face-to-face conversation. People are even breaking the law by texting on their phones while driving, causing deadly accidents. Sounds like addict behavior to me! A friend of mine recently took his son’s phone away for a week and it was like having a junkie go into withdrawal.
A recent article discusses the similarities in brain activity and electronic devices, drug and alcohol addictions and eating disorders. The obsession a person can develop with their phone or computer is the same type of compulsive thinking drug addicts experience. Try this experiment: Turn your phone off for an hour and see how you feel mentally and physically. Can you do it and be at peace? Now imagine doing it for a day? For those who have grown up with the internet at their fingertips, an hour or a day can be a very challenging thing to accomplish.
I just realized that you are reading this blog via phone or computer…I suppose there are benefits to technology!