A few years ago, I reviewed Facebook Addiction by Nnamdi Godson Osuagwu. This book is still relevant. Addictive behaviors don’t only apply to drugs or alcohol.
Laurel and Aaron Polli discovered the dangers of addiction which propelled them to abstain from Facebook for forty days. They experienced problems in their relationships and family due to the addictive nature of social networking.
“Laurel was on Facebook when she could have been spending time with Aaron and her little girl, Sadira. Aaron disagreed with things Laurel would post on her status. Aaron obsessed about proving a point to a female friend and he was always checking her profile.”
As far as I still know, they have continued past the forty days only rarely using Facebook. All their communication is done by email or phone or in person.
The American Psychiatry Association says addiction is a chronic disorder where we can’t control our need for the substance in question. George Barna says America is becoming addicted to technology. Families have allowed technology to increase conflict, teenagers complain of a double standard when parents bring home work, but teenagers aren’t allowed to be on Facebook. Parent’s are on as often, if not more, than their kids.
“I arrived at this conclusion based on looking at a lot of data. For instance, if media content and exposure levels are at addictive levels, we would expect to see a steady increase in the amount of media exposure that characterizes the typical person’s life. Research consistently shows such an increase. Two decades ago, the average child under 18 spent about 15 to 20 hours per week digesting media content. Today, it has nearly tripled to almost 60 hours per week of unduplicated time. They now devote more time to media than to anything other than sleep.”
Barna also points out how another sign of addiction to technology is people’s resistance to reducing technology in their life. Psychological changes have been observed. One person told me how he notices that a teenager is more willing to spend hours online than meet in person. Another person observed how social media has changed how a teenager is able to relate to others in real life. Teens have been known to text each other when standing side-by-side. My own observation is the increase of weight in people. These people are always sitting, whether playing video games, online Facebook games, or enjoying hours of a virtual social life. Barna made some other interesting observations here. I have also seen how unguided social media usage in a teenager creates a more self-centered personality. But technology can be used for good and has a lot of benefits.
If we balance our social media usage with real life, we will reap the benefits, like increased communication, reaching across continents for Christ, more business connections, dating, friendships, and political information not dependent upon major news sources to be circulated (i.e. Tea Party and grassroots movements). Fox and Friends had a business contributor on their show who said any business who doesn’t have a web page won’t get any business in the future. The bad thing about increased technology in our lives is the lack of physical contact in real life.
The commercial with the daughter living her life online with trivial apps and meme posters while her older parents were mountain biking is a realistic portrayal of today’s younger generation. Our dependence has also made us forget how to make others feel valued.
I don’t have a smart phone, but I have observed how people interrupt meetings or church gatherings when their cell phone rings or a text comes in or we have to check Facebook. We have justified our usage of the cell phone during inappropriate times when this kind of behavior was once considered rude. I have experienced this at my own meetings. It says, “I don’t consider your time that important.” I don’t answer the phone at the check-out line in the grocery stores because it says the cashier isn’t important enough to notice. Now rumors exist of a computer you can put in your eye that is being tested.
A danger exists with new and upcoming technology as well as current technology to totally disappear. A friend was telling me how Celebrate Recovery is more than about drug or alcohol addiction, but other addictions, too, like co-dependency and even, she said, technology addictions. Once, I, too, was addicted to Facebook. When I realized my virtual life outweighed real life, I knew changes had to happen.
Being a writer with an online business, a lot of time must be spent online, but I also work to make sure I am living life. One can’t outweigh the other. There are people to meet, places to visit, and my health is of utmost importance. My running and working out are not overridden by my gadgets and time spent online, but if you are addicted to technology, my advice is to do what Aaron and Laurel did–take 40 days to withdraw and live. When you return online, limit how much time you spend on it so it doesn’t replace your friends or family.
Are you addicted? Have you observed these things? Tell your story here.
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Addictive Behaviors are More Than Substance Abuse #Facebook #addiction http://tllg.net/QRrg
Why Social Media Takes The Place of Real Friends #Facebook #addiction http://tllg.net/QRrg
Am I Addicted to Social Media? #facebook #addiction http://tllg.net/QRrg