Ever since Uganda was placed on total lock-down because of Covid-19, I have found myself glued to my laptop and phone from 8:00 am to about 7:00 pm daily loaded with work and trying to keep up to date with what is happening around the world; I am only reminded to rest when I get either a headache or painful red eyes and the sting of hunger.
Someone once said that when you do something consistently for more than 21 days, it forms a habit. For example if you chose to read a book every day for 21 days, your system adapts and it becomes part of you. In the same way, being glued to the gadgets such as phones, laptops, TVs, gaming pads, whatever it is that you have gotten a hold of to pass time during this lock down becomes part and parcel of your daily routine and if not managed well, may become an addiction.
Addiction according to Merriam Webster is defined as a compulsive chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit. However, the medics define addiction as a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical drug, activity or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.
The question is, when does technology become an addiction given this new reality that it has become very necessary in our daily lives? With everyone turning to the Internet and social media to blog, shop, sell, play games, social network, read emails in a bid to kill boredom or manage their time effectively. Just how much of this is healthy and how do we regulate this?
How do you know that you have become addicted to technology?
Well, these addictions have been categorized as Physical, Social, emotional and impulse impairments. When you constantly think about the past use or the future use of the internet, you are restless, moody, depressed, irritable when attempting to control the internet and when you have made unsuccessful efforts to control/cut back/stop use of the Internet, you risk losing online relationships, telling lies become the new normal for you, the inability to prioritize or keep schedules, isolation, frequent mood swings; these accompanied with backaches, sleeplessness, neck pains, dry eyes, poor vision and weight loss or gain, are some of the signs and symptoms that you are becoming addicted or have become addicted to technology.
This however, can be managed if first and foremost, you identified the symptoms above and acknowledge that the problem exists. This is usually the first step in the healing process, then seeking for help is the next best thing you can do.
Experts recommend recreational therapy, art therapy, individual or group therapy depending on the addiction. Imagine, taking long walks and appreciating the beauty of nature is therapy and it also helps keep you physically fit; occupying yourself with art and crafts for those of you who like to keep your hands busy or sharing with a counsellor or a confidant, all help with the healing process.
My two cents; using timelines or schedules to regulate the time spent on the internet, sieving what you should be doing online verses lingering around without focus, choosing particular websites you need and dropping all the others, learning new skills in the house, cooking, baking, farming and exercising. Redirecting your energy to these activities greatly helps control the risk of getting addicted to technology and the beauty is that these are things within our reach that we can incorporate in our daily schedules and they become part of healthy living.
Let’s not become victims of this kind of addiction that is slowly cropping up during this season. Stay Safe.