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How often do we check our gadgets? Um, the answer might vary. As an illustration, based on research by the “Global Tech Protection and Support Company Asurion” the average American checks their smartphone every 12 minutes, or if it is totaled in a day, on average, they check the gadget 80 times. (NewYork Post 2017).
In fact, the figure will be much higher if the respondent survey is focused on the millennial generation, quoted from the ebook- Millennials, and Technology at Home, these native digital young people on average, check their cellphones 150 times per day! , or if you reduce the average sleep time of 8 hours per day, that means they check their gadget once every about 6 minutes! (Come on, how many times do you check your cellphone every day?)
Nowadays, we often encounter a situation in a gathering or meeting where the participants are busy tweaking their own communication devices. Some are busy checking Whatsapp groups, browsing news sites or online shopping, or just updating their social media. They are physically in the same place, but their concentration and thoughts are in another place, lost in their own worlds.
In fact, I often witness a scene that can be quite sad, where a family eats together in a restaurant, but there is no interaction between father, mother, and child. The father and mother are busy with their own smartphones, while the children are absorbed in playing games with their gadgets.
Everyone now feels obliged to have a smartphone, be connected to the internet, and be active in social media and instant messaging groups such as WhatsApp or Telegram. Of course, this has both positive and negative impacts. One of the positive effects is that it is now easier for us to establish communication and know news with relatives and friends, even though we are physically far apart. With the communication device at hand, we also now quickly get the latest news or information updates.
But, if it is not wise in its use, gadgets, social media, and group messaging groups will become addictive for us. The addiction differs depending on our endurance.
If we leave our home and forget to bring a cellphone, then feel like we have to go back again, for example, it’s still reasonable, and the addiction level can be considered low.
However, we must be vigilant if unconsciously it has become so obsessed with gadgets with its virtual world, that it ignores the environment in the real world.
Sending too many messages or broadcasts, checking social media too often, and always waiting for comments or just like, or love in our social media, are some of the less healthy symptoms that indicate the effects of gadget addiction has at an alarming rate.
Many studies have shown the harmful effects of modern communication addiction. One of them is Dr. Jennie Carrol’s research from Melbourne’s RMIT University, who states that sending text messages too often through cell phones can cause mental and physical illness. Symptoms such as anxiety, insecurity, depression, and low self-esteem that is usually found among teenagers who love texting so much.
This modern communication effect can be:
- Textaphrenia, a situation where you hear an incoming message or a vibrating cellphone, when in fact it is not.
- Textiety, feeling uneasy because you did not receive a message or can not send a message.
- Post-traumatic text disorder, physical injury, and mentally caused by sending too many messages). and,
- Binge texting, a situation where a person sends many messages at one time so that he feels good and tries to attract a reply.
“In textaphrenia and textiety there is a feeling that ‘nobody loves me, nobody contacts me,” Carol said (Hidayatullah Site, July 2, 2010)
Another example, in the case of Facebook social networking, for example, a psychologist has discovered a new addiction called Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD). According to the psychological Dr. Michael Fenichel, who has just released in FAD online, describes FAD as a situation where the use of Facebook has “made forgetfulness” of daily activities such as getting up early, wearing clothes, using the telephone or checking email.
“The most amazing thing is like a cellphone that seems like people can not be separated, whether at work, home or on the road, now many people turn to Facebook. “Said Fenichel, in the title of the online post” Facebook Addiction Disorder – A New Challenge? “. FAD itself can be classified as ‘behavior addicted to the Internet’, after previously there was an addiction to social networking or mobile addiction.
Symptoms of FAD, according to Joanna Lipari, a psychological clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles, among others:
- Sleep time is reduced a lot due to Facebook addiction.
- All night is just struggling with Facebook.
- Spending more than one hour per day for Facebook.
- Become obsessed with old love or ex who joined connected on Facebook, and ignore the work only for Facebook’s.
The effects of gadget addiction are increasingly felt in daily life. This can unwittingly reduce the quality of our social relationships in the real world, both with family and friends. Our bonds cannot be as friendly and warm as they used to be.
Another example, what does it mean for a child waiting for his/her parents to come home from work, if when at home, his/her father or mother is busier with their gadget. Chatting with friends in his/her Whatsapp group, flipping through the Ipad screen, or checking his/her social media.
The influence of social media in our daily lives is so strong, some of us consciously or unconsciously, feel it is important to post almost all of our activities on social media. Sometimes we even trying to create activities that look “good” to be our social media account content.
And more ironically, if we come to a stage, which we might not fully realize, where “sharing a moment on social media is more important than enjoying the moment itself.”
An article on bbc.com with the title “how disconnecting the internet could help our identity” is very touching, and we need to ponder, I quote a portion here:
A man called “Jack” told the Guardian recently that he checks his social media profiles tens of time a day and how that takes him away from the physical world around him
“I’ll often see moments as ‘good content’ for my social media followers,” he said, “it’s almost like the photographing and sharing of a cool time is more important than actually appreciating it in real life.”
For just a reflection of all of us, the following eight questions may help to see the extent to which the effects of the addiction of modern communication permeate our lives:
Are you spent your free time more on fiddling with gadgets than social activities in the real world?
If you are at an event or social gathering, do you prefer to open a chat with someone or feel bored and pass the time by fiddling with gadgets?
If you are in the midst of family or close friends, how long you can focus on chatting with them, without checking your smartphone?
Do you feel that you have to post almost all of your activities on your social networks? Or even do you (consciously or unconsciously) try to find activities that will look good as your social media content?
Do you often wait for comments on your posts both in social media or in messaging groups? Or do you feel it’s important how many likes, love, or retweets we get in each of your posts?
Do you feel comfortable if you spend just one week without checking our social media accounts?
How many minutes do you feel the need to stare at the screen of your smartphone?How often do you visit (physically) your friend or your family?
Sometimes we feel happy with a large number of contacts on mobile phones, the number of friends on Facebook or Instagram, or our followers on Twitter. What percentage of this number are our true friends in the real sense? Friends who will help when we have difficulties or friends who visit when we are sick?
The answers to these questions can be material for reflection on the extent to which the effects of gadget addiction have penetrated us.
Tips to Avoid Gadget Addiction
If you feel that the effects of cyberspace opiates on your life are at a rather excessive level, the following tips can be the first step to reducing these effects:
Share time well between real-world activities and the virtual world
Reduce the frequency to check or update social media status, and replace them with efforts to strengthen bonding in the real world around us.
Focus on presence in the real world, beyond urgent calls or task demands, the interlocutor who is physically close to us, deserves more priority attention, than virtual world friends who are somewhere.
To reduce the tendency to fiddle with gadgets or chat activities that are less important, if you are at home, place the communication device some distance away from us, just be accessible if at any time there are urgent calls or messages.
To improve the quality of our time with family, set a kind of “gadget-free time” at home. For example, from 6 to 9 pm, and most importantly, be consistent in implementing it.
Take time to stay in touch (physically), especially for your family and closest friends.
Present ourselves completely, both physically and in concentration and mind, to the environment around us.
If necessary, use an application such as “Screen-Time” to limit the time we and our family fiddling with gadgets.
Finally, let’s use your gadget wisely, don’t let the communication device really succeed in “making people who far away from us become closer, and making people near us become far away.”
Hopefully, our friendly relationship with relatives and friends will be better.