What kind of life would you be able to live if all of your devices suddenly disappeared? You wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with most people. You’d also have to find replacements for YouTube, social media scrolling, streaming, and gaming to entertain yourself.
That’s not even to mention that studying would become infinitely more challenging. You’d have to spend time in libraries instead of googling. You wouldn’t be able to hire an academic essay writer online at EssayPro as effortlessly, either. And just imagine writing all of your assignments by hand!
That said, tech isn’t always a blessing – it can easily turn out to be a curse. There is such a thing as “too much”: too much time spent scrolling social media, gaming, or streaming.
In case you feel like your control over your device use is dwindling, the first thing you should know is that you’re not alone. In fact, 73% of Americans say they can’t live without the internet. https://unsplash.com/photos/SYTO3xs06fU 8 Signs You Might Be Addicted to Your Devices
Although tech addiction isn’t recognized as a separate disorder by DSM-5 yet, some medical experts believe it deserves to be. Regardless of its official status, tech addiction can disrupt your daily life and cause other mental health issues: anxiety, depression, stress, and sleep disorders.
But how do you know whether how you use your devices is unhealthy? Take a look at this checklist:
- Do you feel anxious, moody, irritable, and/or restless if you can’t go online or use a device?
- Do you choose to be in front of a screen over real-life activities, such as going out with friends, doing homework, engaging in hobbies?
- Do you prioritize staying on a device over personal hygiene, eating, sleeping?
- Has your academic and/or work performance suffered because of how you use a device?
- Have you lied about how much time you spend on your devices?
- Have you lost interest in activities that don’t involve any tech?
- Do you compulsively check your notifications or messages dozens of times a day?
- Have you tried to cut down on your device use but didn’t achieve your goal?
If you’ve answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, it’s more than just spending a lot of time on a smartphone or laptop – it’s a full-fledged addiction.
5 Ways to Counter Tech Addiction
So, what can you do if you feel addicted to tech? Here are five incremental lifestyle changes that can help you get it under control on your own.
Put a Name to the Problem
What exactly is the issue? Is it how many hours you spend gaming? Or your social media use? Or that you stay up all night to watch YouTube videos?
Are you constantly glued to your smartphone? Or is it the laptop or PC that you dedicate most of your time to?
Before you come up with a plan, you need to know what you’re up against. So, identify the problematic apps, activities, and/or devices before you set any new rules for yourself. You can use trackers like RescueTime to analyze your device use, too.
Understand What Drives You
Why do you spend so much time doing this or that? Go beyond the answers like “it’s fun” or “I like it”. Be honest with yourself: Are you avoiding something in real life? Do you use it to cope with some negative feelings? Is it a hobby you’re not ready to abandon?
If so, understanding what you’re avoiding can help you find other, healthier coping mechanisms.
Limit Your Screen Time
There are multiple ways you can go about this, depending on the device:
- Most iPhones now come with the Screen Time feature – in addition to reports, it can also lock you out of certain apps after you exceed the set time limit.
- Android has its own app similar to Apple’s Screen Time – it’s called Digital Wellbeing.
- On Windows and macOS, you can install Cold Turkey or another impulse blocker and set it to block particular apps and websites.
- If you need to limit your smartphone use under particular circumstances, you can download apps like Forest to lock you out of your smartphone temporarily.
It’s better to rely on other apps than solely on your willpower. Just make sure to set realistic goals. It’s a good idea to reduce your screen time little by little, too – it’ll be easier for most people.
Delete the Most Addictive Apps & Accounts
Do you want to be done with your addiction to a certain app or game once and for all? Then, deleting it is the best way to get rid of the temptation. You’ll stop seeing it on your home screen or desktop, and you won’t get any notifications.
Bonus tip: remember to turn off email and text message notifications, as well as any other potential reminders about the app or game.
If you struggle with limiting the time you spend on social media platforms or other websites, consider closing your account(s) there altogether. The logic here is the same: you won’t be tempted to go back to it if you don’t have your account anymore.
Focus on Offline Events & Activities
In other words, keep yourself occupied with non-tech-related stuff. Consider spending time outside or working on a project. This way, you’ll have less time to even think about going back to your device. You can make it a rule to go out for a walk every day, find events to attend, take up a new hobby, etc.
When you’re around other people, it can be a good idea to share with them that you’re trying to limit your device use. This can help you avoid some triggering situations that will make you want to fall back into previous behavior patterns.
Be careful, though: you may experience some withdrawal symptoms, such as stress and anxiety. If you do, find ways to manage these negative feelings. Deep breathing and grounding techniques are the two most common ways to cope with anxiety and stress. https://unsplash.com/photos/QofjUnxy9LY In Conclusion: Consider Seeking Professional Help
There’s only so much you can do to get rid of tech addiction on your own. At one point or another, you might feel that your lifestyle changes haven’t helped – or haven’t been successful enough.
If your daily device use continues to get in the way of your life, there’s no shame in acknowledging the problem and reaching out to a professional. The good news is, your college or university probably has a counselor that will see you for free!
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