Technology addiction is a real problem. Bill Gates did not let his children have phones until they were teenagers. Why? Because these devices are all-consuming. Especially these days, with smartphones providing constant access to social media and gaming, they have become a wedge between children and their parents. But it is not only young people. Adults are also victims of this behavioral addiction that desperately demands more attention.
Julia Lorent, Hypnotherapist and Addictions expert in Australia, is all too aware of the dangers that technology addiction can bring to families and the body's mental and physical health. The number of clients she sees with this addiction is increasing at an alarming rate. Fortunately, there is a way to cure the addiction, but unlike drug and alcohol, behavioral addiction has less apparent symptoms. Therefore, many suffer without knowing they have a problem.
The World Health Organization has finally recognized gaming as a real addiction, adding “gaming disorder” to its International Classification of Diseases. A study revealed that by age 21, the average gamer would have logged 10,000 hours of playing time.
“We should give addiction to smartphones the same recognition. The devices are specially engineered to take advantage of human vulnerabilities and our hardwired basic needs. Tech designers work their magic to intentionally trigger dopamine and manipulate our brains to increase how long we spend on our devices — essentially making smartphones as addictive as possible” says Julia.
Researchers from Korea University recently found that smartphone addiction changes brain chemistry in young people. The researchers tested the brains of 19 young people who had a smartphone addiction and compared them to 19 young people who were not addicted. They found that the ratio of GABA to GIx was higher in addicted subjects. Most alarmingly, it was higher in the anterior cingulate cortex, which functions include managing emotional reactions, and learning. The same study revealed that the addicted subjects rated more highly on depression and insomnia.
This study not only concludes that smartphone addiction is a genuine problem, but that the consequences are also severe. The risks range from disrupted sleep to depression and anxiety.
Julia Lorent says, “we are seeing more patients very concerned about stolen family time from technology use. The lack of engagement between children and parents and being present is rapidly growing, and it’s frightening. Trying to set aside at least one day a week that is tech-free and electronics free, valuing that time together is a great start. It is a very real addiction, and we encourage parents to take it seriously and seek assistance if they see the signs.”
Smartphone addiction may seem harmless, but it’s long-term effects on the body, social behavior and relationships with friends and family are detrimental.
Geelong Social Media