“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” I Corinthians 6:12
The Technology Addiction or Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is an impulse control disorder that involves the obsessive use of mobile devices, the internet or video games, despite negative consequences to the user of the technology, as defined in Techtarget.com.
As Christian parents, we must understand that substance abuse or any dependence that cause harm is created from void in their life. As the Scripture teaches us that we are made of spirit, soul, and the body (I Thessalonians 5:23) We are familiar with the body and the soul (mind, heart, will), so we feed them throughout our lives. However, spirit is often left to be under-nourished. This void in our body draws in anything to fill it, just like a vacuum cleaner, but not anything is what the spirit needs. The spirit needs specific things that we can only get through our Lord Jesus. Please read Why Christian Education is Important for more details.
Not Just Drugs and Alcohol
When I was growing up some kids at my school started smoking ‘pot’. Sometimes they would come into classroom with awful smell from pot smoking. Many of them became addicted and didn’t see them at school later. I remember one boy who had tremendous natural athletic ability. I am talking about national team caliber ability, but he got hooked on pot because of friends that he hung around.
Now the drugs appear to be more potent and alcohol addiction is still prevalent. However, there are more addiction that we have to acknowledge and be aware of. Although game addiction may not be perceived in similar class as drugs and alcohol, but it is just as deadly and even easier to get started.
With the advancement of technology, the games that are on the market are so advanced in graphics that it makes the game look and feel very real. Also, due to technology, now smart phone can do more things than ever. Many young generation grow up dependent on their smart phones. From the time they wake up till they go back to sleep, they always have their smart phones to chat, surf, shop, watch and other things. They can not seem to separate themselves from their cell phones.
The Technology Addiction defined by Griffiths is that a behavioral addiction in which problems arise from excessive human-machine interaction. Overuse of devices can lead to following problems, as defined by the article “Could You Be Addicted to Technology?” in Psychology Today:
- The more time spent on screen means, the body remains in fixated position, which can cause musculoskeletal symptoms, like decreased range of motion.
- Lengthy use of devices can lead to vision problems, like blurred vision and headache.
- Using devices while doing other tasks, like driving, can lead to fatal injuries.
- Devices can have more germs than toilet bowl, so it can lead to infections.
- More time spent on devices can hinder social skill development and lead to social withdrawal.
- Devices can alter the sleep cycle, depriving of rest.
- Excessive use of technology has been associated with several mental disorder, like anxiety, depression, and poor self-confidence.
Here is excellent video describing the effects of technology addiction on our lives:
In this video, Simon Sinek who is an author and motivational speaker, discusses how human brain reacts to over use of technical devices, like cell phones. Simon illustrates that our brain fires Dopamine when we are addicted to use of technical devices, which is same reaction our brain gives when human body intake alcohol, smoke or gamble. Dopamine are released when something good happens unexpectedly and is highly addictive. These highly addictive devices are unrestricted and freely available for young children. They grow up hardwired to these devices become so dependent on them, so that they can not establish meaningful relationships. Thus, these devices are ruining our lives.
Symptoms of Addiction
How can you tell whether our children have addiction to computer games or smart phones? Here are few things to watch for:
- Increase in time spent with devices
- Ringxiety – where one hears the cell phone ringing or feels the vibration, when it is not
- Craving – feeling of distress, anxiety and isolation when separated from technology device
- Multitasking – playing game on a phone while watching TV hinders one’s ability to focus
- Losing interest and confidence in the real world
- Paleness and mood variation due to lack of sunlight
- Continuous destructive behaviour
Please read 7 Warning Signs You’re Addicted to Technology for more details.
Are you addicted to Technology?
If you want some indication whether you are addicted to technology or not, please click this link to take this quiz:
Please note this just an indication and for more concise medical view, please consult professionals.
Prevention is The Best Remedy
Sometimes I see a young mother giving her child her cell phone to play, so that she can be focused on what she was doing. If technology addiction is just as much an addiction as drugs or alcohol, then wouldn’t give a child a cell phone to play is same as giving them alcohol to drink or abusive drug to take?
You may say that addiction to technology devices are not fatal as drug or alcohol addiction. That is a wrong assumption. The many young people addicted to games can not differentiate real world from the game world. So, when someone continues to play game of killing, they can easily kill a real person without realizing what they are really doing.
Children can not make decision whether playing game is good for them or not. That is why they are dependent on their parents. The responsibility falls with the parents to make the right decision for their children.
My wife and I did not give our own children cell phone until they were 16. Some may says that was too early to give the cell phone and some may feel sorry toward our children. However, we believe that was the best decisions for our children because they are able to live without being totally dependent on technical devices.
Preventing our children from technical addiction is the best remedy against this sickness. That is why it is important to instill good habits like reading, praising and worship at home to our children when they are very young. Please read 7 Steps to Successful Christian Parenting for more details.
Additionally, there are many institution that can help with technology addiction or internet addiction disorder. If you believe that your child is addicted to technology, please consult professionals.
Thank you for reading this article. Please do share any questions and comments that you have below.