TECHH & SCIENCE NCE
WHEN do you last check Facebook?
I bet something extremely important has happened on Facebook that you haven’t seen yet.
I bet your friend just posted about burning her toast while her toddler threw a tantrum and it’s officially the worst day ever.
You’d better get on Facebook and leave a sympathetic comment coupled with some sort of situation-appropriate emoji.
Like a sad face, or a hug, or a love heart.
Are you starting to get the urge to check Facebook?
If you have, there’s a chance you might be a techno-addict.
Technology addiction, a relatively new issue, isn’t always easy to recognise due to the fact that so many of us must be attached to our phones or computers for legitimate reasons such as work or school.
And in Australia we have a particular penchant for all things technology, with a whopping 13.4 million people out of a total population of 23 million spending 18.8 hours online every day.
Even more surprising is the fact that Australia is responsible for 9.8 million unique visits to Facebook each week, which is more than the U.S. and Britain according to The Cabin, Sydney, a specialist addic- tion treatment centre.
Compounding the time-sink that is technology use, the way internet use relates to our psychological makeup means that the onslaught of informational snippets can be exhausting for the mind, leading to burnout, anxiety and sleep disorders.
Of particular concern is the effect over-use of technology has on teenagers and young adults.
A study by Dr. Mubarak Ali of Flinders University in Adelaide on the impact that internet use has had on Australian teenagers found that one-third of the study participants were “in the process of becoming psychologically addicted,” and teenagers, on average, spent 13 hours per week online.
Driving this addiction is what is known as FOM ( A fear of missing out), a condition in which the sufferer fears that their peers will have fun without them if they don’t keep up with online social circles.
Much like other types of dependance, technology addiction involves the neurochemical dopamine which is related to reward motivated behaviour.
And, just like most other addictions, the ‘ rush’ of dopamine typically requires greater lengths of time on the internet in order to achieve the same nice feeling until it becomes compulsive, habitual behaviour.
People who are addicted to the internet display the same tell- tale signs as those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. These warning signs of addiction include: Increased irritability Sense of isolation Diminished social interaction Disruption in sleeping and eating patterns
Difficulty quitting or unwillingness to change their addictive behaviour
If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from technology addiction, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
HOOKED: Technology addiction, and in particular social media addiction, is increasingly becoming an issue for younger generations.