Hi my name is Carolyn, and I’m a technoholic.

(Alternate title: Even luddites can be addicted to technology)

I always thought that I wasn’t part of the tech movement; as a luddite, I thought I had a balanced perspective on technology and its benefits and drawbacks. Similar to the comic, I do bank in person, buy stamps at a post office, and pay bills at the county building.

Luddites can be technoholics too.  Source: http://ryandow.com/ic//comics/2010-12-01-849fd45.gif

Luddites can be technoholics too.
Source: http://ryandow.com/ic//comics/2010-12-01-849fd45.gif

And then I read Turkle’s (2011) Alone Together and Howard Rheingold’s (2012) Net Smart. I too am addicted to technology! I am tethered to my smart phone, and when I forget it somewhere, I get withdrawals. Frankly, for the past four or five days, I’ve looked at my smart phone with longing and fear; I love its convenience and am terrified I allowed my intelligence to depend on the cloud (Googling stats, depending on stored phone numbers instead of memorizing them, etc.). Rheingold refers to Baron, who wants us to be critical about any communication that “can be turned on and off at will” (p. 55). While it may not be as convenient or efficient to speak to someone in real time and face-to-face (how to say bye and cleanly break from the other’s company), it’s still something we should do. And the more we practice, the easier it will become, to talk to someone without shielding ourselves with technology.

Technology Addiction

Symptoms

  • Lost “capacity for sustained, focused attention” (Rheingold, p. 52)
  • Anxiety (to stay current with everything online) (Turkle, Alone Together, p. 241+)
  • Disillusion that multitasking is productive, so less productivity (Rheingold, p. 37)
  • Constant or near-constant distractions from every part of life (Rheingold, p. 44)
    • Note: See also p. 44 for a effects of distractions

Treatments
One must first be aware of the addiction. And want to change.

  • Identify areas of life to declare as technology-free times
  • “Intention is the fuel for attention” (Stone, qtd. by Rheingold, p. 58)
  • Increase social times with physical interactions (not always virtual)

Posted on October 19, 2014, in Social Media and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Carolyn—

    Thanks for the reminders on the symptoms and treatments of our technology addiction. My name is Leah, and I’m addicted to email. During the reading, the research on how we hold our breath while checking email really hit me hard. I haven’t noticed in the past if I do it myself, but I have noticed that has become out of control at the frequency of how often I check it. I’m not sure when I learned that it was okay to respond to email within minutes (or even seconds).

    My treatment plan includes the following: I will only check work email three times a day: when I first get in, at lunch, and right before I leave. I have also determined that I will not check it during the weekend. In addition, I removed email from my iPhone. Pressing the mail icon no longer brings up both my work and personal email accounts. If I absolutely have to check my email on my phone, I have to use Safari to access Gmail.

    • Yes! There’s strength in numbers! I’ve deleted my Facebook app and that in itself has untethered me from my phone exponentially. We are in control, not our technology!

  2. Its funny to read these comments. I had a SG3 with personal email (Yahoo and Gmail), work email, FB, Candy Crush, Snapchat, CNBC app, CNN app, FOX news app, and the Motely Fool app. I checked all of them several times a day. My phone began to freeze and I inherited an Iphone 4 from my sister-in-law. I admit I have Candy Crush on the phone, but I don’t have any of the other apps. When I first switched phones, I found myself wondering what to do with all the extra time I had in the day.

    I still check these sites, but do so only in the morning and using Newsblur so I can scan all of them quickly and only read the stories I want without scrolling through each site individually. My favorite time spent is up north where I don’t get cell reception. It is my excuse to not carry my phone and it is incredibly liberating. If only my daddy was a farmer.

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