Are You Addicted to Technology?

I love technology.  I’m not a techie, but I love all the cool things technology brings into our lives.  It makes our lives easier, and opens up the world to us in ways we never could have imagined 20 years ago.

Because technology is never-endingly cool, it’s exciting to spend more time with it.  Five more minutes surfing the web can bring us more coolness.

But it’s also easy to get trapped. 

Here’s the thing: Technology is supposed to be a tool. A tool helps us do something better than we can do it ourselves.  If we’re going to work and live in this world, we need to understand how to use it well.

Sometimes, it’s a tool for work.  Other times, it’s a tool for our personal lives.  It can also be a legitimate tool for entertainment and relaxation.

The problem comes when that tool gets in the way of other important things – like relationships.

We’ve all experienced it:

– Using phones or technology at the dinner table.

– Having more screen time than face time.

– Texting but never talking.

– Having to fight for someone’s attention, and they’re irritated that you’ve interrupted them.

– Being accessible to one’s employer 24/7.

– Keeping your phone next to your bed, and checking it when you’re awake for a couple of minutes in the night.

Phone sunsetSo, is it possible to become addicted to technology?

I don’t want to make technology the bad guy.  It can be a great guy.  But when it moves beyond being a tool, it’s time to evaluate.

If you want to see if you’re addicted, try turning your phone off during your lunch hour and see how you feel.  Try shutting it off when you come home at night for the whole evening and see what happens to your nerves.

A lot of people go through three stages with their technology:

1.   They use it a lot and it takes over their life.

2.   They realize it’s damaging their relationships, so they teach themselves to ignore it when other people are around. 

3.   Even though they’ve mastered #2, they turn to their technology anytime they’re alone and have a spare moment.

Sound familiar?  #3 is like a smoker who finds himself constantly reaching for a pack of cigarettes.  It becomes a default setting, where they do it without thinking.  They’re also doing it when no one is watching.

The solution? Well, that’s a tough one.  I don’t know if technology can be a full-fledged addiction.  But if it has those characteristics, it’s like any addiction.  It’s tough to just say, “OK, I won’t do it anymore.”

We’ll explore some options in the future.  But for now, here’s a goal to shoot for:

Our Goal is to always use technology as a conscious choice, not as a reflex.

Try being intentional today.  Every time you want to look at your technology, stop and ask yourself, “Why?” 

It’ll help you discover if you’re controlling your technology, or if your technology is controlling you.

Senior Consultant at FranklinCovey; Speaker, Author of 5 books – including “People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys,” “I Wish He Had Come With Instructions,” and “Dealing With the Elephant in the Room.” (See Book page)

  • Jim Hale

    Great perspective!

  • Lynn Erickson-Simonson

    Ouch….busted! Thanks for the reminder Mike!