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Technoadiction: what it is and what are its causes and symptoms

Technoadiction: what it is and what are its causes and symptoms

October 2, 2023

For a few decades, new technologies are part of our lives and have caused important changes in our way of relating to the environment and with others. Due to technological advances, social networks and the presence of the internet we spend many hours connected to technological devices, be it our computer and our mobile phone.

Such has been the impact that some people may feel lost in this world dependent on new technologies if they do not have access to these gadgets. Experts say that if the new technologies are not used properly, phenomena such as Internet addiction, nomophobia or FOMO syndrome may appear.

What is technoadication

Technoadiction is the uncontrollable desire to be connected to ICT at all times, and behavior that can cause discomfort and deterioration in the individual's life. It is a relatively new phenomenon, often described as the inability to control the use of various types of technology, in particular the internet, smartphones, tablets and social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This phenomenon has worsened with the proliferation of the use of smartphones, since access to the internet and social networks can now be done from almost anywhere and at any time. Many of us are connected to the technological devices practically all day, from the time we get up until we go to bed. The use of technology alone is not bad, but if used inappropriately it can cause serious problems for a person's well-being.

Much of the problem lies in the education of individuals, which being a phenomenon so current, even the parents themselves are the first affected by this problem and are unable to properly educate their children in this regard.

Is it a disorder?

Some experts have classified this problem as a disorder because of its negative consequences and the impact that a person's life can have. Technoadication is not a disorder recognized by the DSM, but it does is a problem that has aroused much interest among health professionals since the 1990s .

In 1995, Kimberly Young, an American psychologist, created the Center for Internet Addiction and the first treatment plan for addiction to technology based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. That same year, the term "Internet addiction disorder" was coined by the psychiatrist Dr. Ivan Goldberg.

However, the concept of technoadiction encompasses different phenomena, among which are nomophobia and the FOMO syndrome.

What the investigations say

Scientific studies show that, in the case of Internet addiction, in the United States and Europe 8.2% of the population suffers Internet addiction . In 2006, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a telephone survey that found that one in eight Americans feels addicted to new technology.

Addiction to technology is recognized as a widespread health problem in other countries, such as Australia, China, Japan, India, Italy, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, which have established dedicated clinics to address this growing problem.

Like other types of addiction, the addiction to technology can vary from moderate to severe, and some researchers claim that dependence is psychological rather than physical. Of course, being without Internet access or without the possibility of using the smartphone can cause serious problems such as anxiety or discomfort. The dependence on new technology is so great nowadays that people with techno-addiction feel lost in the physical world. New technologies affect our daily lives, interpersonal relationships, academic or work performance ...

Frequent symptoms

Addiction technoadiction is a heterogeneous phenomenon that includes both the addiction to technological devices and the need to be in contact with the virtual world; nevertheless, both are related. In general, the technoadiction manifests as follows :

  • Compulsive checking of text messages and chats
  • Frequent change of Facebook status and excess of selfies to upload to the network
  • Anxiety and stress by not having access to the internet or technological devices
  • Social isolation
  • Need to buy the latest technological innovations from the market, even if they are not necessary
  • Loss of interest in activities that do not involve a computer, telephone or other technological gadget
  • Feelings of concern when you can not go online
  • Sometimes, people can develop sleep disorders and depression

The problem is not technology, but its misuse

The appearance of this phenomenon does not have its cause in the use of technology itself, because like any addiction, its origin can be in the lack of social skills of the person or their low self-esteem. New technologies bring us many benefits, because they allow us to be connected to any place in the world and have information almost instantly.

The psychologist Jonathan García-Allen suggests that education is key to preventing this phenomenon, because he explains that "the main problem is not new technologies, but the pathological use of them, which can materialize both in addiction and in uses that can generate psychological problems".

In this sense, the answer to this problem is not to prohibit use of the internet or remove smartphones from the lives of children or adolescents, but the important thing is to make them understand that their misuse has harmful consequences for their emotional health. It is the task of all educators and parents to educate them from an early age to avoid the inappropriate and pathological uses of new technologies.

Nomophobia and FOMO syndrome

Two phenomena associated with the new technologies that have had the greatest media impact in recent times are the fomo syndrome and nomophobia. The first is related to the formation of identity and the impact that social networks have when relating to others. L to nomophobia is the addiction to smartphones or smartphones .

You can deepen both phenomena in our articles:

  • "FOMO syndrome: feeling that the life of others is more interesting"
  • "Nomophobia: the growing addiction to the mobile phone"

Understanding and Managing Technostress and Social Media Addiciton (October 2023).

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