There is no doubt that all addictions are bad, since they generate in the individual a strong dependency that causes drastic changes in his personality, mainly when he is faced with frustration of not being able to own time and space to dedicate himself fully to his precious object of desire.
In this context, in the last decades a new form of addiction emerged, which at first was not taken with concern, since it was considered more of a habit, a habit or a necessity than an addiction proper.
We are talking about today’s call “technoaddiction”, which, although it may still be underestimated by many sectors, especially those social groups that elevate the function of the category to an overestimated terrain, the truth is that it can provoke those who l a suffers from a dependency such that it generates modifications in his psyche very similar to those that are usually produced by drugs, alcohol or smoking.
In addition, techno-addiction also has negative factors that can reach to cause over time not only psychological but also physical deterioration of the person who suffers from it.
Likewise, an aggravating aspect when speaking of techno-addiction resides in the fact that in most of the cases it is an addiction that usually occurs mainly among the youngest populations, since permanent contact and the change of customs in societies has led children, adolescents and young adults today to conceive life real without virtual life.
This has caused that over the years there has been a notable increase in the planet’s pathology den omitted ADHD, that is to say Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which usually occurs in the early years of childhood.
Over the years, the technology addict can in addition to presenting other complications associated with psychological pathologies, such as anxiety disorder, depression and others, in addition to the appearance of physical problems that can become chronic, due to sedentary lifestyle.
On the other hand, within the field of techno-addiction a series of different addictions are grouped, which are related to the type of addiction and object that has caused such dependence.
Fortunately, there are different treatments that can be implemented to counteract the malicious effects of techno-addiction in any of its forms, making it extremely It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that could appear and be indicating the origin of a techno-addiction.
Precisely in this article, you are invited to visit some of the main aspects of techno-addiction knowing the symptoms and also the different treatment possibilities that currently exist.
What is Techno-addiction?
Although the medical studies that exist around techno-addiction are still scarce, it is not appropriate in this case to speak of pathology, since it has not yet been properly classified within the standards of mental disorders, the truth is that techno-addiction exists and affects in a major way those who suffer it, without being fully aware of it.
In general lines, we can define techno-addiction or addiction to technology as the compelling and uncontrollable need to use electronic and technological devices such as computers, cell phones, tablets, and others.
Of course, because this is a very broad and comprehensive term, the truth is that techno-addiction is not only limited to the use of such devices, but mainly to the dependence that It is generated towards the services and applications that users of electronic equipment can use through them, causing abuse in the use of said software tools.
A clear example of this is the abusive use in the amount of daily time that a person may be making of his cell phone, always to be able to use social networks. In this way an addiction is created not only to the device, but also to the internet and to the social network that has been chosen by the user. Even when you are not connected, you will surely remain permanently pending on any notifications that may come.
Regarding the social subject that ends up being addicted to technology, Although a large percentage of techno addiction is detected more frequently in prepubescent and adolescents, the truth is that it can affect the general population, including children, adults and the elderly, regardless of the sociocultural group to which they belong.
Regarding the gender of the individual, it is clear that techno-addiction can be developed by both men and women although there are some differences from the addiction of each.
In general, in the case of men, addiction to online games occurs more frequently games apps and pornography. In the case of women, most of them develop addiction to social networks, online shopping and chats.
Regarding the factors that would act as causes of the appearance of techno-addiction, at the moment the exact origin of it is unknown, so it is estimated that in reality several risk factors tend to add up in a population that could be more vulnerable to suffering from this addiction.
So far, the investigations carried out in the field of psychology and psychiatry regarding techno-addiction show a series of parameters that could become triggers for the appearance of this problems, including the environment, the state of the individual’s mental health, the characteristics of his personality, social and environmental pressures, and even some inherent genetic traits.
The truth is that these are factors that are considered underlying causes of technology addiction, although it is not yet determined exactly what ultimately causes techno-addiction, hence the Difficulty treating it.
However, we can say that in most cases in which techno-addiction appears at a certain point in life it has been determined by other problems of underlying health, such as stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorders and others.
Likewise, a series of mental health problems specific pre-existing conditions, such as those who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), have a higher tendency and risk to being vulnerable to suffering from techno-addiction.
Of course, experts agree that those who present difficulties in social settings, due to shyness, insecurity and introspection, are the most prone to develop a techno-addiction, since they choose to use electronic devices at all times in order to satisfy their social needs.
That is why techno-addiction is framed within the so-called addictions behavioral, which broadly are characterized mainly by the progressive incapacity suffered by the subject to control, regulate or limit addictive behavior.
Of course that This behavior generates permanent and harmful interference with people’s social, family, academic and work life.
The bad news is that In order to currently have campaigns that warn against the damages that techno-addiction can cause, the truth is that technology developers include companies that make phones, creators of video games and owners of social networks , they try to create products that can take advantage of the weaknesses of the individual and his addictive tendencies, thus generating a cycle of compulsion that does not allow the subject to leave the vicious circle of addiction that he suffers.
Frequent symptoms of techno-addiction
As we have seen, the causes that can lead to the appearance of techno-addiction are and even also We can verify that the development of this behavior is not necessarily linked to pre-existing psychological or psychiatric pathologies, although of course these are in more vulnerable individuals.
Nor can we say that the addiction to technology is characteristic of men or women, or that it only occurs in early adolescence and expands during the years towards the path of adulthood.
It is a fallacy to try to frame techno addiction to a social group, an age group or a specific and specific cause since the truth is that it can be present at any time in our lives.
Regarding the trigger, although here also various factors are considered to be of higher risk , the truth is that an ordinary person, who has never had an addiction or a certain behavior disorder, and at the same time is a person who has successfully socialized, can develop a techno addiction in his life.
Something that appears as an object of interest, for example the interaction that occurs on social networks can eventually make the individual addicted to its use, even becoming pending at all times of the new notifications it receives from the community in which it participates.
That is why, given the risk of the appearance of a techno-addiction it is It is important that we stay alert to possible symptoms that may arise and indicate the presence of an addiction to technology.
In this regard, there are several signs that may be telling us that a person is suffering from techno-addiction, although the most frequent symptoms are usually behaviors that include, for example, the progressive decrease in the subject’s interest in different activities in real life, that is, they occur without the u so of technology and the internet.
Those who suffer from some techno addiction may present poor or poor hygiene, as well as express constant irritability, in addition to showing excessive frustration at the times when they must disconnect and stop using the electronic device.
This then leads to deficiencies at work, at school, and even in social relationships with friends, family, and others. , since the persistent use of the electronic device becomes normal in their daily life.
Likewise, those who suffer from a techno-addiction often express concern about the experiences lived online, even in the moments when they are disconnected, and in their eagerness to improve this experience, they spend time analyzing the situations of past experiences and tend to plan how they will behave in the future, for example projecting specific behaviors within a game of a video game.
Although these are some of the most frequent symptoms that can get to present those who suffer from some techno-addiction, the truth is that when faced with the slightest doubt it is important to take some palliative measures, and if necessary consult a specialist.
The most popular techno-addictions
When we talk about techno-addictions we must bear in mind that this term encompasses a large number of disorders associated with the abuse of new technologies, mainly around the internet and electronic devices that users use to connect.
As we have seen above, one of the most obvious symptoms of having some kind of techno addiction lies in being c constantly connected, thus generating a relationship of dependency towards devices and the internet causing frustration for the individual, for example when they do not have a WiFi signal.
The truth is that today techno addictions have grown exponentially, and that is why today we can find the most diverse types of technoaddictions, some of the most frequent being internet addiction disorder, the Fomo syndrome and nomophobia.
In the next paragraphs we will review some of the main aspects that present among its fundamental characteristics the most popular technoaddictions that exist today.
Better known as internet addiction disorder cyber-addiction characterized by being a serious conduct disorder whose main aspect is the development of a deep obsession towards various online activities.
Due to the enormous number of proposals that users can find today when using the internet, many Experts agree that there are as many cyber-editions as there are activities that people carry out when use the internet excessively.
Therefore, according to a classification that could be given around cyber-addictions, we can mention among others the one generated around the excessive use of social networks, as well as the abuse in the use of online video games, the habitual consumption of pornography through the internet, the abuse of online shopping incessant and so on.
One of the big questions that most internet users ask is centered Tra to know if they are cyber-ads. To know this, it is necessary to take into account the main symptoms that may appear in the event of the possible presence of development of an internet addiction.
In general, cyber-addicts usually manifest a constant concern for staying connected to the internet, making this behavior increasingly present in their daily lives. Thus, virtual life becomes more important than the real life of the individual.
Whatever activity he explores on the internet, the person who suffers from cyber-addiction can use to use most of the hours of the day to go online . At the same time, he is likely to try to hide his internet activities from his loved ones, friends and colleagues, thereby jeopardizing the stability of his personal life and work.
Furthermore, it is frequent that an individual who suffers from cyber-addiction manifests himself with a strong sense of uneasiness when he is not connected to the internet and at the same time shows anger and frustration when he does not have the elements to connect, either because there is no WiFi signal or because your device has run out of battery.
In addition to cyber-addiction, in Currently we find that one of the most frequent technoaddictions is usually the so-called FOMO syndrome . Its name comes from the acronym for the English concept “Fear Of Missing Out”, which translated into Spanish would be something like “fear of missing something”.
Within the internet world, this fear of missing something is directly related to the fear felt by those with Fomo syndrome, which is characterized by being an irrational fear of losing any something that can get published on social networks that he uses often.
Generated by the fear of staying out of the technological world and the frustration of not being able to be part of an event that occurs In the virtual world, people with Fomo syndrome always experience a compelling need to be connected at all times, since one of the main fears lies in being excluded from the peer group.
Likewise, in general people suffering from Fomo syndrome tend to express a high degree of concern by being spectators to the lives of others. Keep in mind that everything tends to be perfect on the internet, which is why many people with Fomo are often frustrated when they see the supposed success that their friends publish on social networks.
Holidays perfect, the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect exit, all that in social networks is usually a great farce in which most users often enter the hypocritical game of showing the perfection of their lives, makes people with Fomo syndrome feel depressed and experience feelings of inferiority and depression.
Most people with this disorder tend to respond to these negative feelings by redoubling the gamble, that is to say, permanently publishing on social networks aspects of his life that seem ideal, to be able to keep up with his friends and contacts, which in turn generates a double frustration.
Fomo syndrome also manifests itself when the person usually attends events or activities that they do not like, visiting places that are not their own liking, consuming drinks or foods that displeases you, just for the simple purpose of “having to do it” because “must show it ” on social networks.
Is It is important to note that Fomo syndrome is easily detectable, so those who suffer from it must avoid continuing to feed this addiction, since it usually happens that the disorder becomes so severe that even some individuals begin to live solely for their social networks to the absolute detriment of real life.
Nomophobia is has expanded in recent years and has become in another of the most present techno-addictions in today’s society. Its origin comes from the English expression “no-mobile-phone phobia”, which translated into Spanish means the presence of a dependency that people develop on their cell phones.
When an individual suffers from nomophobia, usually experiences extreme terror at those times when you do not have your cell phone handy . Of course it is an illogical fear, since it is generated by the dependency that the person created with the device.
This dependency causes when the subject does not You can use your cell phone for different reasons, manifest a feeling of lack of communication, which is actually unfounded, but for the person suffering from this techno addiction it becomes a moment of chaos.
Today it is estimated that million people worldwide suffer from nomophobia, to a lesser extent, and the truth is that this conduct disorder can manifest itself through various quite visible symptoms.
In general lines, the main symptoms of nomophobia appear mainly at the moment when the individual is faced with the situation of not having their cell phone, which immediately generates an inability to face all kinds of situations.
Likewise, in many cases nomophobia can present itself with physical symptoms, as well as emotional, then the individual begins to experience stress and anxiety, even claiming to be able to suffer panic attacks, which are common in cases where nomophobia is severe.
The truth is that there are a series of treatments that can lead to out to overcome cell phone addiction, so it is extremely important to be alert to the appearance of the first symptoms that could indicate the presence of nomophobia in our daily lives, mainly when we notice that we use the device for excessive times.
Usually, to treat nomophobia, a multi-phase strategy is usually carried out, in which the individual must learn little by little to control his anxiety, at the same time that he must begin with a series of changes in habits that involves the use of the cell phone.
In some cases it is even recommended to go to perform psychotherapy, but the truth is that regardless of the type of treatment that is carried out, the fundamental objective will be to ensure that the subject can learn to control the use of cell phones, while facing risky situations .
The so-called phubbing is a techno-addiction whose name comes from the English words “phone” ( phone) and “snubbing” (ignore or belittle), and broadly applies to people who prioritize the use of their cell phone before others.
Thus Situations arise in which the person suffering from phubbing makes permanent use of his mobile device while completely ignoring the people who are with him or her. Also, the subject concentrates only on his phone and completely ignores his surroundings.
Also known as “ no huffing” it causes the person who suffers from it he cannot establish relationships with the individuals around him, and so for example when he is in a meeting he ends up isolated from the world and concentrated on what happens on the screen of his device.
In this way, the person who suffers from the techno addiction called phubbing, over time will see that his relationships with friends, family, his partner and others, will be seriously impaired.
Phubbing, far from keeping us communicated as individuals suffering from this addiction believe, the truth is that it creates a very strong gap in the relationships of our real life, gradually moving away from the world around us.
In what Regarding treatment, there are several alternatives that can be applied depending on the severity of the addiction that the subject presents, but of course, as with nomophobia the person must break with the dependency that has developed towards his cell phone.
For this it is essential to be able to learn to control the anxiety caused by not having the device at hand and at the same time learn to face everyday life situations without having to use the mobile for it. In many cases, the answer will be in a well-structured psychotherapy.
Video game addiction
As with the rest of techno-addictions, and the truth is that at a level closely related to cyber-addiction, addiction to video games causes those who suffer from it to spend much of their daily time playing games in their favorite video game, and in this way completely neglects the rest of the tasks of his daily life, including the fact of socializing with other people.
Likewise, when the compelling and compulsive need to be in front of the screen all the time playing a video game reaches a troubling extreme the individual who suffers from it may develop unhealthy eating habits, to the detriment of their physical health.
sum ae There are a number of behavioral disorders, including issues such as becoming irritable at times when you cannot play severe anxiety, panic attacks, and some have even been reported worldwide few cases of people who have died from exhaustion after spending more than 48 hours playing without eating and without sleeping.
The truth is that addiction to video games is expressed with a series of symptoms that may be similar to those of people who have addiction to drugs or gambling, since, as time goes by, the addiction gradually deepens and worsens.
Currently, with the growing concern that exists about the development of this addiction, we can find various therapies to treat video game addiction, and even in some countries specialized clinics have been opened for the recovery of the individual suffering from this disorder.
The effects of addiction
Techno-addiction, as well as It happens with other types of addictions to substances, they usually provoke in the individual who suffers them different emotional and physical problems, hence the importance of being alert to the symptoms in order to implement an appropriate treatment before the consequences are serious.
Both children, adolescents and adults may experience one or more of the techno-addictions described above in this article, and the truth is that in a short time they may experience the negative impact of the same within their social, family life, as well as at work or school.
As we have seen, within Techno-addictions calls mainly include those related to video games, social networks and web browsing, among others, all of which are causing the appearance of various adverse effects.
Among the main ones effects caused by addictions, and more specifically the technoaddictions we found the following:
- Difficulties in socializing.
- ] Deterioration of relationships with family, friends and partners.
- Economic problems.
- Poor performance at school or work.
- Physical damage, in some cases irreversible, due to excessive sedentary lifestyle.
- Visual problems.
- Text neck disorder.
- Behavioral and psychic disorders.
- Panic attacks.
- Malnutrition or obesity.
- Reduced immunity.
- Impaired mental abilities.
- Neurological problems.
In addition to all these effects, we must not overlook that technoaddictions can cause damage to the brain, since in principle we must bear in mind that technology addictions act similarly to chemical addictions.
In this sense, we must point out that the expectation generated by addiction in the person who suffers from it is usually followed by a reward, for example, gaining a level in a video game or obtaining a “like” on Facebook, which is neurologically equivalent to the brain releasing dopamine and other chemicals that make the person feel good and satisfied.
As time passes and the addiction becomes deeper, the individual will need more and more frequently that his brain releases these substances, for which he will require greater and greater stimuli in order to obtain that effect.
How to treat a techno addiction
As we have previously pointed out, techno-addiction is considered a type of disorder that has many points in common with obsessive-compulsive disorder, since in its different forms it occurs when the subject develops compulsive behavior that he is unable to resist.
That is why prevention is extremely important in the treatment of techno-addictions, which is achieved through education in the younger populations, who are also the most vulnerable to suffering from any of the techno-addictions that we have reviewed above.
Once the person is suffering from any of the technology addictions, the first step to be able to treat this condition is to make the individual aware of what is happening to him, that is, to recognize the consequences that daily life is having its compulsion.
In this way, the next step will be to establish limits to be able to interrupt the compulsive cycle, which can be carried out using different alternatives that allow the compulsive action to be replaced, for example replacing computer hours with some sport or some artistic activity.
According to what the experts point out, in order to be successful in the treatment of technoaddictions, it is important that the limits are established gradually, that is, to start the process gradually reducing the time we spend using the computer, the device, playing a video game or connected to the internet.
These steps should help us to overcome the techno-addiction that we are suffering, but the truth is that it is always possible that this alone is not enough, and then we have to go to a specialist.
At this point, it is important to clarify that the professional help of a psychologist who establishes a treatment to treat our techno-addiction must start from the basis that the professional considers technology addiction as an internet addiction disorder, that is, the case is taken seriously.
A type of method used by most specialists in the field is usually called cognitive behavioral therapy, which generally seeks through different strategies to change the thoughts associated with excessive use of technology.
In this type of therapy they aim to change the thoughts that cause compulsive behavior, but at the same time they establish a series of guidelines that help the patient to deal with the underlying emotions, such as depression, anxiety and others.
In many cases, specialists may also recommend group therapy, as it has been proven that sharing experiences with others who are experiencing the same problem helps the learning required to become aware of addiction and recognize the consequences. that behavior is causing.
Technoaddictions in minors
In the field of techno-addictions and their exponential growth in the last decade, there is no doubt that the age group that most worries mental health professionals is childhood and adolescence.
Over the months, more and more adolescents and young adults, specifically girls and young women, but not forgetting boys of the same age, have symptoms of depression and are anxious about each situation they go through. Many have even opted for the false solution of suicide.
This trend has been on the rise since about the beginning of 2010, when young people were able to move from their low-capacity equipment to much more advanced technology.
Many specialists maintain that this proclivity is due to the use of electronic devices and the permanent presence of social networks, and they have something to compare it with. According to these studies, in addition to technological change, this is due to the fact that the appearance and rapid expansion in the smartphone market had a full and rapid impact on all social sectors, that is to say, it was not a matter of “rich children”.
For some, this theory that relates the use of technology to depression and suicide has a lot of conspiracy and fundamentally the only thing it seeks is to promote panic among parents, unaware of the needs and vision of new generations, as were the parents of young people who were once part of cultural events such as rap, video games or even rock in the mid 1950s.
But the truth is that the statistics are overwhelming, and show a high percentage of adolescents and children with problems that before the appearance of the smartphone were not as widespread as today.
Of course, this generates and will generate intelligent and angry debates between specialists. However, the only victims of the lack of responses and containment spaces continue to be young people.
Children and adolescents usually spend a large amount of time in front of their devices, about 10 hours on average, all of them participating in the different social networks that exist. This is indicated by these studies, which also visualize that among these young techno-addicts there is up to twice as likely to suffer depression and think about committing suicide.
Regarding the high suicide rate among adolescent women and girls, this trend could be explained, for specialists, due to the large amount of information on topics such as suicide and other forms of harm to which they have access to. free and without restrictions.
However, there is no comprehensive way to define the causality of these behaviors, except for the data obtained from the interpretation of the statistics, which in reality implies that these are not true scientific tests. At least this is what the filmmakers themselves claim.
Other data revealed by these statistics and surveys, which would also have no firm explanation, is why techno-addiction in minors and the mental health problems that come with it, are more pronounced in girls and adolescent women.
According to experts, the explanation is quite simple, although it does not seem to convince anyone. For specialists, the most likely cause for this is social networks, spaces in which girls and adolescents usually spend more time.
Apparently, social networks for researchers are an area in which comparison is constantly invited, both in appearance and social. This of course brings with it a very strong anxiety for not feeling relegated or in the background, which of course leads to narcissistic behaviors that cannot be sustained over time, since not all young people have the necessary resources to be fashionable nor be up to the “Influencers”.
Also in this response would be implied the mental and social vulnerability of these young people, those who did not yet have the possibility of living a social life of their own, that is, they have not been able to live the experiences, both negative and positive, of living a real life such as adults do, and that is why they depend so much on their devices to have some social validation.
Techno-addiction in minors is not a subject to be treated lightly. For Isaac Vaghefi, university professor and researcher, it is an extremely delicate matter. For smartphones, they have become a tool that is capable of providing immediate satisfaction to various stimuli that can be very exciting.
According to the teacher, our system releases dopamine and as an extreme athlete, or a drug addict, we require more and more to recreate that feeling of immediate response obtained the first time. Undoubtedly a very powerful sensation, especially for the youngest band, most vulnerable to this type of need.
In this process, unfortunately, other types of problems are also at stake, such as young people losing interest much more easily and getting bored of what they are doing much faster, which they then apply to the rest of their daily experience.
This data comes from the statistics revealed by the surveys that Vaghefi and his team carried out. For the same, they interviewed more than 180 students, who were asked to reveal their routine of daily use of their smartphones.
With these data in hand, they concluded that young techno addicts could be classified into 5 different categories: “Reflex”, “Regular”, “Highly Engaged”, “Fanatic” and finally “Addict”.
The groups that exhibited the most problems were the “Addicts” and the “Fanatics”, those who had serious problems related to sociability and their personality due to the compulsive need to use their devices.
In general, the youth of both more extreme groups exhibited signs that could indicate depression, social isolation, social anxiety, shyness, impulsiveness and low self-esteem, with women being the group most likely to have techno-addiction.
Signs that reveal a minor techno addict
In the case that we have a teenager or child at home and we are worried about the time that he spends next to his smartphone or tablet, below these lines we can find some of the most obvious signs that would indicate that he may be suffering from techno-addiction.
Undoubtedly, the best thing in these situations is to talk with a professional to assess the situation and take the path so that the boy or girl does not advance in these pernicious behaviors.
However, we must not forget that technology can also be one of the best entertainment that exists, especially for the youngest, always and when the appropriate times are respected for all activities. That is why we must correctly assess the situation and not let ourselves be carried away by our own experience, which comes from when these devices did not exist.
To finish, the signs that we must observe that show us that our children are techno-addicts:
- The young man always uses his devices to escape from problems or uses technology as a way to escape from problems or calm his feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.
- The teenager or child does not care about reality and only pays attention to what happens on social networks and online spaces.
- The young man constantly checks his smartphone to see if they have unread messages or notifications, even when it has not sounded.
- The child or adolescent gets in a very bad mood, or even aggressive, when he cannot have a cell phone or tablet.