How I overcame screen addiction

April 20, 2017

A friend who knows that your blogger spends excessive amounts of time on computing devices, told me the other day that smart phones and tablets can be addictive to adults and to children it can affect childhood development.He says smart phones, tablets and laptops have made life easier for many, but health experts are now monitoring and trying to limit exposure from the age of two onwards.He elaborated how his younger brother’s screen addiction derailed his passion for a sports career. “At the point where it was worst, my young brother didn’t realise how much it was controlling his life,” he told your blogger. “Instead of sitting down and doing an hour or two of solid practice, it would be interspersed with checking his phone. It wasn’t just with sport, it was with reading or anything. It’s a massive addiction. “But young brother didn’t notice it because it’s also quite culturally acceptable to use phone all the time. It’s expected.”He said his brother would sometimes wake up in the night and check his phone.“He’d go to dinner, check it there, go out with mom and dad, check it there, go out with his friends, check it there,” he added. “It was ridiculous. Young brother couldn’t go anywhere without it.” He says limiting the amount of time spent on social media made his young brother feel more connected to him, rest of family and friends. Screen time releases joyful chemicals in the brain. Spending large amounts of time on tablets, smartphones, laptops and applications like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can change our brains over time according to a Psychologist friend working as a counsellor for both adults and school kids and has helped depressed adults and children shake their screen addiction. She told your blogger screen time stimulates happy chemicals in the brain and can leave users anxious and distracted. “Contador, it works similar to other addictions in that there is a reward pathway that dopamine sets up. If you’re doing any activity that feels really good, you would want to do more of that activity and continue to have that good feeling,” she told your blogger.”I think it comes down to not just the device necessarily, but it’s what people are doing with the device. “Similarly to someone with a gambling problem, it might not be the racecourse, but it’s what you do at that racecourse. “The negatives can be the in-built addictive qualities that some of the apps have that get you to want to be in them all the time and make them really hard to put down.””It’s not about being an adult or a child at two years of age being addicted to the media,” she said. “I’d probably just say they’re having a bit too much of it and we need to revert to a balance.” She says while tablets, computers and mobile devices can be useful educational tools, some adults and children are overly relying on digital media.

“Some of the concerns can be with eyesight, fine motor skills and pencil grip and other skills such as posture, as children lean down to look at tablets,” she said.”The big issue though is the time it takes away from other play. It can displace other key skills. “If I’m engaging with digital media, playing games and reading digital books, it might mean that I’m not building with blocks or painting with real paints or running outside and playing.” She says a combination of technology and tradition is the best approach for parents.”These devices, tablets and mobile technologies have incredible benefits for parents and for children,” she said. “For parents they can give you that five minutes of free time you just need. But for children they can also bring enormous educational benefits.” Listening to my friend and psychologist, it was clear that technology has delivered us amazing gains with mobile devices, productivity apps and social media. But we also need to recognise that there’s a fine line between being a tech fan and having an unhealthy attachment to various devices. But how many people know if they are addicted to technology, especially mobile devices like my friend shared about his young brother? More than a decade ago, at the height of Blackberry devices, i learned that reaching for my mobile to check emails and messages first thing in the morning and getting out of bed was one of the most dangerous behaviours i had. I also used to check calls and messages while driving even though i knew it’s illegal and dangerous but luckily i was never caught thanks to change of behaviour. That helped me avoid having my shoulder, arm, wrist, neck pain from long periods of being tensely hunched in the same position. I also stopped carrying my Blackberry with me to bed that eliminated insomnia from the inability to switch off from being connected. Despite being a reading addict and heavy user of computing devices for more than two decades, I have never used glasses since I’ve managed to escape dry, sore eyes caused by endless staring at screens. In addition headaches that affects many heavy users of computers, excessive sedentary behaviour, a leading cause of obesity hasn’t affected me thanks to exercising culture that I’ve inculcated since childhood.Over the years, I have worked hard to make i stay away from the device at least as many hours as i can per week. Mobile devices are great but they’re not the only thing in my life and thats why I use them a couple of times per month(s).Instead of smartphones or computers, I always prefer to read a book, a real paper one!, call me a dinosaur i don’t mind and exploring my music library. I always turn off devices well before bedtime and for more than a decade, I don’t ever put any devices on my bedside.As other people suffer with screen addition, technology be is friend, but I don’t let it be that poisonous partner who dictates my life. I can only hope that others can break the cycle of addiction like I’ve done for more than a decade.

Contador Harrison