Nowadays, we seem to rely on technology for everything. But if we’re not careful, device use, screentime, and internet use can become an addiction. If you think you may have digital addiction, TheHopeLine is here to help with resources and support.
What is Digital Addiction?
Digital addiction happens when you use digital devices compulsively. You can develop digital addiction as a result of using:
- Internet browsers
- Pornography sites
- Smartphone apps
- Tablets or computers
- Video games
More than overuse or habitual use, digital addiction happens when you:
- Can’t stop using your digital devices (or feel like you can’t)
- Use digital devices instead of talking about or dealing with your problems or challenges
- Feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop using or are told you can’t use the internet or your devices (irritability, anger, mood swings, jitters, etc,)
- Hide your device use from others
If your behavior has changed significantly as a result of a lot of digital device use, or if you have seen negative effects on your relationships, it’s time to talk to someone about getting help for your digital addiction.
With more and more people using devices for hours a day, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of your risks for developing an addiction to digital devices.
Harmful Effects of Digital Addiction
If you are struggling with digital addiction, it can be tempting to think, “It’s just me and my computer (or my smartphone), so why is it a problem?”
But like any addictive behavior, digital addiction is a big claim on your time and attention. For every hour you spend scrolling social media, surfing the internet, or using smartphone apps, an hour is lost that could be spent in your work, your spiritual and emotional development, or with people you care about.
Think back to the last time you were with friends or family. Can you remember how much time you spent talking to them versus looking at your phone or computer screen?
Addiction to digital devices or internet use also has a negative impact on the mind and body. You might be experiencing:
- Increased agitation and fidgeting
- Shortened attention span
- Feelings of loneliness or isolation
- Difficulty focusing
- Tension in your neck, back, and shoulders
- Headaches, squinting, or worsening vision
If you’ve been noticing physical effects as a result of using digital devices, it’s a good time to take a breather.
What to Do About Digital Addiction
If you’re concerned, ask people you trust to give you honest feedback about your device use. If their answers upset you, it’s a good indication that you may need some additional guidance and support. You can reach out to TheHopeLine mentors anytime for confidential digital addiction help, or:
- See a physician or counselor
- Meet up with an addiction support group
- Spend unplugged time with friends and family
- Reach out to a prayer partner, or someone in your faith community
In addition, spending time outdoors, finding a new hobby, or your favorite physical activities, can give you an outlet for emotional expression that your digital devices can’t fill.
We are here for you, and we believe anyone can find freedom and healing from digital addiction.