Digital Addiction

What Is Digital Addiction & How To Get Help

We seem to rely on technology for everything. But if we’re not careful, device use, screen time, and internet use can become an addiction.

If you think you may have digital addiction, TheHopeLine is here to help with resources and support.
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What is Digital Addiction?

Digital addiction happens when you use digital devices compulsively. You can develop digital addiction as a result of using the internet, porn sites, apps, phones, TVs, tablets, computers, or video games.

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.

Physical

Staring at a screen hour after hour, scrolling or gaming with no break can be harmful to your physical health. You are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, vision problems, tension in your neck and shoulders causing you to experience some level of pain. In many cases digital addiction can create unhealthy sleep patterns which will cause a drain on your daily energy level. It can also affect the way you eat which can lead to weight gain or weight loss.

Emotional

When the addiction to your device(s) first began, perhaps it was because you wanted to escape from dealing with certain life challenges. But gradually your addiction advances to a point where you get panicked or irritable when you can't use your device. Then you become frustrated that you can’t control your digital addiction which leads to feelings of shame which may cause you to hide your use by isolating yourself from others. However, the isolation feeds into your addiction and causes you more emotional turmoil.

Spiritual

Overuse of screen-time can dampen your spirit as it consumes your well-being. Digital addiction creates so much clutter in the mind which leaves your spirit in need of refreshing. Similar to detoxing your body from unhealthy things that make it weak, you need a time of detoxing your spirit from your unhealthy digital use to allow your spirit to strengthen. As you do this, you will regain control.

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Harmful Effects of Digital Addiction

If you are struggling with digital addiction, it can be tempting to think, “It’s just me and my device, so why is it a problem?”

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 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?

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 and set boundaries for your screen time.
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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 also monitor your screen time use yourself by using the screen time information your phone provides. It can tell you exactly how much you use it, how many times you pick it up and what you are spending your time doing. 

Reach out to TheHopeLine 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 someone in your faith community

In addition, spending time outdoors, finding a new hobby, and doing 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 believe anyone can limit their screen time, and live a healthy, meaningful life, free from digital addiction.

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

It is important to set goals to limit your digital use. Start out with small goals that are attainable and add to them until you have healthy boundaries in place for your digital use. You need change and a renewing of your mind. God says we can be transformed by changing our thought patterns. 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

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