Is Your Technology Controlling You?

AMA5-14-14Do you feel anxious if you forget your cell phone? Can’t take a trip without your GPS? Don’t remember the last time you used a pen and paper? If that’s the case, you may be addicted to technology. And that, say experts, is a recognized addictive disorder that can result in anxiety, depression and lost productivity.

The term

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“technology addict” is making the rounds in psychology circles, intended to describe those constantly connected folks who feel anxious and depressed if they can’t get to their Facebok page or Twitter account. And that kind of addiction is especially prevalent among players of online games and heavy users of social media. But even without that kind of need to stay connected, experts say it’s important to reduce our dependence on devices – and relearn ways to connect in the real world.

Too much time on social media can make some of us feel less, not

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more, connected. And conducting all interaction through emails and texts robs us of cues like tone of voice and body language – and it’s hard to get a hug through the phone. How can you tell if you’re a tech addict — and what can you do about it?

Although digital tools have made work and private life easier and far more convenient, its wise to have a backup in case the unthinkable happens: A phone falls into a lake, your computer crashes, there’s major power outage or any number of other unexpected mishaps.

So how to step away from the devices – and still keep sane? Psychologists advise:

Limit mail and social media checks, and schedule them so you keep track of the time you spend. It’s easy to justify checking mail “just this once,” but it’s easy to become trapped. Keep social media friends to a manageable number – and be mindful of what you share. Turn off you phone at social gatherings – even if you need it for work. And try making notes the old fashioned way, with pen and paper.

Techie tools and toys make things easier – and more fun. But when those things become indispensable, affecting emotional and physical well being, it may be time to cut the cord. And if disaster strikes, causing interruptions in power and signals, it’s essential to have a backup plan for a relatively long period without access to those devices.

Though it may be going a bit too far to speak of a true addiction to technology, those ubiquitous devices that promise to keep us connected – all the time – can trap us into dependence. In life as in investing, as Jason Hartman says, it’s important to keep control. (Top image:Flickr/btechworld)

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The American Monetary Association Team

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