Innovation Inundation: Getting Over Tech Addictions

Foldable smartphones. Next-generation gaming consoles. The latest PC graphics cards and must-have smart home products. At times, it seems that the very goal of tech companies is to overwhelm us with flashy, exciting new innovations – often acting as Trojan horses full of “must-have” features that compel us to fork over the cash. It’s great for the mind to experience and enjoy new things and there’s a compelling argument for making beneficial upgrades, but many of us just don’t know when to hit the brakes.

What if we were happier settling for what we have? It’s possible. All it takes is looking away from the addictive ads and marketing-speak to understand the differences between a need and want. Away from the flash and pizazz, not giving in to temptation as often can prove to be healthier and more cost-effective – and not just when it comes to the budget. Let’s explore in more detail.

Save Money and Stress to Unburden Yourself

The more we use commercial goods to make ourselves feel whole, the deeper the void can become. We see this most commonly in broken households or those who are looking for ways to cope with a tragic loss. Using tech toys as distractions from personal trauma, such as an abusive upbringing or messy divorce, is a trend that many don’t discuss. However, no life is perfect or problem-free and with so many ways to spend money nowadays, the addiction to technology has never been more prevalent in society.

The best way to combat this is to slowly tune out the opinions and advertisements of the rest of the world. Focus on what you need and minimize the number of complications. For instance, if you need a new smartphone for staying in touch with loved ones during this COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no need to spring for the $2,000-dollar premium flagship device that’s being advertised everywhere – especially if your budget can’t accommodate for it. That’s a significant enough reason to get past an addiction to technology: it can cost a pretty penny if you go all-in. This is made more dangerous in alluring “walled garden” product families such as those from Apple, so always consider what you’ll actually get out of a tech purchase in the long run before giving in to the marketing hype.

Striking the Right Balance

The less we surround ourselves with the latest tech toys and distractions, the less we’re pulled away from the more meaningful aspects of everyday life. A great example of this is parenting that enjoys the creature comforts and entertainment of modern products but doesn’t let them take over the house. In this sort of environment, parents are mindful of content consumption and how addicted family members become, going out of their way to engage their children with the great outdoors and more socially friendly alternatives on a more frequent basis.

In general, the trick is not to treat technology as “evil” but rather to strike the right balance with real life. This is critical to ensure effective use rather than rampant abuse. You’ll find that the hours won’t zoom by so quickly and more precious memories are made. The sensation of “wasting the day” is mitigated by, quite literally, not doing so. After all, each day is what you make of it!

Reconnecting with Ourselves and Others

Watching a movie on a streaming service with loved ones. Playing a video game with the kids for a friendly challenge. Videoconferencing as part of a work-from-home solution. There are plenty of ways to enjoy modern technologies together as well as alone. That said, we can’t build relationships by simply staring at a screen, even if it’s what we do for a living.

Working from home is often misrepresented as detrimental to teamwork, collaboration and other core fundamentals, but that only happens if the right focus isn’t put in place. In respect to the pandemic currently unfolding, some practical examples for work-life include company get-togethers outdoors with safe distancing protocols in place – combined with Slack and other instant chat solutions, you don’t have to say goodbye to watercooler conversation and can still protect yourself from the virus. For home life, outings with household members are still very much possible with some exceptions. Walk the dog, go play soccer in the park, take a scenic drive around the countryside – the choice is yours. Even with travel and many entertainment options out of the picture at the moment, you still have plenty of options.

Many of us turn to technology as a crutch – something to lean on. This is natural as we are surrounded by it, so often we cannot help but rely on it to feel more understood and comfortable. However, the best way to avoid addiction is to understand it can never replace a meaningful human connection. Seize the moment and find ways to strike the right balance, enabling you to enjoy the relationships you have, make lasting memories, and cherish the here and now. If you need assistance in doing this, our therapists are happy to help you get there. Contact us today for details!