There’s no doubt that there will be more and more columns, magazine covers, and television coverage of the affects of technology on our lives. Our kids have grown up in a smart-phone tech world and know nothing other than that reality. We all now have what I call virtual friends, those “friends” that we actually consider friends but that we’ve actually never met or even spoken with. When I was kid that was the stuff of science fiction. So, it was inevitable that some of us would get addicted to our tech, to Social Media, and the devices we seem to cherish.
Recently, I shared the story of a “friend” – admitted it was me – and how I reacted to thinking I’d lost my so-called smart-phone. I acted like a fool – inside. That was a wake-up call though I haven’t really adjusted my behavior significantly – yet. Will I? I hope so. Our family used to take Friday nights off. We’d have a family dinner. We’d have no electronics on or at the table and we’d then either play a board game after or watch a mutually agreed-upon movie together – again, without phones.
Life has changed since those seemingly long bygone days. My older son is away at college and my 16-year-old is surgically attached to his phone, texting whenever we do sit in front of the television together though not at the dinner table. I believe his life is full and I’m not overly concerned that he’s got a Social Media addiction because of his active participation in the drama club at school, listening to music (mostly musical theatre) a lot of the time, and doing very well academically. It may not be the way I’d choose for him to spend his time, but it’s his life and I believe he’s making the right choices for himself.
What is an addict? We all know the stereotype addictions of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex. But, we also know of food addictions and those who spend inordinate amounts of time in front of the tube, and other such pursuits that aren’t formally classified as addiction. Whether the psychological journals have or haven’t added Social Media Addiction (or Anxiety) to its list of “official” disorders, I have added it to my list.
Herewith is a test to determine the level of social media addiction – or not – that you may have when it comes to your tech, your time spent on your computer, phone, video games, etc. Do you dare take this test?
1. How many hours – per day – do you spend on tech devices – that are NOT work-related? That includes time – at work – that you go on Facebook and such?
A – 1-2 hours
B – 3-4 hours
C – More than 4 hours
2. Do you shut off your technology?
A – At least once a week for a full day
B – When I go to sleep,
C – Rarely
3. If you misplaced your smart-phone would you?
A – Relax, think, and review where it might be
B – Get a little frazzled
C – Go into full panic mode
4. You leave the house and a few minutes after you left, you realize you left your smart-phone at home. What do you do?
A – Laugh it off; think it’ll be good to have a break from it
B – Calculate how long I’ll be gone and if it’s short enough, let it go
C – Immediately return home to get it.
5. When you are waiting for a tech response of some kind, whether it is personal or professional, how often to you check your email or texts?
A – When it’s convenient, or when a device beeps
B – Every hour or so
C – Obsessively, often several times one after another
6. When on vacation, do your habits change regarding checking email, texts, and such?
A – I leave the tech at home or take a phone or portable computer/tablet checking in occasionally
B – I only use the computer or phone to check times, places, and such and check in with email/texts perhaps once a day
C – Nothing changes except if I’m out of wi-fi range and I don’t like that
7. When you plan a vacation, do you check that wi-fi is available at any hotel you are thinking of booking?
A – I choose the best hotel, the best price, regardless of wi-fi access
B – I check for wi-fi, prefer it to be available, but won’t let the lack of it influence my choice
C – No wi-fi, No stay
8. When a new generation device or update comes out for your favorite tech toy, what do you do?
A – Nothing
B – Read about it, consider when and if I need it, and perhaps update or purchase it over the next couple/three months
C – But of course, GET it now
9. Do you watch television or movies on a smart-phone or tablet?
A – Never
B – Occasionally, on a plane or when stuck waiting somewhere
C – What else would I use to watch the things I love?
10. You’re with a friend and your cell-phone rings. What do you do?
A – Hit silent and turn it off
B – Look to see who’s calling and if it’s important, answer it
C – Answer immediately
Since this test is obviously scientific and immaculately researched, it’s doubtful you could see a pattern in the answers so grading is clearly quite difficult. Not true, of course. Clearly, answers A, B, and C each demonstrated a level of shall we say “connection” to our tech, to Social Media (ie. social media addiction).
It is not for me to judge how many of any of these questions answered A, B, or C would qualify you as having a Social Media addiction, but I suspect if you had 8-10 C answers, you should check the AA directory soon. For the rest of you, I hope this test was self-revealing, on the assumption you answered honestly!
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