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Classified as behavioral addictions, they fall under the category of addictions where an action that produces a short-term reward in turn causes persistent behavior. This behavior continues even when there are negative effects from the act. Behavioral addictions are dangerous because they resemble substance addictions in many ways. Take for example a social media platform such as Instagram: when you receive a “like” on one of your posts, your brain releases dopamine, the chemical that is also released when someone gets high on a drug.
If you find yourself obsessed with using social media, constantly texting, gaming compulsively, or just hooked on modern technology in general, you may be due for a detox. These actions may seem innocent, but they could be controlling your entire life. Here are a few ways to help cut back on technology usage:
Keep track of your technology usage on a normal day to figure out exactly how much time it takes up. This information could be a wake-up call.
Schedule time to use electronic devices, including your phone, computer, and television. Many of us need electronics for our jobs, so keep this use in mind when scheduling. If there are ways to get away from your screens or use an alternative method to get your work done, incorporate those throughout your day.
Start small if this is difficult for you. It could be as simple as going device-free for an hour when you're home after work.
Ban devices from the bedroom. Studies have shown that the light from devices, otherwise known as blue light, disturbs sleep. This is because blue light prevents the release of melatonin, a hormone our bodies associate with nighttime.
Stop interrupting social interactions with your devices. Not only is it rude to the person you're interacting with, it also shows you may have lost control of your device usage. Make every attempt to stay present in the conversation, leave your device alone unless absolutely necessary. This may even influence your friends to do the same.
Log your time using an app. Sure, this may seem counter-intuitive, but it's actually smart. There are many applications that can help ensure you are not overusing technology. For example, some apps will allow you to set up a schedule for other apps, and when you attempt to use an app outside of the scheduled time, said app will not open. If you don't need this much control, you can simply use a time-logging app to keep track of your usage.