When we were young, technology addiction didn't merit as much concern as scraped knees and broken Legos. For today's youth, however, digital starts to take its toll as early as infancy.
If you haven't yet seen the development of tech addiction among today's youth, visit a family restaurant. Kids are fighting over iPads and iPhones, or silently engrossed in their own devices. Parents often stick a smartphone, or "digital babysitter" under the eyes of rowdy children to calm them down.
"They don't realize what it's doing," says Ben Halpert, vice president of risk and corporate security at Ionic security, and founder of nonprofit Savvy Cyber Kids. The seeds of technology addiction are planted earlier than ever.
As they grow up, children are constantly encouraged to go online. Today's TV shows encourage live-tweeting; McDonald's Happy Meals let kids interact with their toys on the Internet.
"They're addicted before they even know what's happening," Halpert emphasizes. The boost in screen time increases the likelihood that children will experience low self-esteem, relationship problems, and difficulty with social interaction.
The problems related to tech addiction follow children as they develop into teens and enter adulthood.
"This is an issue for kids, for preteens, for teens and for adults," says Halpert. Adults addicted to technology also suffer from strained relationships and social problems. Those who have digital overload often aren't familiar with facial expressions and hand/eye movement that people frequently use to communicate.
Unfortunately, the problems associated with excessive digital dependence go far beyond social awkwardness. Adults who get too much screen time are also known to suffer from insomnia, short-term memory loss, eye irritation, and spinal damage.
Technology may have the potential to improve your health, but it can also be dangerous. Are you spending too much time online? Read on to learn more about the ways that excessive tech dependence could be damaging your health.