Help! People say I am addicted to my mobile…

Question: Technology addiction must be just media hype! Is it not?

Answer: It is the age of technology and naturally young people would have to use more technology in order to keep pace with the changing world. What is the harm if someone uses technology a lot? Excessive use of technology can lead to physical problems in form of eye strain, neck pain or other similar complaints as well as mental health difficulties such as concentration problems, anxiety, mood disturbances and poorer well-being. The generic advice is to take frequent breaks- to avoid hazards of overuse.

Question: I do use my mobile a lot. But, how do I know if I am addicted? What are the signs?

Answer: If your usage (amount/frequency/duration/usage pattern) is leading to consequences in various spheres of life (academic, occupation, relationships), resulting in losing out on your other hobbies, causing sleep and/or appetite disturbances, this would be a cause of concern. Continuous craving/desire to access your phone, a sense of compulsion about using the mobile, inability to keep track of the time you spend on using it – all these are warning signals that require that the pattern of use must be evaluated.

Question:  I know I need to cut down on use of internet and my mobile. But it seems just too difficult. How do I do that? What are a few good tips?

Answer: Make sure that you start minimizing accessing your mobile in at least some of the situations like  while having food, while talking to someone or during any other routine work as well as while important tasks are ongoing.

The three basic steps in overcoming excessive use are: Acknowledge, Ask, Allow. Acknowledge the problem- enhance your self-awareness about the problem rather than deny its existence. Ask for help from family members/friends who can provide support in cutting down the use. Approach a counselor or mental health professional for help. Allow yourself opportunities to cultivate alternative hobbies and explore other ways to feel meaningfully engaged. Aim at developing habits that support healthy use of technology.

Expert: Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma
Additional Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology
NIMHANS, Bangalore -560029
Dr Sharma runs the SHUT clinic at the NIMHANS Center for Wellbeing.

It is aimed providing services for developing healthy use of technology.