Tech Tactics - Do You Suffer from Device Addiction?

Tech Tactics - Do You Suffer from Device Addiction?

Is it still possible to wax poetic? What about waxing poetic about a device made of plastic, metal, and silicon?

These days, the device that sweeps most people off their feet is their smartphone. The third and latest Trends in Consumer Mobility Report from Bank of Americareveals an ever-growing daily dependence on these devices in the U.S. today - and not exclusively among young people ( learn how to deal with device-addicted young people).

On an average day, 39 percent of millennials, those 18 to 34 years old, say they're more likely to interact with their smartphone than anyone or anything else, including their significant other. As a whole, Americans are more than twice as likely to interact with their smartphone than their children.

These devices are demanding. The study shows two-thirds of adults feel the appropriate response time to a text message is under an hour, with 43 percent saying under 10 minutes and 10 percent thinking it should be instantly.

And we want more than one. Fifty-nine percent of respondents own multiple mobile devices, and 24 percent own three or more.

Digital device dependence, sometimes called digital addiction or internet addiction, is one of the downsides to the upside of the connectivity, information access, and entertainment value provided by computers and their smaller digital cousins.

One key test is whether your use of the technology is helping your overall life or hurting it. Are you going overboard, spending too much time with your device to the detriment of your work, academic, family, social, or personal life?

In this sense, digital dependence is no different from any other activity you can become obsessed with, including shopping, gambling, and exercise. At this extreme, it falls under the rubric of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Way back in 1854, in his classic book Walden, Henry David Thoreau says, "Men have become the tools of their tools." The industrial age then was beginning to kick into high gear.

Today, in our post-industrial digital age, our tools just have become smaller. The trick is mindfulness. If you approach it as appropriate technology, you use it selectively, to your benefit. Remember, you control your tools, they don't control you.