Don’t deny it, like us, you’ve got a ton of gadgets at your fingertips at all times. From smartphones to tablets, PDAs to Kindles, iPods and fitness bands, and of course there’s the good old-fashioned laptops. With so many technological devices at our disposal, we’re becoming increasingly overwhelmed and distracted. Unfortunately, as great as our gadgets are, there are also some negative effects of technology, and this constant state of need for the screen can cause mental health concerns as well as subpar parenting.
Clinical and consulting psychologist at Harvard and author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, Catharine Steiner Adair, Ph.D.says, “One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off, was the consistency with which children—whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24—talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents’ attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry.” We obviously want to be the best parents we can, so we’re working on becoming less distracted by our gadgets. To help you get on board too, we’re laying out 10 signs you are suffering from technology overload.
1. You scan every room you enter for outlets
Because your batteries are pretty much always running low.
2. You’re texting answers to your kids’ questions at the dinner table
Texting anyone, really, when they’re in the same building, is a sign that your communication skills have started to wane.
3. You’re watching TV, catching up on your Facebook newsfeed, and reading an e-book simultaneously
Your brain simply cannot handle doing all of these things at once, there’s no way.
4. Staring at a screen 24/7 is starting to affect your posture
Who’s hunched over from staring at a screen? We are! And we’re sad about it.
5. You use an app to monitor your cell phone usage
6. It’s affecting your eyesight
Personal story time…one of us here learned the hard way to only look at one screen at a time because one night, while working on writing a piece on her laptop and simultaneously watching Drunk History with her husband, her eyes crossed. Seriously. For a whole five minutes. Look away from the screens, people. Look away from the screens.
7. Your VWI is approaching 50
The Virtual Weight Index (VWI) index was created by the people behind the book, The Digital Diet: the 4-step plan to break your tech addiction and regain balance in your life.“Collectively a bunch of electronics might only weigh several pounds in your hand. But forget about gravity for a minute. Think of how they weigh on your mind. This is the basis for your VWI: your Virtual Weight Index.”
8. It’s disrupting your sleep
Recent studies have shown that all that blue light from your screens is probably impacting your slumber—and your work performance—more than you know.
9. You’re putting your kids’ safety at risk
From our point of view, this is one of the most negative effects of technology. A study published inAcademic Pediatrics found that, in the previous month, 90% of parents engaged in a minimum of one technology-based distraction while driving their child. We know it’s bad and yet we do it anyway! Why?
10. You find yourself fighting the urge to sync your Fitbit and send a quick email during your child’s monologue in the school play
Cue the sad song because you’re missing your child’s, well, childhood because you’re addicted to your devices. Time to take control of the technology overload.