Posted on July 13, 2018 by staff

Am I addicted to tech?


This time last week I wasn’t addicted to tech.

After all, I only use my phone for Messenger and Spotify. And Snapchat. And to play Bloons TD – quite a lot of Bloons TD, actually.

But addicted? No way. I don’t even have the Facebook app!

Others may have seen things differently, however: for example, the editor of BusinessCloud asked me last Friday to monitor my tech usage for a week. Easy, I thought – a quick exercise to confirm that tech was, at best, the equivalent of a half-glass of wine a day rather than a full-on drug habit.

This image began to crumble after half a day.

The first thing I did when I woke up was check my phone. That’s normal, I thought – nice to check for messages, important to check the weather app. There I stayed for, let’s say, about half an hour.

I’m not entirely sure what I did in that half-hour, but it definitely wasn’t showering, eating breakfast or doing anything remotely productive. Bad start.

I then spent the entire day at work on my computer. Productive tasks, sure, but I couldn’t have done them without tech. My evening was vaguely better, a tech-free play and dinner before Love Island at nine o’clock (obviously) – and a few episodes of Netflix (even more obviously).

So that lovely image of myself as a take-it-or-leave-it techie was falling away. I wasn’t surprised by how much time I spent on my laptop – but I was a little unnerved by my phone usage, particularly in the morning.

The next day I set myself the challenge of seeing how long I could go without checking my phone after I woke up.

Of course, I completely forgot about this challenge until I was five Snap stories deep – and by then I was too invested in my friend’s night out to close the app.

On the following day I lasted about 15 minutes before I had to open Spotify – how can I be expected to be in a good mood in the morning without the help of ABBA?

The rest of the week carried on in pretty much the same way, although I think I got slightly better at not checking my phone in the morning – once I even got all the way to about six o’clock.

I still spent all day at work on my computer. And at least a few hours every night on it too. You forget that watching a movie, talking to friends or even shopping is actually screen time.

I think the problem is that I often conflate being addicted to tech with being addicted to my phone. However, I could probably safely go an extended period of time without my phone – and in fact I occasionally have – so long as I could still access my laptop and the internet.

It’s not as if I don’t enjoy spending time doing activities that don’t require access to the internet; but I can’t remember the last time I met up with friends without my phone in my pocket, or read a book without music playing on my laptop nearby.

When I don’t have any form of access to the internet within reach, I genuinely feel disconnected from something. We throw the word ‘addicted’ around pretty loosely at the moment, but when a lack of access to a non-essential good throws you off course, it’s probably safe to say you have a problem.

I can’t imagine life without facts, music and communication at my fingertips. Or the mindless pleasure of scrolling though social media (I’m looking at you, BuzzFeed).

So I am addicted to tech – and especially the internet. But is that necessarily a bad thing?

It’s become fashionable to say yes, we should all follow Simon Cowell in giving up our phones and become super-productive, super-happy, perfect people.

But the problem with this attitude is that we don’t all have personal assistants – and I’m pretty sure most us would have a hard time working or communicating without technology.

I certainly won’t be giving up my internet any time soon.