Technology addiction complicated to avoid

Illustration by Hannah Hunsinger

Orlando Petty, freshman in computer engineering, went an entire month without his computer during winter break. To those who know Petty, this caused shock and awe.

Petty is currently in the process of building a gaming-grade computer with 32 gigabytes of RAM and two monitors, and is planning on purchasing three more monitors, even after spending over $2,000 in the last year on this one tech project. Technology provides a bulk of Petty’s entertainment.

“People would probably walk into my room and say, ‘Wow you really like computers,’ because it is the first thing a person sees when they come in,” Petty said. “I still found it was not hard to separate from technology.”

Regardless of Petty’s so-called “disconnect,” he still continued to have a phone with Internet access for the duration of winter break.

“I literally started reading books on my phone,” Petty said. “I just find it’s easy to disconnect as long as I have something to do like a job or something else to keep me busy. I am not a texter or social networker so that is not what keeps me hooked.”

But when does technology take over one’s life and become an addiction? Are people as tangled in the obsession with technology as the cords that charge their devices?

“I think phones are becoming a cause to people’s depression, because they expect to be in constant contact,” Eric Nagle, freshman in fine arts, said. “When people are unresponsive or not as quick to respond, they feel they are missing something.”

According to WebMD, constant interruptions take a toll on individuals’ bodies and metal states.

Being attached to a phone, tablet or computer and compulsively checking every single message, notification or game request can cause physical pain to people. This can range from headaches to insomnia to an increased risk of heart attacks.

“I do not like being connected all the time time, so I try to leave my phone behind when I can,” Nagle said. “Anything a person does in regular life can be interrupted, nothing kills [any situation] more than have a text chime go off. It is nice to break away from technology.”

Because people are constantly connected in this society, there is less room for boundaries and it seems there is no time in the day free from technology. When there is no getting away from the tech grid, it is possible for life necessities to be ignored.

“In my opinion, not all addictions are bad, as long as they do not keep people from eating or sleeping and making the money for the bills – things you have to do in society to be a functioning person,” Petty said. “Additionally, if you cannot have a conversation without checking your phone, it’s affecting your social life.”

Social media could be partially to blame for the constant need for a technological fix.

“People taking pictures of their food and thinking people want to see it is a sign we have a technology problem,” said Reed Meagher, freshman in arts and science.

Meagher said he thinks that people become dependent on being on their phones and other devices because people expect others to be in constant communication.

Many of the millennial generation has been able to recognize that technology addiction is a real issue, but also believe that it will only continue to expand to a more tech-obsessed, frantic, frazzled group of individuals.

“Our generation is more about things fast, knowing things quickly,” Petty said. “We started going to the drone system with Amazon. We want things fast, simply stated. Based off of that, it would make sense that people want to know information faster. People can unlock their phones and check things, and then see everything they think they need to. It makes them feel calm to have instant knowledge.”

While it was easy for Petty to discuss people’s addictions to technology, he admits he feels he needs something constantly keeping him entertained. He compared being without technology to a smoker cutting off their use of nicotine cold turkey.

“Even though I did okay over break, I must admit, I did miss my computer,” Petty said.