Half our day is spent using digital technology; a relatively new trend considering that only 20 years ago computers did little more than computing and word processing, and the Internet had only just become commercialized.
In the past two decades technology has advanced at lightening speed; and while it has undoubtedly been used for tremendous good in our society, it has it’s negative aspects.
Research shows that overuse of digital technology is not only addictive, it can actually change the function of our brain…in negative ways.
We all know the negative aspect of digital technology as being a time waster, and most parents are scrambling for ways to limit their children’s screen time.
But do we realize how much we need to cut back on our own screen time?
As a professional blogger it’s not easy. In fact, it is very easy for me to rationalize my overuse of digital media because it’s my job. Everything I do for my work is tied to a screen. And yet, if I were 100% honest with myself, I’d admit that a lot of my screen time is not job related; it is scrolling through my Facebook feed, viewing my favorite celebrity’s latest tweets, or mindlessly watching YouTube videos.
And what about listening to podcasts while cleaning?
Or how about those times when I’m using my cellphone as Bible in church, only to get a notification that I click through to view and then get lost on my device while my pastor preaches on?
The amount of noise and distraction we have in our lives today with digital technology has brought our entire society to massive sensory overload and a belief that we should never be bored. We unconsciously believe that boredom is a bad thing, something to be avoided.
We have “boredom busters” for our kids: jobs to keep them constantly going, constantly doing, constantly watching…forgetting that boredom is the foundation for creativity. But not just for children, for adults too. Boredom is the foundation for contemplation upon which amazing things are built.
So, it begs the question: What amazing things are we missing out on while we’re so doped up on digital technology and digital noise?
Even more, how much are we missing out on God’s voice wanting to speak to us because we can’t hear him or see His hand at work while our ears are tuned into the din of digital noise and our eyes are ever fixed on a screen?
Here are 6 reasons why you should radically reduce your daily use of digital technology
Overuse of digital technology creates stress in your body. Screen time causes arousal in our bodies, which increases our use of cortisol. It keeps our senses constantly engaged and tuned in, never allowing our minds and our senses to relax and recharge. The more hours we spend using digital technology, the more our bodies remain revved up at high speeds of arousal and are not given adequate time for recovery.
This is even more dangerous when we use digital technology at night. The light from our screens prevents our bodies from experiencing that normal process of slowing down. It reduces the amount of melatonin released in our bodies, thereby keeping our brains stimulated long into the night.
The less sleep we have the more stress our bodies feel because our organs are not getting adequate recovery from being chronically over stimulated, and the cycle continues.
Overuse of digital technology causes changes in brain function. Research has proven that overuse of digital technology causes loss of gray matter in our brain. Did you catch that?
Over use of digital technology actually changes our brain function and cause a loss of gray matter! This actually scared me when I read it.
It reduces our cognitive skills, our ability to process emotions properly, as well as many other important functions of our brain. For more information on this research view this article and watch the video below.
Overuse of digital technology is addictive. It is proven that digital technology is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. It releases dopamine – the neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you feel good. A rush.
Dopamine isn’t a bad thing. We get that rush from many things around us everyday. The problem is when we feel we must constantly have a steady release of dopamine. This is addiction. We recognize addicts in the form of drug addicts, gambling addicts, food addicts, but there are also those who are addicting to the rush of their screens: emails, text messages, social media notifications. Digital addiction is a real thing and affects more people than we think!
Overuse of digital technology is a health risk. Apart from the health risks you face in depleting the stores of cortisol in your body, you also face tremendous health risks by the sedentary lifestyle it causes.
The list of diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle is long and frightening. But what about other risky behavior many digital addicts choose to engage in, such as cell phone use while driving?
While there are certainly many more reasons why one should reduce the use of digital technology, these four reasons are certainly enough to make me reconsider the amount of screen time my family and I engage in each day.
Perhaps its time to put down our devices, engage with one another, embrace some boredom, and rediscover our non-digital hobbies we loved before we were surrounded by so much media.