Can technology really be an addiction?

Many of us have stated or thought that we might have an addiction to something. Sometimes the word is thrown about casually in reference to coffee, a good TV show, or an exercise regimen. There are other places in our lives where the word gives us pause as we reflect on co-dependent relationships, substance abuse, or impulsive behaviors.

But, where does technology and, even more specifically the internet, fall into this conversation? When it comes to our interactions with technology it could certainly be argued that if we say we are not addicted – our actions betray us. We are constantly looking at our phones, impulsively posting on Facebook or Pinterest, and even letting these electronics get in the way of our relationships. These are all reflections of addictive behavior.

But, can technology really be catogrized as an addiction? Here is what Dr Turkle says about it:

Turkle’s main arguement against technology as an addiction is the fact that we will never really get away from it. So, things become hopeless.

Alcoholics Anonymus has been around for many years and is one of the most universally effective programs for getting people into recovery. In fact, most recovery programs have some elements of the “12 Steps”. This highly effective program rests on the idea that alcholism is an illness that cannot be cured, but can be “arrested” through the 12 steps.

For some it would be easier to call our relationship with technology an addiction so they could say they have a sickness and “get help”. But, imagine an “AA-like” meeting where people were dicussing their addictions to technology while having their cell phone in their pockets. It is quite rediculous.

But this idea of technology as an addiction is pretty far off most of our radar screens. And, that might be a problem as well. When something that has the potential to be so consuming has free, unquestioned access to your life you will either find yourself to be consumed, or completly disconnected with reality.

Our discussions on this blog rest between ignorance and addiction. We are a group of friends who are having the green cleaned from our eyes about the world we live in. We are starting to see the world for what it is and the bill of goods we have been sold about our technologies.

To keep the sea from washing away the land you must build breakers, dykes, and barriers. And to keep these technologies in their proper place – we must create intentional space and time for the creation of community, a relationship with God, and to understand what is real.

Let’s not throw in the towel and ignore what is going on right under our noses. As Dr Turkle said – let’s start talking about these things.

Has technology ever felt addictive to you? What does it feel like to intentionally separate yourself from technology?

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