LIFE

Internet at forefront of technology addiction: expert

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As the world evolves into a more digitalized place day by day, people have been introduced to what is called technology addiction which is mainly triggered by social media.

Deniz Unay, an Istanbul-based social media specialist, describes the technology addiction "intense interest in personal computers and mobile devices" and "a habit to get away from society".

Raising concern for "the globally growing disaster," Unay warned that technology addiction causes trauma in the society.

There are over 40 million Internet users in Turkey, he said, and 90% of them are mobile users.

As mobile devices become smarter, the active use of social media has increased, he asserted.

"The Internet, which has reached every point of our lives through the developing technological tools, has become an open prison that confines people with the rapid spread of social media platforms used to attain information," Unay said.

He warned: "The Internet has shown us that it is not as innocent as it appears to be by being at the forefront of technology addiction."

Specialized on the effects of social media and mobile life, Unay said curiosity is the main motive behind using social media and online game websites.

"We spend most of our time on our mobile phones, tablets or personal computers, dealing with [the curiosity over] who liked our posts, who shared what and what videos they uploaded," he added.

At last, it has become such an everyday routine that people check their social media accounts even while working or eating, the specialist said.

Negative impacts of intense technology use

It is difficult to make people of certain age addicted to anything, but it is not the case for technology addiction.

The Internet, online games and social media platforms work well in creating technology addicted people regardless of their age, according to Unay.

The intense use of technological devises leads to some physical and social problems simultaneously, he warned.

Looking at the screen for a long time causes pain and stiffness in neck muscles, impairment in body posture and eye burning, while its reflection on social life is reduction in social activities, depression, attention deficit, failure in time management and decline in academic achievement.

Technology addiction is included in the addictions list of Turkish Green Crescent (Yeşilay) -- a non-profit organization fighting addictions and proving services to stay away from them.

"Internet or technology addiction is defined as a situation in which an addict feels deprivation when s/he is not able to get technological material which s/he is addicted to as other addictions," according to Turkish Green Crescent.

Old habits encouraged against technology addiction

The spread of social media use, especially among children ignorant of its threats, has paved the way for malevolent people to take insidious actions, Unay said.

"A group that is followed by our children and young people, calling themselves a so-called phenomenon, is particularly engaged in fulfilling a mission of encouraging drugs on these platforms."

Despite the fight of security forces against them, the efforts are not enough, he complained.

Emphasizing the importance of an effective control mechanism against dangers of social media, Unay also said that people of all ages should be educated on the issue.

"The best solution against technology addiction will be developed through steps to increase awareness. Individuals with increased awareness will not lose the social and cultural texture of their lives by not using technology without need and will be protected from social and physical damages of addiction," he asserted.

Unay said technology addiction is quite difficult to prevent since it is a human-originated problem, it can be eliminated, though.

"The best way to reduce addiction is to go back to old habits. We took young people and children away from the parks, gardens and streets and gave them a dangerous device and brought them to all the evils of the world," he said.

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