Constant Connection Addiction – cause or effect?

 

Connection Addiction

Connection Addiction

Today I have to make an early start so this will be another short post.

The cardiologist and other doctors who treated me after my heart attack in 2010, call me an “interesting case”, because my symptoms were not typical and my recovery has been better than originally expected. During a visit to the hospital, I saw a notice asking for volunteers to be guinea pigs at the cardiac unit for medical students to examine.

I was well treated by the Canadian Health system and the doctors. I though that I should volunteer. Later this morning I will present myself at the hospital in London for students to ask me questions, examine me and discuss my case. I have been assured that they will not be practicing any surgical procedures or resuscitation techniques and that I will be quite safe.

It should be interesting. I have every confidence that I will be fit enough to continue publishing posts on this blog.

James Clear is a highly successful blogger who writes thought-provoking articles on changing habits, increasing creativity and health.

His recent article about Lewin’s Equation got me thinking that my previous post, How Connected are you?, failed to explore whether the current addiction to constant electronic connection is cause or effect. Or an incestuous combination of both.

According to the article, Kurt Lewin stated in 1936 that:

Behaviour is a function of the person in their environment.

Examples of people behaving differently in different environments are everywhere. From the child who is a monster at home but an angel at school or the other  way, to the thug on the street who becomes as meek as a lamb when dragged into court.

How much of the current compulsion with virtual connectedness is because the addicts get value and enjoyment out of it and how much is environment induced behaviour? Like many fashions and fads, part of the answer must be “because everyone else is doing it.”

The environment today is full of references to smart phones, texting, tweeting, engaging, a plague of social media platforms, likes, shares and updates. Is it any wonder that it is so easy to become addicted?

That hundreds of people will line up for hours to get the latest model iPhone to feed their addiction suggests the fad element may be a big part of being constantly connected.

I am not anti smart phones or virtual connections. The first are valuable tools for many people, they can make people’s lives easier, but they are not altars on which to sacrifice hours of time. Virtual connections allow us to communicate with people all over the world who we could not easily contact in the real sense. That is wonderful, but it’s not the same as having real connections to real people in the real world.

Extend that thought about environment influencing behaviour and my comments on resilience declining as comfort increases in earlier posts become more relevant.

What do you think?

 

image by Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

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  5 comments for “Constant Connection Addiction – cause or effect?

  1. Sylvie Morin
    September 12, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Technology driven gadgets that keep us “connected” are in fact useful for quick and real time data retrieval and to maintain a frequency in communications with those not in our proximity. I strongly agree that the technology shouldn’t become a substitute for face-to-face (F2F) interactions. Whether for business or pleasure, F2F interactions have proven to be a sustainable way to build rapport, maintain, and retain relationships. Technology addictions, a.k.a. being constantly connected, can become quite isolating, consuming attention that may not have any real value except to be entertained perhaps. By definition, an addiction is synonymous with dependency. Any concentration of technology-driven “activity” or other such focus that serves to disconnect many from fostering the skills they need to function in the real world, engaging in real, live, and in person communications, is bound to bring on some social inadequacies.

    • September 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Thanks for your comment Sylvie, I agree that new technology has its place and is very useful. I seem to remember similar concerns to mine being voiced by my parents when television was first introduced to our country. There was huge worry that it would stop children from reading. Sadly it did for many but certainly not all.

  2. Roberta
    September 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Hard to say whether being connected via social media and constantly using new and smaller computers are a real addiction or not. A lot of the symptoms are the same. And as you point out some people do tend too over do it all. One symptom of addiction is that it is done in secret. There is nothing secret about being on electronic gadgets. And anything new – and in electronics there is always a newer version – will always mean people will try it out.

    I think it depends on can you do without it for a few hours or a day. Life, at least for me, cause me to be off electronics. I do not have i-phones or smaller computers. All I have is a PC. So when I go to movies, grocery store, or to lunch with friends, I am off. Am forced to be.

    I do have to wonder about all the folks I see on hand held phones/computers so much of the time. But I do not know if it is truly addiction or just the new way to do business and the business of life.

    It is certainly different. The world has changed. The jury is out if it is a good thing or a bad thing.

  3. Roberta
    September 14, 2014 at 11:33 am

    P.S. Have to add this.

    In the last two months or so have become disenchanted with Twitter. In fact I mostly find it insipid these days. I am not on Twitter much any more. What got me to this place is coming home from work one day and I had 150 tweets waiting for me. Thing was, there were 50 or more that were just people saying, “Good Morning” back and forth to each other. I don’t have time to read and respond to 50+ Tweets like that. And what a colossal waste of time anyway. I would rather garden, read, a book, cook, or many other more productive activities. Now I say “Good Morning” to everyone in one tweet and no more. I am also tired of seeing pictures of people’s pets, garden, children, etc., etc., etc.over and over half a dozen times or more every single day. And the complaints about the weather – which we cannot change- is getting ion my nerves even though I do not like cold either.

    I only respond to tweets these days with something different or a bit more substantive. If this is the level people rise to in using all these great electronic gadgets we have then count me out. Some of that is fine……but a steady diet of it is causing malnutrition of the brain. And the world will/is already is suffering for it.

    • September 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

      I agree that twitter can be irritating. I put up with it because it does provide a few visitors to this blog and there is the occasional flash of brilliance amongst the insipid drivel. I set up my quotes for the day then only spend about 5 minutes morning and evening on it.

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