The internet itself can be an addiction. It only makes sense that we carefully think about the ways technology can either help or hurt our lives.
This is part of a 3-part series about online addiction programs:
- 14 Reasons why online addiction programs work
- Who is an online addiction program good for?
- Technology can either replace relationships, or unlock them
Here we’ll look at how to use technology in a way that helps you rather than distract you from a connected, healthy life.
THE INTERNET CAN USE US, OR WE CAN USE THE INTERNET
The first thing to understand is that things don’t use people… people use things. What do I mean? Here are a couple examples:
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Cars don’t move us, we use cars to move
Phones don’t use our voices, we use phones to make our voice travel.
One of the bigger examples of the day is: The internet doesn’t use us, we use the internet to exchange ideas and data efficiently.
Of course, too often we do get used by technology. We get sucked into consuming articles, ads, and go down rabbit holes that makes us forget what we were doing there in the first place.
WHY WE LET THINGS USE US
The fear that technology replaces real relationships and experiences is a valid one. Just look around. It’s suddenly normal to see people out to eat “together” but looking down at their phones. Oh the irony of technological advancements.
But it’s not because we’re bad people with newly messed up moral codes. We’re wired for it. In these situations, our biology draws us to do a couple things that don’t help us:
- Avoid unpleasant things
- Seek short-term reward
In the case of the internet it’s a recipe for disaster. The digital era has made it all too easy to escape a social interaction we might feel a bit uncertain or awkward about (a new person, slow conversation, insecurities, etc.). And then on top of that, it presents a bunch of quick dopamine rewards when we check email, Facebook posts, scores, and other quick wins.
It’s no wonder that a new clinical classification was made for internet addiction. It’s real.
FLIP THE OBJECT OF WHO USES WHO
The antidote to this sad cultural shift that the people doing it don’t even want? Be deliberate with your life.
The key to staying in the driver’s seat is to be deliberate in life. Use technology to carry out what it is you want. If you do that you’re not just managing technology, you’re literally using it.
You can do this with anything. Here are a couple examples:
- You can either turn the TV on and let it’s teasers and commercials decide what you watch and how you spend that time, or instead you can ask yourself before you even turn it on what mood you’re in, what you feel like watching, and whether that’s what you want to be doing with yourself at that moment.
- You can either browse the internet and follow each link that grabs your attention (like you might have done to get here!), or instead make a deliberate choice before you open up your browser what it is you want to find out and go straight to that only.
APPLYING THIS TO ONLINE ADDICTION PROGRAMS
Don’t do an online addiction program because you think it will make your life better just by signing up. If we apply the earlier point, it goes something like this:
An online program won’t make you better… you use the online program to make yourself better. It’s way more powerful that way.
It’s not just for online healthcare. I’d say the same thing about live therapy: Therapy doesn’t make you better, you use therapy to make yourself better.
Do you notice what changes? When you flip the equation you grab life and drive it. You can’t go wherever you want, but you sure as hell have better control than getting whisked away by the motivations of the world around you.
“SO WHY DID YOU CREATE AN ADDICTION PROGRAM THAT’S ONLINE?”
There are several fascinating things that happen when you use an online program. The first is that it’s kind of hard for an online program to use you. Because you have to sign up and all the content inside is for your growth, even if you are using it to escape real life you’re still growing.
This is also a good example of turning your own weakness into strength. For example, if I know I can’t say no to people, I could “hack” that weakness by arranging for my friends to ask me to workout with them. Then I can’t say no to a healthy thing. With an online program, you’re using the same biology I mentioned above that can tempt you away from real life for your own good. You get a bunch of easy wins that keep you engaged and interested in your personal growth.