Dependence on Electronic Devices


There was a time in the not-so-distant past when many of us appreciated the benefits of PDAs, email and the many wonders offered via cell phones. For many, however, there came a time that convenience was replaced by an unnerving dependency. Suddenly, being awakened from a sound sleep due to a BlackBerry or laptop’s familiar chime was enough to convince ourselves we needed only three hours of rest anyway. After all, there’s breaking news that simply can’t wait another few hours. But when did this become acceptable? And why are so many willing to compromise other aspects of their lives to ensure instant replies to emails and immediate access to happenings across the globe?

One plausible theory relates to the current economic times. With massive job lay-offs, conglomerates filing bankruptcy on a seemingly daily basis and political unrest that affects many of us to the core, it becomes easy to justify the ever-present cell phones and PDAs joining us at the dinner table. Many believe by “staying on top of things” somehow keeps us ahead of the curve and allows us to prepare for the uncertainties. Bosses have those they must answer to and in turn expect nothing less from their own teams. The fear is that if we appear disinterested or refuse to place our careers at the top of our priority lists, then there’s always someone else who will. Unfair? Certainly; but acceptable for those who fear they’ll be the next to receive their marching orders.

Still, there must be a way to find balance. The reality is far too many of us have developed an unhealthy view of always being “on” and often the price is far too high and not realized until one aspect of our lives crashes. It’s a Pandora’s Box that once opened is difficult at best to close again. Fortunately, there are ways to find that balance. Psychologists are reporting increasingly higher numbers of patients who seek therapy in an effort to gain insight and tools to reclaim the simpler aspects of their lives that don’t include laptops and other electronic devices. It’s important to determine a worst case-scenario and then prepare for it as best we can. By allowing a therapist to provide guidance and perspective, it’s often one discovers that’s when real control over his life is gained. Stress is far easier to manage, family life improves and the uncertainties over employment and other pressures are reprioritized.

Once these shifts begin to occur, many discover the old adage of missing the forest for the trees has a ring of truth to it. By allowing the process to take its course, you just might be surprised to discover you’ve not charged your BlackBerry in days and that sense of being out of the loop doesn’t cause your heart to race as it did in the past. With sales in electronic gadgets at an all-time high, despite the recession, these advanced marvels simply don’t have to dictate our lives. If you’re concerned about your dependence on email, handheld devices, computers or any other electronic devices, you’re encouraged to speak with a trained therapist who can help you build a solid foundation that will not only get you to the other side, but will allow you to apply these strategies to every other aspect of your life.