Remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when everyone got addicted to a holographic video game? It was a classic episode that brought up an interesting idea, could technology become as addictive as a drug?
Turns out it’s likely that it can, according to researchers from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences. Using data gathered from 69 college students during the two month study, they found that there is a connection between certain kinds of use of the Internet and addictive behavior.
The study concluded that 5 to 10 percent of all Internet users show web dependency, and that brain imaging shows similar brain reward pathways as in drug addiction. Scientists admitted that further research is needed to understand if other factors, such as mental disorders, influence those who show signs of excessive Internet usage (“Heavy Internet Use May Lead to Addictive Behaviors,” Voice of America at VoANews.com, December 26, 2013).
Any kind of addiction is a serious issue. With technology, always be sure to take a break once in a while. Determine if your use of the Internet, via smartphone or other device, is obscuring important areas of your life like outdoor activities, good health habits, relationships with family, friends, and, most especially, with God. If so, take steps to limit usage and regain balance.