Technopathology and New 2.0 Illnesses

· October 18, 2018

Technopathology is a term that refers to mental, physical, and social disorders related to the abuse of technological devices. Let’s understand the context in which this technopathology is developing: the introduction of ICT (information and communications technology) in our day-to-day lives is spreading quickly and with great ease.

There’s no doubt that this has a positive influence on our well-being since it allows us to have services that weren’t possible not too long ago. There were extremely expensive and simply impossible to transport or would require an exaggerated amount of precious time.

Nowadays, we carry a seemingly essential device in the palm of our hand or in our pocket. It makes many tasks much easier, ranging from communicating with people in our inner circle to consulting the biggest encyclopedia on the planet. It allows us to look at a world map with a level of detail that would be impossible to replicate on paper or measure physically, see the calories we consume, and even remind ourselves to hydrate.

“Technology is always a two-edged sword. It will bring in many benefits, but also many disasters.”

-Alan Moore-


Woman with phone.

Technopathology: When the use of ICT becomes an addiction

What happens when we don’t know how to adequately manage the increasing amount of services technology offers? When do we go from taking advantage of technology to becoming its slave? Fortunately, most of the time we don’t have an addictive disorder. In other words, we don’t have a pathological dependency to ICT, but we need to be aware of its signs.

Technopathology refers to mental, physical, and social disorders related to the abuse of technologies.

Are we approaching a world full of technopathologies?

The abuse or inadequate use of technologies start to show negative consequences for the users and their environment. These are some of the warning signs that we must keep in mind when it comes to identifying a technology addiction:

  • The person needs more time connected to feel satisfied.
  • An inability to concentrate on day-to-day tasks, being interrupted by messages and emails, and the continued need to be connected.
  • An evident change in life habits due to an increased desire to be connected. If the person isn’t connected long or frequently enough, they could reach high levels of anxiety and stress.
  • Evidence of dissipated thought process influenced by an addictive behavior, consequently creating a downward spiral. In addition, some affectionate distortions may surface since people stop feeling certain emotions. They start to have difficulties identifying or interpreting feelings.
  • An abandonment of leisure activities or obligations. People look for excuses to stay connected for more and more time.
  • Self-deception situations related to time and frequency of connection. Confusion between virtual and real life, throwing off the concept of priorities.

Technopathologies affect couples.

Tips to help prevent technology addiction

If you’ve wondered whether you belong in the collective group of those “hooked” to technology, try to follow these recommendations to maintain a healthy digital life:

  • Set a specific time to use your cell phone and other technological devices. If you like playing video games, you could establish a maximum amount of time to play them. Likewise, you could reserve a specific time to return calls and messages.
  • Summarize your ideas and responses in one message. Think of what you’d like to express and try to summarize it in a single communication.
  • Set an applications limit. It’s better to only have installed the applications we use daily because, if we have too many, our phone becomes slower and we’ll spend more time on it.
  • Avoid social isolation due to technologies. Enjoy your leisure time and loved ones.
  • Respect other people’s time. Don’t call or answer the phone when you’re with others. Also, don’t put your phone on the table when you’re eating to avoid temptation.
  • Don’t let social networks hook you. Participate in groups that you consider essential and question whether it’s necessary to respond to every interaction.
  • Avoid devices that don’t allow you to rest or sleep correctly. Try to leave your devices in other rooms when you’re sleeping.

We can control it

We undoubtedly live in a society that’s deeply influenced by information and communication. In this regard, we must keep a balance so that technology doesn’t affect our enjoyment of the more important parts of life. Therefore, it’s in our hands to make technology an instrument for our quality of life and not something that can affect it in a negative way.

“The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.”

-Sydney J. Harris-