Yogyakarta – Addiction is often linked to substance abuse as in drug addiction, but these days gadgets can also trap us in addiction. Dr. Neila Ramdhani, M.Si., M.Ed and Derajad S W, M.Si in Digitalk #22 talked about this emerging phenomenon with Center for Digital Studies on Thursday (25/10). The discussion focused on revealing digital and internet digital from psychological and social perspectives that happened in our society today especially in Indonesia. This problem is happening world-wide, yet not many people have come to realize it.
Neila, an expert in cyber-psychology, asked the audience to think whether their current habits with smartphones could be said as addiction. She gave several signs and form of digital addiction. She said digital and internet addiction was often overlapped, whereas digital addiction was not necessarily involved internet connection. In universities, the type of addiction has interfere with students’ focus span. “As many as 15 percent of college students report that internet use and computer games interfere with their academic performance,” she reported. Neila and her team have been doing research in cybertheraphy to cure digital addiction. She suggested individuals who tended to be smartphone-dependent started to find way to cope such as meditation/mindfulness, doing hobby or any other form of catharsis.
Digital addiction is interfering social interaction among families and communities.
From sociological perspective, digital addiction is a mediated interruption, meaning that the distractions is mediated and facilitated with ever-advancing technology; luring us into unstoppable obsession. Eventhough addiction is often linked to youth phenomenon, but Derajad said adults were also prone to similar problem. In severe cases, it is parents who introduce children to internet obsession, when they give gadget to babysit them while they are busy with their own smartphones. “Sociological perspective believes internet/digital obsession can lead to madness; that’s when people start to do illogical stuff to satisfy addiction,” said he. Anthony Gidden (2009) analogized digital addiction as riding juggernauts. There is no stopping the wave of technological progress carried out by technology giants who keep making innovation for money.
Then, what is the smallest thing we can do to help ourselves, family and community from internet addiction? Neila said, it started from the habit of stop, think and listen. Before mindlessly scrolling timeline, stop and ask yourself “why do I do this?” Then listen to people who encourage us to do positive and productive activities. Digital addiction can be stopped by being present to space and time and imposing firm self-discipline. “We should never forget progressing ourselves in the middle of progressing technology era,” Derajad closed the discussion.
Written by: Nabiila Nurfitri