Some people are hooked because of the technology itself, and some people are hooked because technology becomes a conduit through which they meet their emotional needs. Truly, the delivery system doesn’t matter. A few years ago it was email and chatrooms; now it’s Facebook. A couple of years ago it was talking on the phone; now it’s texting. Before, it was all about blogging; now it’s tweeting.
With the following questions, place your focus not on the technology itself but on what you personally get out of the technology:
- What are you doing online?
- How are you connecting to others?
- What is the content of that connection?
- Would you be willing for your spouse or members of your family to view all of your online activities and content?
- Relationships are formed through time – what relationships do you have online?
- What emotional needs are being met through these online relationships?
- How would you feel if you were unable to connect online for a day? A week? A month?
- How many nonfamily online relationships do you maintain?
- Of those relationships, how many do you keep strictly online – meaning you don’t talk or visit but only connect online?
- As you evaluate the content of your online relationships or activities, are there any that pose a threat or provide competition to your real-life relationships?
- Are you willing, within the next week, to modify, limit, or sever any online relationship or activity that poses such a threat?
- If so, what is your step-by-step action plan for doing that?
- If you’re not willing, what is holding you back? Be specific. Are you willing to seek professional help to overcome this barrier?
- Do you have a need to view pornographic content?
- Have you felt ashamed about your online pornographic use and tried to stop?
- What things do you tell yourself when you want to stop so that you can continue?
- What is the truth?
Swiss novelist and playwright Max Frisch once said, “Technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” Life cannot be arranged; it must be experienced. Life needs to be accepted and lived out in truth.
The grass may appear greener on the Internet, but it is virtual turf. It’s arranged; it isn’t real. People don’t always sally with perfect 140-bite rejoinders in real life. People post pictures and upload videos and create content that isn’t complete and isn’t fully accurate.
Written thoughts and feelings are low-bandwidth and don’t come with visual and audible context; you don’t get to see the look in the eye, the tilt of the head. You don’t get to hear the tone of voice, the snort, or the sigh. Even the most transparent of us have blind sides and unwitting opacity. Real connection is est conducted in real life.
The above is excerpted from chapter 6 in #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking by Dr. Gregory Jantz.