We live in a world of ever-contracting technology. The 52-inch big-screen television of yesterday has telescoped down into the tiny screen of an iPod, fitting into the palm of your hand. The endlessly possible has become the eminently portable. Being accessible acquires new meaning with a smartphone in your back pocket or an Apple Watch on your wrist. Staying connected becomes compulsory, and expectations take a quantum leap toward the tyrannical. Off-line has become a dirty word; unplugged, the new leprosy.
I am a true believer in harnessing the positives in technology. I’m a true believer, but I’m also a counselor and an addiction specialist, and some of what I see is deeply alarming. In my practice, I have seen that technology often negatively contributes to other diagnosed problems. I have also seen technology addiction as a stand-alone issue.
I want to communicate my concerns, but I also try to present a balanced, practical approach to using technology without losing control.
I am also a biblical believer, which helps me maintain balance and perspective on these matters. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Bible doesn’t apply to a digital world simply because it was written thousands of years ago on papyrus and animal skins. It does matter. God is not ignorant of technology; it is His world and His creation that make it possible. He is the ultimate filter of what we do with whatever new technological gadget or program that is here today, as well as those that will invariably pop up tomorrow.
And for all of that, I admit—I love this technology. It is the air I breathe. I tweet, and you can find me on Facebook. I have my Droid smartphone with me at all times. I live on my big computer (as opposed to my little Droid) hours every day. I have multiple monitors. I have multiple email accounts that forward to each other so I always get my messages, which are all synched to my phone. I own a Kindle and an iPad. I get this. I understand the pull—the excitement and sheer fun—of so much of what this technology can add to our lives. The promise and potential of all this stuff are staggering; the possibilities, functionally endless. That’s why it’s so easy to get swept away in a ride that takes you quickly to places where you truly don’t want to go—and to places you really do want to go but shouldn’t. If you’re not careful, what you start our controlling has a way of controlling you.
Technology will continue to change, but people tend to stay the same. What we react to changes, but how we react doesn’t. Each of us is bound by human nature. As counselors and therapists, we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge and information necessary to assist our patients and clients with establishing a healthy relationship with technology. This is why I created the book Hooked, and I often recommend technology detoxes for my clients.
In addition to helping your clients, it’s important to help yourself as well. As I mentioned earlier, I thoroughly enjoy technology. Consequently, I have needed to make a concerted effort to maintain a healthy balance in my own life. As a practitioner, it’s especially easy to lose equilibrium. I have been there; I understand first hand how this can feel. Which is why I created a Professional Health and Wellness course in conjunction with the AACC—to help you relax, recharge, and regain needed balance in your life.