Nova Scotia Journal

Geoff Johnson: It’s time to disconnect from digital distractions

digital distractions

Key Takeaways:

  • According to some experts, up to 10% of adults are addicted to social media, but the number may be higher.
  • Detoxing from habitual dependency, whether alcohol, nicotine, or a failed relationship, is problematic.

According to those who study this type of addiction, digital dependency falls into the same category. Some experts estimate that up to 10% of adults are addicted to social media; however, this figure could be higher given the prevalence of social media use in general.

So, how does a relatively harmless hobby become an “addiction”?

When a person views social networking sites as an essential coping mechanism to relieve stress, loneliness, or depression, it becomes problematic.

It gives them continuous rewards that they don’t get in real life, becoming increasingly reliant on the activity. As a result, the term “digital detox” is gathering steam in the mainstream anti-addiction community. A digital detox is when a person of any age abstains from using digital devices such as smartphones, computers, and social media platforms.

This type of detoxification has grown in popularity as people’s time spent on digital devices and the internet has increased.

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Along with a never-ending barrage of digitally available information (COP 26 and global warming) and an equally never-ending fog of toxic disinformation (the 2020 U.S. election), we can access important news (gasoline prices) and completely insignificant news (Britney is free!) multiple times per day. All of this wrapped up in many of the baseless, sometimes deliberately misleading, self-serving opinions.

Many Canadians believe that it has become too difficult to know who to believe and who to ignore at a time when reliable information is most needed.

It is not an easy world for our children to grow up in and assume living in a democracy. However, in 2021, there were approximately 31.76 million social-network users in Canada, with a projected increase to 38.18 million users in 2023.

The pandemic has pushed Canadians to find new ways to work, learn, socialize, and have fun.

Many Canadians turned to the internet to help them adapt to a new way of life as they faced these challenges. It linked us in all the ways it had previously, but even more so. As advertisers worldwide join one of the most significant boycotts in Facebook history, new data from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority suggests that Canadians are concerned about harassment and toxicity on social-media platforms.

Facebook, in particular, is named as the most toxic site by 41% of Canadians. The findings are included in Canada’s Internet Factbook, which provides a comprehensive look at Canadians’ internet usage and habits during the COVID-19 era.

As with other types of addictions, using social media can have a negative impact on an individual’s and the Jungian collective ­consciousness.

Source: Times Colonist

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