We’re addicted to gadgets

A PORT Macquarie counsellor has admitted he has noticed an increase in technology dependence.

Bert George has echoed recent national pleas about the need to limit children’s time using the latest gadgets.

He has counselled a number of people in the Hastings for technological addiction, and he has heard of others in his industry who have done the same.

He said those colleagues have also admitted to noticing an increase in the new age addiction.

Mr George said the controversial illness has stark parallels with other addictions like gambling and poker machines in particular.

He said addicts can see it as escapism.

“Some people tend not to socialise and become depressed about the situation they’re in,” he said. “They find it as an easy escape into their lounge room or bedroom.”

Mr George said the increased technological advancements such as the tablets and mobile phones were not the enemy.

“There’s a verse in the Bible that relates to it perfectly,” he said. “The love of money is the root of all evil. It’s the same thing with this, if it becomes a driving force or passion, it can drive a person into negative territory.

“Technology itself is neither good or bad, it’s the unhealthy preoccupation with it that’s the problem.”

He said it was up to parents to maintain a healthy balance for their children and technology.

“It comes down to good parenting and reopening the lines of communication,” he said. “For parents that find they are too busy or involved in work, it can be a role for the grandparents and a chance for them to reconnect.

“On a local scene, club’s and organisations provide outlets for release of natural energy.”

Mr George offered more tips on lowering the chance of becoming technologically dependent.

“Most counsellors would point to evidence of people that are getting caught up by this problem as getting younger in age,” he said. “It’s important to sit down and converse as a family at least three times a day for 30 minutes, a good guide would be for each meal.

“That’s the same amount of time each day that should be allocated to youngsters to use their gadgets.

Experts have expressed their concern at the increase in technology dependence.

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