I’d like to take the liberty to define a new psychological disorder: ITAD: Information & Technology Addition Disorder. If this condition doesn’t exist in modern psychology, I believe that maybe it should. Yes, it would just be another-perhaps useless-label on what is just a stream of consciousness; Nevertheless, for myself, I feel it would be helpful to have a label to highlight a condition that I see myself often falling into.
Easy, free, immediate access to vast amounts of information can be addictive. I meditate daily, and attempt to have some mindfulness and awareness of my actions. I notice that the more I use the internet the more my mindfulness slips away from me to be replaced by habitual desires to be entertained or informed. While reading a book I find it incredibly easy to be distracted, a thought will pop into my head and rather than let it go and get back to my reading, I’ll hop on the computer and look up the answer to my question. What is most interesting is that while on the computer, something else will catch my attention and I’ll start learning about that subject, this continues until some external event brings me back to the ‘real world’. Other times I’ll be bored, wanting to fill space, and I will habitually look up sites that I know will entertain me: nytimes.com Google news, youtube.com, technology sites, anything to feed the desire to be entertained or to get information.
The end result is that one looses one’s mindfulness, and rather than riding the horse, the horse is riding you. My current way of working with my case of ITAD is to take breaks. When there is a natural gap in my regular work on the computer, instead of filling the space with my habitual tendency to look up news (granted I write this during the 2008 presidential election new frenzy), I stop and look out the window, or get up and stretch. Another thing I’m working on is to not follow each and every distracting impulse. When I’m working on a task, stick to that task until it is complete. Let those thoughts go that call me to distraction again and again.
After a little internet research (!) I did find a definition of a similar condition called Internet Addiction Disorder. But it does seem to be focused toward people who are total internet junkies, rather than just technology addicted.