Monday, June 15, 2020

Technology: The New Addiction

From a couple years ago at the USNI:
It is estimated that by the 1950s, 45 percent of adult Americans smoked tobacco. The percentage of smokers was much higher within the Sea Services, particularly during and immediately after World War II. Cancer was identified as one of the risks of smoking cigarettes by the 1960s, a public health campaign informed Americans of the risk, and today the number of adults who smoke is roughly 22 percent of men and 18 percent of women. With the available research, it is hard to fathom that smokers overlooked the consequences of tobacco use for so long—and continue to do so.2

Similarly, just as research has been conducted on the effects of tobacco usage, studies currently are being done on the power of addiction (to include internet addiction) and its ways of working throughout the human body. For addictive or intense personalities, some of the most seemingly innocuous pastimes may become detrimental.

Ownership of a smartphone is considered a necessity today. But the various associated gaming platforms and social media interfaces create a distraction that can lead to significant problems for users. Social media usage is growing in parallel with smartphone ownership in the United States, and it has become extremely prevalent, particularly with younger generations. The problem is not a single app, device, or game, but the amount of time users spend (or feel the need to spend) online.

A recent study suggested that 78 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 use the social media app Snapchat, with a sizable majority of users (71 percent) using the platform multiple times a day.3 While social media platforms are popular among sailors, other personal technology platforms such as YouTube, video games, and online pornography have similar statistics and are just as time consuming. While the experiences may seem harmless to the user, there are consequences. (Read more.)

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