The device you’re reading this blog post on is a technical wonder. If it’s a computer, then it’s probably several huge leaps ahead of whatever you were using to log on to AOL with back in 1999. If it’s a smartphone, then it makes our Nokia phones from the 90s look like ancient relics dug up from the tombs of Egypt. Our devices can do more than ever before and it can be exhilarating. But, as many of us have found out, it can also be addicting.
The problem is, technology addiction is so new, it can be hard to diagnose. And if you find yourself needing help with a technology-related addiction, locating an appropriate center that specializes in this type of addiction can be tough. Which is why Hilarie Cash co-founded Restart Life, a rehabilitation center located in the outskirts of Seattle, Washington.
“[We’ve] seen this problem developing of internet addiction in youth for many years and there was no place that was really appropriate to send them for a higher level of care,” said Hilarie.
At Restart Life, members are encouraged to reconnect with the world and get back to their roots. Instead of being surrounded by screens, they’re surrounded by the lush green scenery of nature outside their windows. They’re taught how to garden, cook food for themselves and their friends, and how to physically take care of their bodies. It’s a back-to-basics approach that has helped many who have gone through the program.
So what, exactly, are some of the reasons as to why technology addiction has crept up on all of us?
“It’s everywhere. It’s easily accessible, it’s affordable,” explained Hilarie. “So any time there’s a life threat or a moment of boredom or a feeling of loneliness, or something painful - we have this immediate thing we can distract ourselves with that we’re carrying around in our hip pockets.”
As cell phones and computers became faster and cheaper, they also became more powerful, which tends to make them more fun to use...which also makes them more distracting, it seems. They’re like any tool; when used properly, you can benefit from it. When taken overboard or used as a crutch, it can cause problems.
Thankfully, people like Hilarie Cash are helping those of us who wish to ditch our digital distractions for a bit and reconnect to life around us. Turns out, there’s a lot of fun stuff happening out there in the world!