Any addiction entails the impoverishment of the world of the addict; his life boils down to a choice for entertainment, a choice for relaxation, a choice for whatever: his drug. All other options are blurred, when not forgotten. Today, the omnipresence of our mobile devices and their acceptance as part of normalcy, facilitates a dangerous addiction. These “black mirrors” are by no means a minor drug, so it is essential to know the symptoms that reveal addiction, to prevent or treat it.
When should the use of a screen, be it a tablet or cell phone, be considered an addiction? A characteristic element is what I already mentioned: the dwarfing of the world. For the addict the whole world depends on his addiction and the rest of the life options cease to exist, his life is reduced to that one option. As with any addiction, without it life turns gray, so it is required and sought with anxiety. Without realizing it, the addict cloisters himself in the small world of the black screen and loses sight of other possibilities that could exist from the healthy use of a mobile device.
One might think that the same thing happens in any creative process: for the painter, only his painting exists; for the writer it is only important to pour her world of ideas on the blank paper. But there is a fundamental difference: he who creates emerges from his experience in an enriched way. In this sense, whoever creates, re-creates, transforms himself, grows, unfolds together with his creation. Addictions lack that creative process: they absorb the individual, without making him emerge stronger. In fact, they do not make it emerge, but sink it, keep it tied and with it, it ceases to be the owner of its vital processes to live under the tyranny of its iPad or cell phone.
We already have some indicative factors in which we must look to know if it is an addiction: to know if the use of the device is stealing time for other activities that used to be usual. Another factor to know is whether the user’s world has been impoverished or enriched by the use of the device. One more: we know that it is an addiction when, without the stimulus of the virtual world of the device, the real world turns gray. As if before the fiery and artificial colors of the screen, the world was dull and overshadowed by those hypnotic colors, paled. But at the same time, in those vivid artificial colors of the device, the one who pales is the addict, who becomes a depressed automaton who is only required to carry out mechanical actions: pressing buttons instead of thinking, pressing buttons instead of thinking. to create.
That is the world that was empowered when a triumphant Steve Jobs announced the possibility of having everything at hand in a single mobile device. As if all that were not enough, the great merchants of the cyber world have developed all kinds of games that generate dependency. Those games are all a kind of Sugar crush that do to the mind what sugar does to the body: a rewarding shock that, when repeated constantly, generates addiction.
That mobile devices are highly addictive screens would not be so serious if they were not available to everyone. The image of a restless baby that the mother distracts with a cell phone is already part of our daily lives. It is equivalent to a restless adolescent to whom a dealer It shows him drugs, only that it is more dangerous, because it is not censored and it is omnipresent and deadly to free thought.
The problem, of course, is not in the technology, but in its use. A kitchen knife can be used to create a delicate dish or to kill. A mobile device can open our world to new worlds or it can lock us in the darkness of dependency and addiction. The Aristotelian theory of the middle ground is relevant here: how do you know what is the moderate use, the middle ground in the use of a device? The proper use of a device is what leads the individual to excellence. It elevates you, it does not depress you; makes you active, not passive; it gives life to it, it does not take it away.
The more technology advances, the more pressing it will be to think about how to use it wisely.
Paulina Rivero Weber