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Technology Addiction is a Very Real, Very Scary Thing

Technology Addiction is a Very Real, Very Scary Thing

Technology has become essential to workplace functionality and personal productivity, but while the long hours spent glued to our tech during the workday are a necessity, the time we spend at home with our personal devices is definitely voluntary. However, more and more people - children especially - are finding it harder to let their devices power down.


This is the hallmark of technology addiction, or Internet addiction disorder (IAD). While it isn’t yet officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), IAD caught the attention of health professionals in the 1990s and 2013 saw the addition of Internet Use Gaming Disorder to the DSM-5.

What Makes IAD a Problem
Many of the features and trends that are widely taken for granted in applications today - autoplay, in-app purchases, and even notifications - are actually undermining our self-control. Instead of being able to set down the device and move on to something else, these tactics have made it so that we feel compelled to compulsively check these devices.

After all, you never know what you may miss if you don’t check right now.

Of course, needing to use technology for work and being addicted to technology are two very different things, but that doesn’t change the fact that children and adults alike have increasingly presented the warning signs of this addiction in their personal lives. That’s right - as much as the attachment to technology has stereotypically been framed as a young person’s problem, it can affect adults just as easily.

In a poll, 66 percent of parents felt that their teens were investing too much time into using their mobile device. No real surprise there, right? However, the same poll measured that 54 percent of children believed that their parents were checking their own devices too frequently as well.

Symptoms of IAD
IAD has a few warning signs and symptoms that present themselves in the behavior and mood of the person affected. Repeatedly checking for incoming text messages or updates and excessive social media use are common behaviors to keep an eye out for in your loved ones, and possibly in yourself.

Those afflicted with IAD also frequently feel euphoric while using their technology, and when they aren’t, often feel restless. IAD sufferers are prone to social withdrawal and experience diminished interest in activities not centered around a gadget. Some schools have even implemented technology fasts, where students have gone without their precious devices for a week. Teachers have noted that these students often exhibit physical symptoms of anxiety while their devices aren’t accessible. Students will reach for a device that isn’t there, all the while shaking and sweating.

How to Reduce Addictive Tactics
Above, we mentioned how many modern applications have features that encourage this kind of pervasive presence and dependence. To avoid these affects, it is probably best that these features are deactivated for non-essential applications.

Notifications are some of the biggest culprits of encouraging persistent use, so if the information isn’t essential to your professional or personal life, you don’t need an app trying to get your attention. Ask yourself: do you really need to be informed that your energy has been refilled in that mobile game you play more than you should? At the very least, using the mute notifications feature will help keep your attention from being pulled away when it shouldn’t be.

Many of the same apps that spam you with notifications are also the ones that encourage users to make those tempting in-app purchases that give the user an edge, or more frequently, extend the amount of time you can use the app before you have to wait again. This is most common in the free versions of these applications, so if you insist on using the app, it is more economical in the long run to just bite the bullet and pay for the app itself.

What piece of technology can you not bear to be without? Share it with us in the comments.

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Tech Term: Bandwidth

Tech Term: Bandwidth

Here’s a question we want you to take a second to consider...How much do you rely on the Internet? The answer for almost everyone is that it is essential to your current quality of life. Technologies have been developed, industries have been launched, and literally billions of people use it every day, making it one of the predominant inventions in human history. At the heart of this phenomenal technology is bandwidth.


The term bandwidth, in the context of the Internet, is the volume of information per unit of time that a transmission medium can handle. Simply put, the larger the bandwidth your connection has the faster the data can move through the medium. Bandwidth is measured in the amount of data transferred per second, specifically megabits per second (mostly written Mbps or Mb/s). Megabytes, written MB is not typically used in measuring bandwidth as a connection that is advertised as 15 MB is actually 1.875 Mbps since there are eight bits in every byte.

Most Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, will sell packages of a certain megabits, but if you really want to ascertain the bandwidth your computer is running on, your best bet is to use one of the numerous Internet speed test sites like the one at speedtest.net.

The best analogy, and the one that we’ll use, is that of plumbing. It’s said that data is to available bandwidth as water is to the size of a pipe. As bandwidth increases more data can be transferred through it, just as a larger pipe passes more water. Increasing bandwidth, or finding a larger pipe, will allow for even more data/water transfer. For the average user that only uses a couple of apps, a web browser, and doesn’t stream media, a small bandwidth connection will work fine. For tech-savvy families or very small businesses that have multiple devices connected to the Internet at once, they will find they will need more bandwidth to do the things they want to do seamlessly. Larger businesses will need enterprise-level bandwidth of multiple hundred Mbps.

Your Internet connection isn’t the only place where bandwidth comes into play. If you have a website, you will have to pay for a bandwidth level that is commensurate with the traffic and data interaction. In many cases, the more bandwidth you need, the more you will need to pay for hosting.

For more information about technology terms that confuse you, visit our blog, or contact our technology professionals at 800.394.2301.

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Tech Term: Cookies Defined

Tech Term: Cookies Defined

Chances are, if you’ve spent any amount of time around a computer, you’ve heard of browser cookies. What you may not have heard, is what these cookies do. For today’s Tech Term, we’ll explore what cookies are, and what they do.


What are Cookies?
A cookie is a sample of information that a website stores on a user’s computer in text format that only that particular website can access. This information, made up of name-value pairs, informs the website if you have ever visited before and allows it to personalize your experience as a user. These cookies are often removed once the browser window is closed down, but they can be designed to last longer.

Cookies are what enable a website to “remember” that you are logged in and allow you to change particular settings without them reverting back the next time you navigate to a new page. Furthermore, cookies can allow websites to remember your browsing tendencies and suggest things that might interest you, even if you haven’t logged in. This is especially apparent on ecommerce sites that offer you products that might interest you based on the products that you’ve viewed in the past.

Are Cookies Dangerous?
In a word, no. All these pieces of data are viewable only by the website that delivered them. This means that Website A can only see cookies that it has delivered, and its cookies are likewise hidden from Website B. As a result, if Website B was attempting some malicious activities, the information that Website A has stored is safe.

However, some cookies are used for purposes that may be unwelcome to some users. Have you ever been browsing for a particular item on Amazon, and then notice that the other websites you visit are displaying advertisements for related items? This is the result of an advertising cookie taking note of what you have demonstrated interest in, thereby allowing it to customize the advertisement to best fit your interests.

Clearing Cookies
Of course, you can remove the cookies that your browser has accumulated by using the Clear Private Data tool. However, this will also erase any saved login credentials that you do want websites to have saved. The majority of browsers have ways to workaround this by whitelisting some websites as trusted to save cookies.

Are there any other Tech Terms you’d like defined, or do you have more questions about cookies? Reach out to us at 800.394.2301 and let us know!

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Tech Term: Modems and Routers Defined

Tech Term: Modems and Routers Defined

The Internet is an amazing tool, only bolstered by our ability to access it wirelessly - but what do you know about the devices that allow us to access it, namely, modems and routers? Do you know what each does? For today’s tech term, we’ll dive into exactly that.

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How the Convenience of The Internet of Things Can Come Back to Bite Us

How the Convenience of The Internet of Things Can Come Back to Bite Us

While the Internet of Things has made many common tasks much easier through automation, it has also increased the potency of particular cybersecurity threats. For an excellent example, one only has to turn to the increasing prevalence of botnets that are powered by IoT technology.

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