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Impatience. Webster defines it as a lack of patience or intolerance of, or irritability with anything that impedes or delays.
We all have it sometimes. If you’ve ever waited for an elevator and became impatient, what do you do? Press the button multiple times, thinking it will speed up the machine.
Sometimes we experience high speed impatience when our children don’t move quickly enough, or when spring doesn’t come soon enough, or traffic isn’t moving fast enough (for you commuters).
I blame all of this impatience on our technology. It is forcing us to be impatient. For those of you who use computers, how many have ever cursed your computer because it operated too slowly? Or your web browser loaded your page too slowly?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, exposure to technology may be slowly reshaping your personality. Some experts believe excessive use of the Internet, cell phones and other technologies can cause us to become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful and even more narcissistic.
I know at our house, we spend a lot of time with our devices, which makes me wonder sometimes if it is like an addiction.
Web sites like NetAddiction.com offer self-assessment tests to determine if technology has become a drug. Dr. Kimberly Young (no relation) has likened internet addiction to addictive syndromes similar to impulse-control disorders. She has also developed the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) to diagnose the disorder.
Meeting five of the following symptoms were considered necessary to be diagnosed.
1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a mood like feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression?
If you answered yes to those, there is help and hope. A few years ago I chaperoned a group high school students to the Boundary Waters. One requirement for the trip was to leave all technology in the car during the five days of canoeing and portaging. My first thought was how these “plugged in” teens would act after being “unplugged” for so long.
It turns out they survived! They conversed with one another and had a good time. It was a sight to behold, I really think they were relieved from the pressure of being plugged in.
So next time you curse your internet speed or listen to your kids’ frustration at the computer speed, tell them to turn off the machine, slow down, take a walk, or open a book. They’ll be glad they did. And so will you.