Do you own your device or does it own you?
With more than 49.5 percent of the global population now connected via the Internet, the exponential growth of portable technology has sparked fears of addiction. The adrenaline rush when your ringtone buzzes is inescapable and it is only a matter of time before life as you know it slips out of your bare hands, only to be enveloped by the vicious embrace of technology.
But before we jump down the rabbit hole of all things adverse about technology, there are some winners in this game as technology addicts face no problem staying connected with the rest of the world in real time; the fast pace of communication has aided business in this regard.
Video-conferencing using Face-time or Skype to recover time lost in traffic has only proven to be a boon in notoriously congested cities like Dhaka. Moreover, many hobbyists-turned-entrepreneurs continue to promote their new home businesses and ventures via online portals such as Facebook and Instragram.
There's also a possibility of making real money through being a tech addict. Avid Instagrammers with their eyes glued to the glowing screens face the opportunity to leverage the connections they create through unrelenting online posts accumulating millions of followers.
This can translate into big money by being engaged in affiliate advertisements and sponsored campaigns on social media. Usually, people with a strong social media presence can attract such companies to approach them, in which case a contract may be agreed upon.
Popular YouTubers may take advantage of their ever increasing followers by garnering attention on Snapchat and Instragram and actually earn money doing it.
Also gaining from tech addiction are students and academics who can avail the benefit of accessing full libraries online and downloading whole e-books for free.
Educational institutions are also opting to introduce virtual classrooms and innumerable courses on valuable degrees are already offered online which might just give you an extra competitive edge in the job market.
The compulsion to use technology and always staying connected can take a drastic turn for the worst before you know it. We all know the urge of an unopened message, the alluring rush of adding the perfect snap to your Snapchat story and losing yourself in a trance of an overwhelming video game.
These are precisely why phones, laptops and Xboxes have earned their title of 'digital drugs.' Such temptations make you lazy and unproductive, not to mention dependant.
The more imminent problems you may face, however, lie in the forms of invasions of privacy, harassment from anonymous users online and the underdog, spam messages which are basically phishing and malicious software in expert disguises.
However, the true damage of tech addiction can be witnessed in all its glory at social and family gatherings. You know you are addicted to technology when you have visibly lost touch with the real world.
Plugged in headphones at family dinners are the exact opposite of table manners. Similarly, hash-tagging Instagram posts at social gatherings makes for absent-minded conversations and awkward encounters.
Snapchatting and constant messaging can be put on hold as it is important to remember the person sitting across from you will not be there after an hour, unlike the unread texts and Snapchat filters.
These small, everyday urges are teaming up and translating into an addiction whose reins need to be pulled in before it's too late.
By Ramisa Haque
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed