Anxious attachments with digital devices | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 19, 2019

Anxious attachments with digital devices

Attachments have various forms. However, the type which currently concerns us the most is the one introduced by British psychologist John Bowlby as ‘Anxious Attachments’. The idea suggests that humans are often anxiously involved to a point where they find themselves unable to function without their attachments being in close proximity. It is prudent to acknowledge that in this technological era, as everything has digitalised, so have our attachments. Consequently, the all-knowing connection that we have made with our devices runs so deep that even the thought of shifting into a new one makes you want to drop to your knees. Hence, whenever you do have to make a shift to a new device, you find yourself coping with some or all of the following coping mechanisms.


This is the all-forgiving blind stage where you overlook all signs that tell you to ditch your device and get a new one. No matter how deep the cracks on your screen are, you know the love you have for them runs far deeper and even if your device takes ages to get powered on, you find yourself willing to wait forever. In this stage, even the best of signs won’t be sufficient to convince you that you need a change resulting in you clinging to your broken devices, pretending it never broke.


Here, you come to the understanding that your device can’t be your support system anymore so you use the feeling of grief attached to the impending loss and turn it into anger. You start treating it recklessly to a point that you don’t even bother shutting it off properly after usage. To take it a step further, you find yourself slamming at it like a punching bag because it’s impossible for it to disappoint you more than it already has.


You will do anything and everything to keep your old devices, even if it means storing them up in a safe drawer as ‘sentimental souvenirs’, with no further use of it whatsoever. You may also successfully convince yourself that it’s a good idea to buy a cheaper alternative for your device (a Nokia 1100 phone for your iPhone 6) and use the new cheap one specifically for basic functions and the older one solely to soothe your clingy, hoarding self.


This is the acceptance kind of state where you have decided to let your device go, even if it means that the sheer act of draining their batteries would drain your soul of the happiness you once shared. You conjure up the courage to go to the store and give it away in exchange of a newer one, knowing full well that it would forever remain irreplaceable. After experiencing this gruesome goodbye, you start neglecting your new device at first, until one day all the memories get backed up and you finally start learning how to bond again.

All in all, as we continually keep drifting away from human interactions, we start grasping at these digital devices as a desperate attempt to maintain some form of attachment in our lives. Things turn south when the devices themselves start letting you down, forcing you to implement necessary changes. While your subconscious may function to do everything in its power to fight the change, you’ll soon find that the faster you embrace the change, the better. 


Veronica Gomes is a socially awkward sophomore. Feel free to trigger awkward encounters by reaching out to her at

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