Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Screen Time: Is it a harmonious passion or an obsessive passion? Take the quiz!

Because I am interested in the issue of screen dependence and internet addiction, I read almost everything that comes across my desk.  A few months ago, I devoured Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (2017) by New York Times bestselling author Adam Alter.  An expert in the field of addiction, Alter offers his readers a short quiz to assess their online(screen) usage. For today's blog, I invite you to take the quiz!

 Although it is sometimes a bit uncomfortable to assess our own behavior or that of our loved ones, it is important to know whether our screen-time falls into the category of....

a harmonious passion or an obsessive passion.

Here we go. Let's take the quiz!

Internet Addiction Test (Alter, p. 27)
Select the response that best represents the frequency of each behavior listed using the scale below.
0 = Not applicable
1 = Rarely
2 = Occasionally
3 = Frequently
4 = Often
5 = Always

1.  How often do you find that you stay online (or on any screen or games) longer than you intended?   _____
2.  How often do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend online (or on any screen or game)? _____
3. How often do you check your email, social networks, texts, etc. before you do something else that you need to do?  _____
4.  How often do you lose sleep because of late nighttime log-ins or screen-time or gaming?_____
5.  How often do you find yourself saying "just a few minutes" when online, playing games, or on any screen? _____

As I do with all my writings, it is important not only to inform you but to offer up support which will restore you. I'll give you the scores later in the blog along with some resources for moving forward in healthy ways.

I want you to know I understand how the words addiction and dependence can be worrisome; in fact, often times, they are very unsettling. However, becoming familiar with terms associated with behavior helps us to acknowledge our own levels of usage and their effects on our well-being as well as on our relationships. If we are ever going to make healthy changes, we first must acknowledge there is a need to do so.

Alter defines several terms associated with behavioral addiction while clarifying their important distinctions (Alter, pp. 20-21). 
  • Addiction: with addictive behavior, the reward the behavior brings initially eventually carries with it damaging consequences; a deep attachment to an experience that is harmful and difficult to do without 
  • Obsessions (thoughts)  and compulsions (behaviors):  thoughts and/or behaviors which are intensely unpleasant to "not" pursue; they promise relief (known as negative reinforcement)) but not the appealing rewards of consummated addiction 
  • Harmonious passions: healthy activities that people chose to do without strings attached; the activity occupies a significant but not an overwhelming space in the person's identity and is in harmony with other aspects of the person's life
  • Obsessive passions: behaviors which are unhealthy and sometimes dangerous; passions which are driven by a need that goes beyond simple enjoyment; they are likely to produce behavioral addictions; the passion controls the person; it eventually takes disproportionate space in the person's identity and causes conflict with other activities in the person's life 
Now, for your scores!

> 7 or below: no signs of addiction or dependence; a harmonious passion

> 8-12: suggests mild dependence but generally you are in control of your usage; a harmonious passion

> 13-20: indicates moderate addiction/dependence with usage causing occasional or frequent    problems; moving into an obsessive passion

> 21-25:suggests addiction or dependence and implies that the obsessive passion is causing "significant problems in your life" (Alter, p.27)

Because we live in a digital age where everyone is on their technology 24/7, it's hard to differentiate between what is a harmonious passion or what is an obsessive one. So, given the above definitions and the results from your quiz, you are the best judge! And, you are the one who decides to what degree you and your loved ones want to balance out your screen time with your face-to-face time!

Remember, it's not about banning technology.  It's about balancing it!

In 2010, when Steve Jobs was asked what his children thought of the new iPad, he responded,

"They haven't used it. We limit how much technology our children use at home."
(Kardaras, 2016, p.31)

In my work as a Marriage and Family therapist, I am most concerned about our "digital natives" and how best parents/guardians can navigate our tech-driven world. I have authored a new book which was just released! If you are looking for help - for your children, for you, and for your family - it's here!  It's concise and easy to implement!

Real Power Comes In Being Informed!

For additional support, check out a recent blog! Other amazing experts are here to help!

How To Tech-Protect Our Kids: Four Must Reads and an  APP

I also authored an empowering novel for tweens - teens with the purpose of helping them to discover their REAL POWER - their REAL WORTH!

      Another Way - a novel

Discover, Define, and Determine Your Real Worth!          

For more resources, please visit Holli Kenley, M.A., MFT
Like us on FB AuthorHolliKenley
Follow us on Twitter


Alter, Adam. (2017) Irresistible: The rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked. New York, New York: Penguin Press.

Kardaras, N. PhD. (2016). Glow kids: How screen addiction is hijacking our kids - and how to break the trance. (First ed.). New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. 

Featured Post

Protecting Our Youth Against Campus Sexual Assault: 3 Key Strategies

Today's blog is for mature audiences: ages 18 and over. Today's conversation is not an easy one to have, but it is critical.  Wha...