Adults spend about 8 1/2 hours a day on the Internet, watching video, or using mobile gadgets, according to estimates from eMarketer. "The problem is that we get glued to our devices and forget we have a life offline," says Gary Small, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA. Don't let technology rule your life. Here's how to know if it's gone too far.
The Problems — Chronic multitasking
You multitask to accomplish more in less time, right? Yet an experiment at Stanford University revealed that heavy media multitaskers were less efficient than people who multitasked less often. They also had difficulty ignoring irrelevant information. "We become faster but also sloppier," Dr. Small says. Research also suggests that chronic stress from multitasking can make your brain's memory center more vulnerable to damage.
The Solutions — Live now
Don't snap a photo of every meal, or tweet about that concert while it's happening. "Consider enjoying a seminal experience fully before posting about it," says Daniel Sieberg, author ofThe Digital Diet. "There's always time to update your social network, but life is worth living in the moment first." Dr. Small suggests designating e-mail time in the morning so you don't sweat it all day. You can also use these 5 Steps to a More Productive Morning to accomplish more at work, too.
The Problems — Diminished social skills

The tech-addled brain "drifts away from fundamental social skills, such as reading facial expressions during conversation or grasping the emotional context of a subtle gesture," Dr. Small writes in his book iBrain.
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The Solutions — Find quiet

In iBrain, Dr. Small advises creating a quiet environment, even if it's only temporary, to ease anxiety. That may mean silencing gadgets, disabling alerts and alarms, or instituting a no-phone zone. "No charging the smartphone in the bedroom," Sieberg says. "Keep the room a sanctuary and you might even aid intimacy."
The Problems — "Techno-brain burnout"

People who work online for several hours nonstop report feeling spaced-out, fatigued, irritable, and distracted. Dr. Small calls this digital fog "techno-brain burnout." It causes your brain to alert your adrenal glands to secrete the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, this process can impair cognition and alter the neural circuitry in brain regions that control thought and mood. Sharpen your memory, boost creativity, and slay stress with these 27 Ways to Power Up Your Brain.
The Solutions — Fall asleep

In an experiment at Harvard, Sara Mednick, Ph.D., and her colleagues were able to reduce the negative impact of techno-brain burnout in volunteers by adding variety to mental tasks and by introducing strategic power naps--a reminder that "sleep mode" has advantages for human beings too.