Digital Diogenes syndrome: what is it and who has it?
Sixty percent of the users of the technology suffer what is known as the Digital Diogenes syndrome. But what is it and why is it? The Diogenes syndrome It causes that the people who suffer it tend to accumulate garbage in their house. Now, with new technologies, it fundamentally affects those who tend to accumulate a huge amount of digital garbage in their devices without eliminating them.
The digital garbage is everything that can be removed from our electronic devices such as photos, messages, gifs ... Approximately, Spaniards receive an average of 20 images a day through different groups of WhatsApp. By email, depending on the profession, a Spaniard can receive an average of 20 emails. The entry into force of the RGPD law will temporarily alleviate the arrival of SPAM, but currently WhatsApp, email, Facebook are the 3 main digital trash input channels.
The anxiety of digital Diogenes syndrome
The accumulation of a large amount of digital material in our electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, computers ...) ends up causing an anxiety situation when users are forced to eliminate it thinking that they may need it.
Those affected prefer to hire more space in the cloud or buy more storage devices (memory cards or hard drives) before deleting the files they do not use: photos, memes, videos, images, documents, emails, advertisements, offers, etc. This phenomenon has been defined as Digital Diogenes syndrome.
It is the updated and digital version of the modern Diogenes and it could be described as cooperative and excessive collection of any multimedia object: emails (including spam), documents, videos, photos, or images that are sent by messaging app: memes, posters, etc.
According to Verónica Rodriguez Orellana, director and therapist of Coaching Club, "the problem emerges and manifests when our behavior begins to change, giving way to obsession or when complications arise in the family or work environment if, for example, a cloud is shared at work or a computer at home. "
This increases the cases in which a child or relative has seen an image that was not on the phone of his mother or father, or families that accumulate space in the network spending money to store and store files they never see.
"There are WhatsApp groups in which users do not stop sending images of material that is found on the network: Memes, short videos, and other types of illustrations, this also happens on the computer when advertising is not stored and Promotional emails with the intention that at some point they will be used, the problem is that this is not the case and in the end garbage accumulates in digital format, which is difficult to get rid of ", explains Verónica Rodríguez Orellana.
The digital Diogenes syndrome is more reflected when, in spite of the obvious risks of overcoming storage or of family members or children seeing inappropriate information, the obsessive accumulator feels panic at the simple idea of erasing things, emptying the bin and putting order in order your phone.
Digital Diogenes can affect people of any age, any of the two sexes and belong to all types of socioeconomic class. This huge accumulation of data often produces a significant deterioration in the ability of people to concentrate, rest and relax.
Examples of Digital Diogenes
- Accumulate more than 2 identical photographs taken in succession
- Save fuzzy or wrong pictures
- Keep conversations of WhatsApp for more than 2 years
- Accumulate emails that lack meaning
- Store promotions, announcements, offers by email
- Save excess memes
- WhatsApp groups with more than 200 shared files
- Store hard drives with hundreds of movies you never see
Typical symptoms of Digital Diogenes
- They feel an insurmountable fear of needing the files later, photos or text messages that accumulate and to be able to lose them.
- They develop an emotional attachment with the excess of digital content, as if it were a living being: they are afraid to eliminate it because they feel it as their greatest treasure
- They are unable to make decisions about what is good for them and what not, it costs them to empty the email or the recycling bin.
- They find difficulties to manage their time, to organize, concentrate or execute your work fluently.
- They come to violence and / or anguish if they can not access their digital content immediately.
Tips to eliminate digital Diogenes syndrome
- Encourage the habit of using the recycling bin once a week.
- Put a limit to what you are willing to save and separate it by categories, no more than four: work, leisure, family and studies.
- Locate the trash can icon in a place visible to the desktop and start losing the fear of using it to get rid of all the digital trash.
- On the mobile: reflect on what you accumulate and use a single device to have everything organized.
Verónica Rodriguez Orellana, director and therapist of Coaching Club