Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Boston Globe's "Tech Nomad" Recognizes Screen Addiction + 3 types of solutions that aren't going to work

At some point there may be a backlash to this trend but for the moment, there is a rising recognition that as a society, we are overly dependent on our devices, and that what we're all suffering from is screen addition.

Screen addiction is something we discussed in our predictions for 2018, published in December 2017.

The Boston Globe's "Tech Nomad" columnist, Michael Andor Brodeur, recently wrote about this in a column entitled, "Hard Wired: Our smartphone habits are more like full-blown addictions. So how can we regain control?"

So we consider ourselves validated but that still means we're addicted.

 What's worse, Brodeur suggests that the proliferation of virtual assistants like Alexa presents another opportunity to become addicted to tech. And he's right about that.

So, what to do?

Brodeur cites other industry experts who suggest we should:
  • Simply switch your phone to grayscale. By muffling the ways your phone uses contrast, color, and, for lack of better phrasing, sparkly stuff to recruit your attention, the phone becomes less of a dazzling gem to gaze into, and more of a utilitarian brick.
Brodeur also mentions phone-free zones and Yondr, which provides a case in which you place your phone in spaces for artists, educators, organizations, etc. and the case, with a lock, prevents you from temporarily accessing your phone. Seems unnecessary. For all that, you could just agree to turn off your phone.

But the hard part is that so far in the articles we've read about phone addiction, we've come across three types of solutions:
  1. Rely on Apple and others to design smartphones that are less addicting.
  2. Ask Congress to find a way to regulate big tech to reduce distractions.
  3. Identify lifehacks (as in the bullet above) to weaken your addiction.
Of the three, the most likely to happen is #3. But we're open to suggestions. One of us goes on a Facebook hiatus for a week at a time, and combined with the decision to stop checking whenever an alert lights up his phone, finds himself less tense and anxious. But in our business, you can't go cold turkey on news and social media. Which doesn't mean we can't try to break the addiction, just that find ways to scale back and find a better balance.

Suggestions? Send them our way!

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