What It Takes To Put Your Phone Away

Excerpt from this article in the New Yorker (which I say in case it eats into your allotment of free monthly articles):

Every week, it seems, a journalist will proclaim, on Twitter, that he is leaving Twitter, or will write an op-ed about how he’s stepping away from social media—a style of essay so common that it was parodied, last month, in the Wall Street Journal.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans have taken steps to distance themselves from Facebook. Entire families try to observe a “digital Sabbath.” Parents seek screen-time alternatives to the Jungian horrorscape that is children’s YouTube.

[Georgetown computer-science professor Cal Newport] defines a digital minimalist as someone who drops “low-quality activities like mindless phone swiping and halfhearted binge watching” in favor of high-value leisure activities such as board games, CrossFit, book clubs, and learning to “fix or build something every week.” The goal is a permanent change of outlook and behavior, like converting to veganism or Christianity, in service of a life that is more holistically productive—one in which we turn to digital technology only when it provides the most efficient method of serving a carefully considered personal aim. When you’re first learning to become a digital minimalist, it’s important, Newport explains, to keep doing stuff.

Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain

Excerpt from this article:

I’ve been a heavy phone user for my entire adult life. But sometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren’t helping. I tried various tricks to curb my usage, like deleting Twitter every weekend, turning my screen grayscale and installing app-blockers. But I always relapsed.

Eventually, in late December, I decided that enough was enough. I called Catherine Price, a science journalist and the author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” a 30-day guide to eliminating bad phone habits. And I begged her for help.

…Instead, her program focuses on addressing the root causes of phone addiction, including the emotional triggers that cause you to reach for your phone in the first place. The point isn’t to get you off the internet, or even off social media — you’re still allowed to use Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms on a desktop or laptop, and there’s no hard-and-fast time limit. It’s simply about unhooking your brain from the harmful routines it has adopted around this particular device, and hooking it to better things.

…For the rest of the week, I became acutely aware of the bizarre phone habits I’d developed. I noticed that I reach for my phone every time I brush my teeth or step outside the front door of my apartment building, and that, for some pathological reason, I always check my email during the three-second window between when I insert my credit card into a chip reader at a store and when the card is accepted.

The Unsettling Psychology of an Amazon Prime Addiction

Amazon_Addiction

Excerpt from this article:

“Holy shit,” he says in a moment of realization. “Amazon basically dominates my entire life. I even have the Echo, the Dot and the TV I just bought has Fire built in. I read all my books on a Kindle now.”

Luckily, he’s financially comfortable, so it’s not draining his bank account so that he can’t cover expenses. But he’s still ensnared in Amazon’s throes. “The only real negative is how lazy I am at breaking down Amazon boxes,” he says. “I have to walk them to the recycling bin in the alley behind my house, and that means being outside when it’s cold. I don’t enjoy that.”

Recently, he bought a black microwave that he definitely didn’t need. “I just didn’t like the look of a white microwave,” he says. “This was definitely $199 not well spent.”

Could You Make It Through Dinner Without Checking Your Phone?

Excerpt from this article:

The reason for the tech-free dinner? The cellphones were stashed in a small decorative box on their table, an initiative that Marco Canora, Hearth’s chef and owner, began in November to help customers disconnect from their devices for a little bit.

Some restaurants, partly from irritation when patrons take pictures of the food, place limits on cellphones in their dining rooms. Others, including in Chicago and San Antonio, have banned them entirely.

This photo of people taking photos haunts me

Excerpt from this article:

A music festival took place in London’s Finsbury Park this weekend, and the organizers, perhaps confusing me for a writer for Verge Magazine, sent me photos from the event. One of those images has stuck with me, haunted me, since I first saw it. The photo shows one half of the Rae Sremmurd duo mingling with excited fans… none of whom appear to be looking directly at him. A couple of faces in the crowd are looking at the camera taking the photo, and everyone else’s gaze seems fixed on their phones, trying to capture either photos or video of the rare occasion.

Stop Saying Technology is Causing Social Isolation

Excerpt from this article:

If you have used the internet in the last years (and I suspect you have), you have probably seen a picture on your Facebook feed or on your Tumblr dashboard or nearly everywhere pointing out, with a sense of superiority, how people are slaves of technology nowadays, always using their electronic devices in public.

My main premise is that I don’t think smartphones are isolating us, destroying our social lives or ruining interactions. I see smartphones as instruments for communication. Instruments that enable interaction on ways that just weren’t possible before, connecting us with people all around the world, via Twitter, instant messaging or other services. Some may say that if you want to interact with people, you should interact with the ones around you, and that is probably true on certain occasions. But, on other occasions, I’m just not able to comprehend why should we be forced to interact with those physically close to us instead of with the people that we really want to interact with.