I Have a “1 Screen at a Time” Rule For Myself, and It’s a Game-Changer

Photographer: Paul KabataRestrictions: For editorial and internal use only. No advertising or print.Product Credits: Tibi Top, Amrapali Ring

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I can’t pinpoint the time I started watching TV while also scrolling through my phone, but I do remember the day I realised my double-screen habit had gotten a little out of hand. As I sat on the couch watching an episode of This Is Us, I found myself rewinding not once, not twice, but five (!) times because I’d been checking email and Twitter rather than paying attention.

At first, I thought, what’s the big deal? It’s fun to scroll through funny tweets about The Bachelor while I watch the show, and as a parent, I have limited time to myself, so why not multitask by moving through my DVR and my inbox at once? That’s just me being efficient! Well, here’s the thing: once I became aware of the two-screen habit, I couldn’t help but notice the negative effects. In splitting my attention between multiple tasks at once, I wasn’t giving anything my full attention. I’d walk away from a TV/texting/email/Twitter session feeling frazzled and unsure.

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Late-Night Tweeting Degrades Your Performance the Next Day

Late-night Twitter use social media

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A new study of NBA players reports that it does indeed: A player’s shooting accuracy declines if they were up late tweeting the night before a game.

“These findings may apply widely to other sports, and other cognitive and behavioral outcomes,” writes a research team led by Jason Jones, an assistant professor of sociology at Stony Brook University. Nearly one-third of Americans don’t get the recommended seven-plus hours of sleep; these findings suggest the quality of their work may suffer as a result.

Kids are starting a revolution to get their parents to put down their phones

smartphone

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Like many seven-year-olds, Emil Rustige gets ticked off when his parents pay attention to their phones instead of him. But unlike other kids, Emil decided to take the issue to the streets.

With the help of his parents, Rustige organized a demonstration on Sept. 8th in his hometown of Hamburg, Germany, with 150 people joining him to encourage parents to put down their phones.

The slogan for the demonstration: ”Play with ME, not with your cell phones!”

How to Make This the Summer of Missing Out

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“To me, it’s about setting boundaries,” said Cara Wenig, 30, a sales rep and JOMO practitioner. “In my work, it is really important to respond quickly and to be on top of things so it’s not as if I can completely unplug. But I can be more mindful about it.”

Given JOMO’s Luddite bent, it’s (perhaps) surprising that the tech industry has recently come on board. This spring, Sundar Pichai, the C.E.O. of Google, took the stage at the company’s annual developer conference with the words “Joy of Missing Out” projected behind him.

Mr. Pichai was announcing a new “digital wellbeing” initiative that aims to encourage healthier tech habits via several tools, including a dashboard on its newest Android that shows you how much time you spend per app, suggested breaks from marathon sessions and batched notifications to avoid the update-every-second situation.

All of which means missing out can be a good thing. But how best to do it?

Mom Was Shamed For Staring at Her Phone in Post-Birth Photo – Her Snapback Is SO Good

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Unfortunately, though, mommy shamers were quick to pounce on the new mom of five.

Many judged her drink of choice, but most called her out for not being more present with her just-born baby. One commented sarcastically, “it’s important to check your phone right now.” Another wrote, “she’s obviously googling parental advice.”

Although most of the negative comments were deleted, her legion of fans stepped in, sharing not only that she earned that hard-fought soda but that there was likely a very good reason she was on her phone.

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting

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…emerging research suggests that a key problem remains underappreciated. It involves kids’ development, but it’s probably not what you think. More than screen-obsessed young children, we should be concerned about tuned-out parents.

Yes, parents now have more face time with their children than did almost any parents in history. Despite a dramatic increase in the percentage of women in the workforce, mothers today astoundingly spend more time caring for their children than mothers did in the 1960s. But the engagement between parent and child is increasingly low-quality, even ersatz. Parents are constantly present in their children’s lives physically, but they are less emotionally attuned. To be clear, I’m not unsympathetic to parents in this predicament. My own adult children like to joke that they wouldn’t have survived infancy if I’d had a smartphone in my clutches 25 years ago.

…Yet for all the talk about children’s screen time, surprisingly little attention is paid to screen use by parents themselves, who now suffer from what the technology expert Linda Stone more than 20 years ago called “continuous partial attention.” This condition is harming not just us, as Stone has argued; it is harming our children. The new parental-interaction style can interrupt an ancient emotional cueing system, whose hallmark is responsive communication, the basis of most human learning. We’re in uncharted territory.

Distraction is the New Censorship

Statues of men wearing headphones

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In today’s attention economy, ideas don’t need to be deleted or redacted to be silenced. They can be drowned out privately, screen by screen, by unchecked noise from decoy bots, doxxing campaigns, and filter bubbles.

In WIRED‘s Free Speech issue, Zeynep Tufekci describes how so many of the “most noble old ideas about free speech simply don’t compute in the age of social media.”