Friday, 13 May 2016 10:55

The 4 Reasons You’re Addicted To Technology


Nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet,” wrote Tony Schwartz in a recent essay in The New York Times. It’s a common complaint these days. A steady stream of similar headlines accuse the ‘Net and its offspring apps, social media sites and online games of addicting us to distraction.

There’s little doubt that nearly everyone who comes in contact with the Internet has difficulty disconnecting: People everywhere are glued to their devices.


Many of us, like Schwartz, struggle to stay focused on tasks that require more concentration than it takes to post a status update. As one person ironically put it in the comments section of Schwartz’s online article, “As I was reading this very excellent article, I stopped at least half a dozen times to check my email.”


There’s something different about this technology: It is both pervasive and persuasive. But who’s at fault for its overuse? To find solutions, it’s important to understand what we’re dealing with. There are four parties conspiring to keep you connected — and they may not be whom you’d expect.


The tech


The technologies themselves, and their makers, are the easiest suspects to blame for our dwindling attention spans. Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” wrote, “The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention.”


Online services like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Buzzfeed and the like are called out as masters of manipulation — making products so good, people can’t stop using them. After studying these products for several years, I wrote a book about how they do it. I learned it all starts with the business model.


Because these services rely on advertising revenue, the more frequently you use them, the more money they make. It’s no wonder these companies employ teams of people focused on engineering their services to be as engaging as possible. These products aren’t habit-forming by chance; it’s by design. They have an incentive to keep us hooked.



However, as good as these services are, there are simple steps we can take to keep them at bay. After all, we’re not injecting Instagram intravenously or freebasing Facebook. For example, we can change how often we receive the distracting notifications that trigger our compulsion to check.


According to Adam Marchick, CEO of mobile marketing company Kahuna, less than 15 percent of smartphone users ever bother to adjust their notification settings — meaning the remaining 85 percent of us default to the app makers’ every whim and ping. Google and Apple, who make the two dominant mobile operating systems, have made it far too difficult to adjust these settings, so it’s up to us to take steps to ensure we set these triggers to suit our own needs, not the needs of the app makers.



Your boss


While companies like Facebook harvest attention to generate revenue from advertisers, other more generic technologies have no such agenda. Take email, for example. No one company “owns” email, and the faceless protocol couldn’t care less how often you use it. Yet to many, email is the most habit-forming medium of all. We check email at all hours of the day, whenever we can — before meetings begin, waiting in line for lunch, at red lights, on the toilet — we’re obsessed. But why? Because that’s what the boss wants.


Near the top of the list of individuals responsible for your seeming addiction to technology is the person who pays you. For almost all white-collar jobs, email is the primary tool of corporate communication. A slow response to a message could hurt not only your reputation but also your livelihood.

Unfortunately, being chained to technology can leave little time for higher order thinking. Real work — requiring the kind of creativity and problem solving that only comes from uninterrupted focus — no longer happens in the office, it starts at home after the kids are put to bed.



Cal Newport, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, calls this sort of work “deep work.” In his book by the same name, Newport writes, “Deep work is to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task, and shallow work describes activities that are more logistical in nature, that don’t require intense concentration.” Playing email Ping-Pong with colleagues is shallow work.


Newport recommends people discuss the appropriate ratio of deep and shallow work with their employers. “Get your boss to actually try to commit to a vision like, ‘About 50% of your time should be unbroken and 50% should be doing these shallow tasks.’” Newport continues, “When they’re actually confronted with how much time you’re spending trying to produce real results with your skills, they have to start thinking, ‘Okay, we need to change some things.’”


Your friends


Think about this familiar scene. People gathered around a table, enjoying food and each other’s company. There’s laughter and a bit of light banter. Then, during a lull in the conversation, someone takes out their phone to check who knows what. Barely anyone notices and no one says a thing.

Now, imagine the same dinner, but instead of checking their phone, the person belches — loudly. Everyone notices. Unless the meal takes place in a fraternity house, the flagrant burp is considered bad manners. The impolite act violates the basic rules of etiquette.

One has to wonder: Why don’t we apply the same social norms to checking phones during meals, meetings and conversations as we do to other antisocial behaviors? Somehow, we accept it and say nothing when someone offends.



The reality is, taking one’s phone out at the wrong time is worse than belching because, unlike other peccadilloes, checking tech is contagious. Once one person looks at their phone, other people feel compelled to do the same, starting a churlish chain reaction. The more people are on their phones, the less people are talking, until, finally, you’re the only one left not reading email or checking Twitter.


From a societal perspective, phone checking is less like burping in public and more like another bad habit. Our phones are like cigarettes — something to do when we’re anxious, bored or when fidgety fingers need something to fiddle with. Seeing others enjoy a puff, or sneak a peek, is too tempting to resist, and soon everyone is doing it.

The technology, your boss and your friends all influence how often you find yourself using (or overusing) these gadgets. But there’s still someone who deserves scrutiny — the person holding the phone.




I have a confession. Even though I study habit-forming technology for a living, disconnecting is not easy for me. I’m online far more than I’d like. Like Schwartz and so many others, I often find myself distracted and off task. I wanted to know why, so I began self-monitoring to try to understand my behavior. That’s when I discovered an uncomfortable truth.


I use technology as an escape. When I’m doing something I’d rather not do, or when I am someplace I’d rather not be, I use my phone to port myself elsewhere. I found that this ability to instantly shift my attention was often a good thing, like when passing time on public transportation. But frequently my tech use was not so benign.



When I faced difficult work, like thinking through an article idea or editing the same draft for the hundredth time, for example, a more sinister screen would draw me in. I could easily escape discomfort, temporarily, by answering emails or browsing the web under the guise of so-called “research.” Though I desperately wanted to lay blame elsewhere, I finally had to admit that my bad habits had less to do with new-age technology and more to do with old-fashioned procrastination.


It’s easy to blame technology for being so distracting, but distraction is nothing new. Aristotle and Socrates debated the nature of “akrasia” — our tendency to do things against our interests. If we’re honest with ourselves, tech is just another way to occupy our time and minds. If we weren’t on our devices, we’d likely do something similarly unproductive.


Source: http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/04/the-4-reasons-youre-addicted-to-technology/


1 comment

  • Comment Link Joleen Tuesday, 08 October 2019 02:56 posted by Joleen

    How often a person have completd a task to the best of your ability but feel cheated if youve beedn not complimented?

    It is okay to admit. Or, have you asked yourself why it bothers yoou when you take steps ffor others, including family members
    no one botheers clearly thank you? Right, it is confession time.

    It is definitely aan eye opener to learn that you simply might be an approval junkie.
    Yes, you have unknowingly given others handle of you a high level approval hunter.
    Please know that it is never necessary to achieve
    acceptance of others for you to feel good about for yourself.

    Actually some very good people could evven overlook great
    news things accomplish simply simply because they're occupied living their ownn lives,as well as you.

    Each prospect that discovers what you have to offer will be at a different level of comfort in spending money using
    you. Working with a marketing funnel filled
    with products and services arrive at different price points gives you leverage supply something every and every qualified prospect thaat opens-up.

    One of my favorite things to explain nurses is the fact , everything
    wwe all do has an effect. It may be great or it might be
    bad but everything does possess a consequence. The patient or
    family who was treated rudely bby a nurse maay form thwir opinion for the entire organization based on a single confrontation. Somewhat harsh of the particular do that but everyone what involved with.
    Market research shows that probably 90% of peopple with nnot a good encounter will not
    complain to anyone on the inside organization. There is nothing will do is
    much more damaging and longer long term. After they leave
    you, they will inform their friends, co-workers and family how bad
    had been treated. Furthermore won't tell the story once or twice one.
    Every time ssome mentions that organization, that person will reate the
    story of the direction thgey felt from that workming

    The power of your words, whether external or internal, shapes your world and carries over inside your physical and emotional state of being.
    Your internal critic mayy be replaying those critical
    and condemning words you heard ass a daughter or son. These are the words you went to believce because other people were describing an individual you, and we ttend to tyink other people mofe than wwe believe ourselves
    - especially for a small child. You can learn to replace thes hurtul words with words of love and support for your self.

    We all have our unique solutions to life. Evenn though your internal guidance led youu for you to do something somme sort of way, and someone else ddid
    it differently, does not imply you were wrong.

    Justt means you're different. Society different viewpoints and creations in this world.
    Be prepared give the self-criticism and celebrate your uniqueness.
    Do not hung up on the "good opinion of others". Here's an effective
    quote that expresses the beauty of multitude.

    No matter the case just educate friends, make a reservation for one weekend
    from a fine beauty center and also you are as pzrt of your way.
    The sppa doesn't necessarily need in order to far abandoning your
    your own home. Just pick a basic place with
    quality services.

    It isn't fair, either to the other parent in order to the child to impose your conflicted emotions on him.

    We all have a to be able to meet society on our new terms. Hopefully, we can couunt on our parents to give
    us the tools we want to do it.

Leave a comment

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media