Ars Technica: Former Facebook manager: “We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook”. “Speaking to Congress today, the former Facebook manager first tasked with making the company make money did not mince words about his role. He told lawmakers that the company ‘took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset’ and arguing that his former employer has been hugely detrimental to society.”
Bustle: 7 Easy Ways To Detach Yourself From Social Media. “If you’ve been anywhere near the internet recently, you’ve likely — and somewhat ironically — seen your newsfeeds buzzing about the recent Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. The docu-drama examines our relationship with social media, featuring interviews with tech experts who have worked everywhere from Facebook to YouTube to Pinterest. Their message is clear: social media is having an increasingly damaging impact on humanity. If you feel like you’re becoming more and more addicted to social media, the documentary is a healthy reminder why it’s necessary to take a step back from scrolling every so often.”
USA Today: You might just be addicted: Smartphone use physically affects your brain, study says. “In a world that relies on people having smartphones – from work emails to cashless businesses – developing an addiction to your device is becoming increasingly difficult. While some think it’s only a mental issue, a new study suggests that this constant usage physically affects your brain the same way drug addiction does.”
Lifehacker: How To Hack Your Devices So They Don’t Work At Bedtime. “Sometimes, you need a little helping hand to tell you it’s time to go to bed. And since you’re going to ignore your loved ones and/or pets for just ‘one more turn’ in your favourite game or one more quick scan through that social media site you just looked at three minutes ago, here’s how to set up a helping digital hand to need to provide a little tough love, and get you offline and to bed on time.”
Lifehacker: How to Force Yourself Off Your Computer. “Whether we’re not paying attention or we just don’t want to deal with the world, we all have those moments when we realize … we’ve been on the computer all day. When this happens, you can beat yourself up for your lack of willpower (or sheer laziness), or you can turn to an application for help.”
Digital Trends: Google releases 3 more Android apps to help you spend less time on your phone. “Have you considered throwing your phone in an envelope to cut down on screen time? At least that’s what Google wants you to do with Envelope, one of the three experimental apps the company is releasing today. The new apps have emerged from the search engine giant’s Experiments With Google division and offer unorthodox solutions to help you spend less time staring at your phone.”
EurekAlert: Internet use reduces study skills in university students. “Two hundred and eighty-five university students, enrolled on a range of health-related degree courses, participated in the study. They were assessed for their use of digital technology, their study skills and motivation, anxiety, and loneliness. The study found a negative relationship between internet addiction and motivation to study. Students reporting more internet addiction also found it harder to organise their learning productively, and were more anxious about their upcoming tests. The study also found that internet addiction was associated with loneliness, and that this loneliness made study harder.”
Lifehacker: How to Curb Your Twitter Addiction. “Every year, for at least the past four years, I have resolved to spend less time on Twitter. This year, after trying and testing many different ways of avoiding the site (including an electric shock bracelet), I think I’ve finally got it figured out. If you also want to stay off Twitter this year, here’s what I’ve learned—and what I can recommend.”
The Conversation: A month at sea with no technology taught me how to steal my life back from my phone. “A survey this year revealed that Australians, on average, spend 10.2 hours a day with interactive digital technologies. And this figure goes up every year. This is time we don’t get back. And our analogue lives, which include everything not digital, shrink in direct proportion. I recently decided to spend four weeks at sea without access to my phone or the internet, and here’s what I learnt about myself, and the digital rat race I was caught in.” He spent four weeks at sea AND ONLY BROUGHT FOUR BOOKS. Forget the phone, that’s the scary part.
EurekAlert: New tool to assess digital addiction in children. “A new study developed and validated a tool for assessing children’s overall addiction to digital devices. The study, which found that more than 12% of children ages 9-12 years were at risk of addiction to digital devices for uses including video gaming, social media, and texting, is published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.”
BBC: Smartphone ‘addiction’: Young people ‘panicky’ when denied mobiles. “Almost a quarter of young people are so dependent on their smartphones that it becomes like an addiction, suggests research by psychiatrists. The study, from King’s College London, says such addictive behaviour means that people become ‘panicky’ or ‘upset’ if they are denied constant access.” Why am I suddenly thinking of the Ray Bradbury short story The Veldt? (That’s a PDF of the story, by the way, not a Web page.)
Google Blog: Find a balance with tech using Digital Wellbeing Experiments. “Today, in support of our efforts to extend our best practices to the community, we’re launching Digital Wellbeing Experiments—a platform to encourage designers and developers to build digital wellbeing into their products. Anyone can use the platform to share their ideas and experimental tools to help people find a better balance with technology. To kick it off, we created five helpful and even playful digital wellbeing experimental apps.”
New York Times: The Horrible Place Between the Apps. “Everyone has that one app. The one that mocks you from your home screen. The app that lures you to the folder where you’ve tried to hide it. The app you’ve signed out of and deleted — only to download again the next morning. The app you can’t quite quit.”
Wired: The Glorious, Almost-Disconnected Boredom of My Walk in Japan. “I have configured servers, written code, built web pages, helped design products used by millions of people. I am firmly in the camp that believes technology is generally bending the world in a positive direction. Yet, for me, Twitter foments neurosis, Facebook sadness, Google News a sense of foreboding. Instagram turns me covetous. All of them make me want to do it—whatever ‘it’ may be—for the likes, the comments. I can’t help but feel that I am the worst version of myself, being performative on a very short, very depressing timeline. A timeline of seconds.” This is a long read, but it’s a wonderful read. Please read it.
New York Times: Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain. “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.”