Everywhere you look, people are using their phone. You can be in a diner, at a park, at a baseball game or at a concert – it does not matter.
These tiny devices called smartphones have taken control of our attention. In order to reclaim our minds, it is important to understand what is happening.
Major tech giants such as Facebook are controlling everything we see in our social media feeds (Cooper, 2017).
Anderson Cooper did a news piece for CBS called, “What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care,” and in it, Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager said Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you addicted.
“This thing is a slot machine,” Harris said (Cooper, 2017). “Well every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, ‘What did I get?’ This is one way to hijack people’s minds and create a habit, to form a habit. What you do is you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward.”
While it may seem like they have the upper hand on us, a few people who have worked for these companies, like Harris, are looking into ways to raise awareness so that the companies do not get the best of us (Lewis, 2017).
Some people think a simple detox program that will cutback the use of social media and smartphones will get people to reclaim their time and thoughts, but unless they continue to live the lifestyle after the detox, they will jump right back into the social media fire (Kehe, 2018) – it happened to me and it has happened to others.
The difference with me is that I at least recognize how I am using these social media programs and my smartphone and know that I can regulate how much screen time I am giving these companies.
If you can gain control of your use, benefits are sure to be found. The benefits may include lower stress, less anxiety and overall better mental health (Gazzaley, A., & Rosen, L. D., 2018). For others, the benefits may be something as simple as having more time to do what they want.
At the end of the day, it is your time and you should be able to schedule it however you want and without distractions.
Who knows, if you end up getting your time back and eliminating the distractions, you may find yourself in a state of deep work, which will allow you to do whatever you put your mind to.
Cooper, A. (2017) What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care – CBS News. Retrieved September 04, 2019, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-hacking-tech-insiders-60-minutes/
Gazzaley, A., & Rosen, L. D. (2018) Remedies for the Distracted Mind – Behavioral Scientist. Retrieved from https://behavioralscientist.org/remedies-distracted-mind/
Lewis, P. (2017) ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia | Technology | The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/05/smartphone-addiction-silicon-valley-dystopia