(ed: i call this the era of the tyranny of the handheld – a strange place in time – and i have largely managed to avoid this addiction (unlike others) – and i watch it/the addicts all around me with a faint air of puzzlement/bemusement/annoyance – and long for the technological advances that will free those addicted to the handheld-screen..
and will enable them to look up/around – again..)
There is something wrong with my phone and it is not just that the predictive text feature thinks I’m obsessed with ducks.
The real problem is that my phone is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at at night.
I come running when it makes a ‘ding’ noise. I think in tweets and look at meals and people and imagine them cropped into squares on Instagram.
There is something mentally totalitarian about it.
Smartphones are designed to addict us – nagging us with notifications – disrupting us with noise – making themselves indispensable.
Social media apps harness neuroscience to the same end – triggering dopamine hits that lock us into them for hours.
A terrifying new book – How to Break Up With Your Phone – says we are rewiring our brains so they are less organised for deep thought; killing our attention span – destroying our memory – sleep and happiness.
Phones have changed the world too; advertisers use them to hoover up our attention.
We are no longer just consumers but product.
As Ramsay Brown – co-founder of app-designers Dopamine Labs – has said: ‘You get to use [Facebook] for free because your eyeballs are what’s being sold there’.
The book aims to help us put our phones away.
It is a 30-day plan starting with baby steps – such as buying an alarm clock – then progressing to auto-text responses – changing the screen to greyscale and then – help! – an invitation to mindfulness.