How many times a day do you check your smartphone? How much time do you spend on messengers, social networks, mail, online shopping applications? Can you do without your smartphone while driving? When was the last time you talked to your child without being distracted by notifications?
Difficult questions. And the time of paradoxes. It seems that technology should make our life easier, unload it for creativity and communication. But in fact, it turns out that devices prevent us from living in peace. Digital addiction is not fictional but a real problem. It is proposed to solve it “wedge by wedge” – with the help of special applications.
We know that we are “sick”, but not ready to be radically “treated”
Google has done interesting research on digital addiction. Users in several countries of the world aged 18 to 65 years old, users of smartphones on Android and iOS platforms were surveyed. It was an in-depth interview about whether users need digital detox – to give up at least a short time from constant access to the Internet – and under what conditions they are ready to do it. It turned out that almost everyone needs a detox. But almost no one is ready to completely abandon devices. Only a few agree to undergo a detox, but only in certain situations (for example, while on vacation) and then – with the opportunity to return to the Network as needed. That is, conditionally: go to the beach without a smartphone, but know that when you return to your room, a device with access to mail and instant messengers will be waiting in the safe.
Why are we so attached to smartphones? Google researchers have identified several reasons.
Why can’t we live without gadgets?
- We want to be as productive as possible wherever we are. At the same time, have you noticed that you feel guilty when you spend your time aimlessly? For example, procrastinating on social media and YouTube instead of doing work tasks? Those surveyed by Google also admitted that they feel guilty when they realize that they spent much more time checking their social networks than they planned.
- We think we should urgently respond to the message. Modern people have a feeling that there is a kind of social contract that requires responding to messages as quickly as possible and at any time. Although, in reality, there is no agreement. But at the same time, we begin to worry even at the stage of sending a message: “how quickly will I receive an answer?” Conversely, when we receive a message, we feel the need to send a response as soon as possible. This “rather” can mean different values. For some, it is literally minutes, for others – hours. Most patients think that it is permissible to answer within 24 hours. These are all signs of digital addiction.
- We are not ready to give up mobile devices even during our holidays. If a person is left without a device due to the fact that he has forgotten at home / at work or lost, he plunges into serious stress: “without a phone as without hands!”
Most people are anxious that loved ones will lose them from sight. This problem can be partially solved by reporting that it is temporarily out of communication. But secondly, there is a “fear of missing out” (FOMO for short) – a person feels cut off from the virtual part of his life. For some, its value significantly exceeds the value of real life.
What to do?
Google experts recommend several tricks that will help, if not completely get rid of digital addiction, then at least achieve a balance.
- Optimize your mail and calendar. For example, in the mail, you can select the “Urgent” folder and set up notifications only for those letters that really require an immediate response.
- Take short breaks during your workday. After 50 minutes of work at the table, walk 10 minutes along the corridor, talk with colleagues on abstract topics. It is also useful to give rest to your eyes, look out the window at objects in the distance for a few minutes – you will soon notice that your eyes are less tired by the end of the day.
- Turn off social media notifications. Make it a rule to check them three times a day at specific times: for example, in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening. The rest of the time they shouldn’t bother you. The same goes for non-work messengers. Workers, on the other hand, turn off after the end of the working day until the beginning of the next. You must admit that not so often problems arise that must be resolved by all means at 11 pm instead of going to bed or communicating with loved ones.
- It’s corny but true: you need to learn to focus on the important and stop procrastinating.
- Give yourself the opportunity to completely disconnect from gadgets. For example, Sunday without devices is a great idea.
- Remove applications you are not using. Yes, just delete them! They have been “living” in your smartphone for months, or even years, without work, which means that you simply do not need them.
What programs will help you achieve balance?
To help those ripe for digital detoxification, Google engineers have developed a number of solutions in the fresh Android 9 Pie operating system, as well as special applications.
- Application usage tracker in Android 9 Pie – it shows how much time a user spends on social networks, interacts with mail and instant messengers. There is also a “Rest” function and “Do not disturb” mode, which allows you to group or completely block visual notifications and even calls that may not be critical to you, for example, at night. You can configure the black and white mode – it will turn on in the evening so that bright pictures, logos, and notifications do not force you to pick up your smartphone again and again.
- A good way to learn self-control and the ability to focus on a specific task is meditation. She does not need to specifically go to yoga and other practices. Headspace (Google Play, App Store), MindBall, Meditation for Beginners, Zenify will suffice.
- For YouTube lovers, restrictive functions have also appeared: you can set time limits on video viewing, adjust the frequency of push notifications, or collect them into a daily digest (or even disable them altogether).