Isn’t it ironic that there are apps designed to help us navigate our addiction to the digital world? Fight fire with fire, I guess.
Anyway, as mentioned in previous posts (here for instance), it is entirely impossible for me to use willpower or self-control to manage the time and energy I spend on mindless online activities.
The brain wants to avoid discomfort as much as possible so it will coax us back to the couch, our screens and comfort. In comparison to digital distractions, everything else seems to require far too much effort.
Most addictions are the result of individuals trying to escape the unappealing realities of life, be it pain, loss, emotional turmoil and suffering. Pretty much anything can become an addiction, including alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, and video games, if used excessively as a coping mechanism.
The widely accepted definition describes addiction as excessive use of drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, or as a reward to enjoy life, with the belief that you can’t cope without them.
Addiction has two basic qualities: you do more of the thing than you would like to, and you continue to do it despite its negative consequences.
In addition, at least three of the following criteria must be met to be diagnosed for addiction: tolerance, withdrawal,limited control, negative consequences, neglecting or postponing activities, significant time or energy spent, and the desire to cut down. Continue reading “Demonizing the tool(s) is scapegoating”→
Once upon a time, a high-school student tells a group of her peers and adults that she has deleted all her social media accounts for an unspecified period of time. She explains that she is spending too much time on social media, and comparing herself to people online.
Everyone nods in agreement relating to the side-effects she listed for her decision.
‘What do you do instead?!’ one peer asks, ludicrously.
We all laugh.
. . .
Most of us turn to our digital devices often because the alternative sucks.
When your phone buzzes or a notification pops up your screen, do you stop what you’re doing to look and respond? Do you have multiple devices constantly competing for your attention at all times? Do you find it hard to sit still for a bit without checking your phone or social media feeds? Have you been looking for ideas to unplug, without having to depend on sheer willpower followed by pure defeat?
If so, you can take the pledge to participate in this year’s National Day of Unplugging, a 24 hour global respite from technology. After taking the pledge, you can finally put all your electronic devices in a 16-digits-password-protected safe and throw it across the Atlantic ocean to finally have an uninterrupted board game night with your loved ones.
My introduction to the NoSurf community, ironically, happened as I was mindlessly browsing through Reddit, my favorite guilty pleasure, and stumbled upon the NoSurf subreddit, a community for people who want to become more productive by wasting less time mindlessly surfing the internet.
The NoSurf movement does not advocate for quitting the internet altogether. Instead, they advocate for cutting out negative internet use and mindless browsing.
After all, the internet and our digital devices are very valuable tools when used with purpose. I am forever in awe of the amount of information and knowledge available to me online, regarding any topic that might pique my interest, at a click of a button and within literal seconds.
That is indeed powerful.
However, our smartphones, social media accounts, streaming sites, and inboxes are intentionally designed to hijack our brain’s natural reward system, and our brain sees the internet as an easy pathway to trigger happy feelings.This hijacking is costing us our motivation and creativity, as we spend more and more time mindlessly browsing in a zombie-like state.
When your reward system is tuned to expect easy rewards from vicarious onscreen pleasures, why pursue difficult, messy real-world achievements?