Brice Bunner

Back slowly away from the phone… and learn to think again


Image ©: Medical News TodayPeople-watch sometime and you’ll see that our phones have us by the apps.

In fact, there has been article after article about how apps and flashy icons are specifically designed to dupe us into using these insidious devices. But more than just hijacking our time, it turns out they seem to be changing our brains for the worse. The truth, as this article shows, is that your phone is keeping you from being the best you can be. And it’s time for some action.

The trouble with technology and biology

Physiological problems, psychological problems, and emotional problems all come from not being cognizant of the long-term effects that come with using electronic devices.

Pounding out emails on the keyboard? Tough typing can damage your hands. Hold your phone just so? Hello elbow and wrist pain. Feel a little disappointed when no one likes your post? Social-Media depression is a thing. Even those of us who think we’ve got this under control have experienced “phantom ring syndrome” which is proof of just how far-gone most of us really are.

The amazing thing, however, to the permanent presence of the phone is that it’s like having another person in the room with you—even if it’s upside down on the table or in your pocket. Add to that the conspiracy that tech giants are always listening, and you’ve got a real impediment to your focus and higher cognitive performance.

You are never truly alone with our own thoughts
 so long as a smartphone is within reach.

Self-control starts with value

One of the more significant reasons we have been duped into this stilted psychological state by our devices is because we have lost sight of the value these devices have. Either because the costs keep going down (well, in most cases, anyway), or because they have become so ubiquitous, the majority of users see their devices as throw-away products.

In light of this oversight, the first step in controlling your own usage is to evaluate the value of these devices—both in what you receive from them, and in what they are worth. This gives you a more accurate base to work from.

For instance, when an app developer creates an algorithm that predicts depression just by how you scroll and text, you know the potential for these devices is vast. Armed with that knowledge, you might be inclined to use these devices for longer than the manufacturers’ recommendations because of the incredible power they hold—much of which remains largely untapped. 

In the same way that you appreciate the intrinsic value of these devices, you should also see the inherent power that lies just beyond those screens. In understanding this, you can have a more realistic relationship with your devices. This, in turn, should lead to a better control over using the device primarily and perhaps exclusively for the tasks you need. Take back control and leverage its use for something greater than compiling cat videos.

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