Today, just over a decade since smartphones entered our lives, we’re beginning to suspect that their impact on our lives might not be entirely good. We feel busy but ineffective. Connected but lonely. The same technology that gives us freedom can also act like a leash—and the more tethered we become, the more it raises the question of who’s actually in control. The result is a paralyzing tension: We love our phones, but we often hate the way they make us feel. And no one seems to know what to do about it.
The problem isn’t smartphones themselves. The problem is our relationships with them. Smartphones have infiltrated our lives so quickly and so thoroughly that we have never stopped to think about what we actually want our relationships with them to look like—or what effects these relationships might be having on our lives.
In order to stick to our intentions, it’s essential to have a plan. Use these as a guideline, but I request that you come up with your own personalized descriptions for the following seven habits about how you interact with your phone and other wireless mobile devices. (Don’t be surprised if their effects spread into other areas of your life as well.)Read More
“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” Steve Jobs said in 2007, when he introduced the first iPhone. Eleven years later, the question isn’t whether he was right. It’s whether we like the way we’ve changed.
Today, the average American checks his or her phone 47 times a day — many more if they’re younger — and spends about four hours a day staring at its screen. That’s roughly a sixth of our total time alive. Given these numbers, it makes sense that there’s an increasing sense of concern over our relationships with our phones. In January, two of Apple’s biggest shareholders wrote an open letter to Apple requesting that the company provide “more choices and tools”that can help parents set limits on their children’s phone time. In the same month, Facebook announced that it had overhauled the algorithms behind its news feed, to put more emphasis on “meaningful interactions” — i.e., posts from friends and family members, rather than brands. And February saw the launch of the Center for Humane Technology, a coalition of former tech employees who are alarmed about the impact of the technologies they helped create.Read More
Would you, could you put your phone away even just for a day?
Just in time for the National Day of Unplugging (celebrated on both March 9 and 10), author Catherine Price shares tips from her new book, How to Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life (Ten Speed Press).
If you’re like most people, your phone is within arm’s reach of you right this very second (that is, if you’re not reading this article on it to begin with), and the mere mention of it is making you want to check something. Like the news. Or your texts. Or your email. Or your Instagram feed. Or, really, anything at all.
Go ahead and do it. And then come back to this page and notice how you feel. Are you calm? Focused? Present? Satisfied? Or are you feeling a little scattered and uneasy, vaguely stressed without really knowing why?Read More
Screen Time, part of the operating system that iPhone owners began downloading last week, represents the biggest move yet by a technology company to encourage less use of a device, not more. That’s a good thing: According to data from a time-tracking app called Moment, Americans spend on average four hours a day — a quarter of our waking lives — staring at their smartphones.
Screen Time, which is new with Apple’s iOS 12, automatically tracks how often you pick up your phone and how much time you spend on each app. It also allows you to set daily limits for time-sucks like social media, games, or streaming video. It’s a good start, but Apple could do more. A huge number of people need help creating better digital boundaries.Read More
Strategies for traveling without letting your phone keep you from enjoying your trip.
Now that summer is in full swing, a lot of people have been asking me the same question: How can you take your phone with you on vacation without letting your phone ruin your vacation?
It’s a modern quandary: Phones are obviously useful tools, especially when you’re on the road. But too often, a quick check turns into an hourlong scroll session. And if you’re going to spend your trip trolling Instagram or responding to emails, what’s the point of leaving home?
It might seem absurd to have to strategize how to set boundaries with your smartphone. But the reward — a vacation that feels like a vacation — is well worth the work. Here are some useful tips on how to use your phone on vacation, without letting it hijack your trip.Read More
[A]n increasing body of evidence suggests that the time we spend on our smartphones is interfering with our sleep, self-esteem, relationships, memory, attention spans, creativity, productivity and problem-solving and decision-making skills.
But there is another reason for us to rethink our relationships with our devices. By chronically raising levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, our phones may be threatening our health and shortening our lives.
Continue reading in the New York TimesRead More
The psychology of why you can’t look away — and how to do it anyway.
Pop quiz: On average, who do you spend more time thinking about?
A. Your best friend
B. Donald Trump
A. Your mother
B. Donald Trump
A. The person you love the most in the world
B. Donald Trump
If you answered all Bs, you’re in good company: America is obsessed with Donald Trump. With our smartphones as our enablers, we’re reading about, listening to, and discussing Trump from the moment we wake up in the morning until we lay our heads down at night. It’s an unhealthy relationship, and for the sake of ourselves and our country, it’s time for us to take back our lives.Read More
As the whirlwind of the holidays descends, you may find yourself wishing that you could slow down time. Here’s the thing: You can.
You just need to put down your cellphone.
I first discovered this myself a few years ago when, as an experiment, my husband and I took a 24-hour break from all our screens starting at sundown Friday. Saturday morning we accomplished more by 11 a.m. than we’d normally get done in an entire day. We cooked. We talked. We cleaned. We read. I practiced guitar. We played with our daughter. I felt like I’d unlocked a time-stretching superpower that I hadn’t known I possessed.Read More
You, like most people, probably use your phone too much. People spend an average of four hours a day staring at their handheld screen, according to the time-tracking app Moment, and that doesn’t include time spent using their phones to do other things, like listen to podcasts or take calls. Engage in any activity for that long and it changes your brain. Those changes may be positive if we are talking about, say, meditation. Less so if it’s time spent staring at your phone.
For the past three years, I have been conducting research and writing a book about our relationships with our phones. I’ve since concluded that phone time is affecting everything from our memories and attention spans to our creativity, productivity, relationships, stress levels, physical health, and sleep. In short, if you feel like your phone is changing you — and not always for the better — you’re not crazy. You’re right.Read More