OC Emberton

Smash your smartphone habit

You silence your alarm, blink the fog from your eyes, and reach for your phone. Your fate is now sealed.

Welcome to The Loop.

The Loop is the series of apps you habitually load when you find a spare moment. Facebook. Twitter. Email. Instagram. You check each in turn, scrolling through updates like you’re panning for gold.

Apps are designed to snare your attention and staple your eyeballs to the screen. Your Facebook feed, for instance, is constantly learning what content you like. Have you ever wondered why you see more of some people than others? Ever noticed how better posts tend to be at the top? This is not a coincidence.

Your addiction is big business. In the industry, some of the smartest scientists and engineers are working explicitly on hooking your on their apps.

Look at some of their innovations: notifications, to keep you coming back. Infinite scrolling, so you never run out of stuff to explore. Personalisation, so you see things most exciting to you. Big data, so all your behaviour can be understood and refined.

Similar addictions have been built for years with television, but TV is a mild drug in comparison. TV can’t wake you in the night or reach you in the bathroom. TV can’t show you drunken photos of your ex or get you laid.

The greatest thing about smartphones is that they make everything always available. Unfortunately this also means that they make everything always available. Always having everything, I’ve found, can be quite distracting.

So here’s some ways to control your smartphone habit:

We’re still new at this, but the technology is only going to get more compelling. Maybe in 5 years we’ll be wearing it on our face. Best you start winning the battle now.

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