I love MSU basketball and I watch nearly every game. I usually do it with my phone and twitter open, I like seeing what other people who care about the game have to say. It’s sort of like being able to watch it at home, but not having to watch it alone. If there’s a foul I don’t like or bad shot, many times I think to myself “that was crap” and I want to find others who agree with me. It’s kind of strange to say it like that, but it’s the truth. If I think there was a bad set run and someone on Twitter feels differently, most times I’m like “that dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Ah the internet.
Needless to say it’s a lot of phone time during a 2 or 3 hour game. And today, when the game was over, I moved on to doing something else and caught myself checking my phone 2 times within 30 seconds. There is no reason I need to check to see if a message has come in 30 seconds after I put that phone down! Why did I do that?
Well, first, there’s science around it, right? There’s science that says that every time your phone beeps or you get a message a small amount of dopamine is released. The same feeling you get when you do drugs. That’s kind of scary, right? And I guess it makes sense that it would happen a heavy amount right after I’ve been using it for 2 hours, the shit’s running through my system AND I JUST NEED MOAR.
So that leaves me with two questions; first, is this really bad? I’m going to address the question of grown ups, I think too much tech is bad for kids (although that data is still out). Our pleasure sensors are triggered by the results of using a phone, so like any drug, you can say we’re addicted to it if you can’t stop. But is that a bad thing? And before the immediate answer of “yes of course!” comes out, think deeply about what this means. Addiction is described as compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. Are there any adverse consequences to too much technology? I’m sure you can find certain instances where too much technology leads to porn which leads to a failed marriage or something. But the largest danger may be an inability to think for oneself, or to gain a sense of calmness. But one day soon computers being on and off won’t even be an option, so to use your phone too much now? Seems kind of small in the grand scheme of things. Some of use even attach our identity to how busy we are, and often times that is manifested in how active is our phone.
The second question is what would even do about it? How do you put that cat back in the box? Cutting back doesn’t seem to work for addiction, that’s been made clear by the evidence.
Would you fully turn your phone off if you knew you were dangerously addicted?