Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 13th May 2018 11:15 UTC
Google

We know that our smartphones are making us unhappy. At its annual developer's conference this week, Google revealed that 70% of its users actually want help balancing their digital lives. What's not so clear is what the smartphone manufacturers of the world should do about it. After all, it's in their business interests to make their phones as engaging - or addictive - as possible.

Yet at I/O, Google introduced a clever and aggressive response to its own habit-forming products. It's a broad initiative called Digital Wellbeing that CEO Sundar Pichai says will ultimately affect every Google product. "It's clear that technology can be a powerful force, but it's equally clear that we can't just be wide-eyed about [it]," said Pichai on stage at Google's I/O conference. "We feel a deep sense of responsibility to get this right."

My cinical read on this is that since these are all optional features that will most likely be turned off by default, people will simply never turn them on, unless they themselves have a desire to lessen their smartphone use.

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Typo
by pmac on Sun 13th May 2018 13:03 UTC
pmac
Member since:
2009-07-08

Typo: cinical should be cynical.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 13th May 2018 14:45 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I notice two distinct groups of `heavy phone users`. The first group is addicted and has no interest or intention of altering their behavior. Their phone is simply the central point of their world. This group is easily the most pathetic in my opinion and short of a major life-changing event, they're a lost cause/hopeless.

The second group consists of people who are aware of their excessive phone use and would like to cut back but lack the self-motivation and discipline. They just need help. I think this group of people would take advantage of features that encourage limited-usage in the same way some people rely on health trackers to help them improve their behavior & habits.

What's less important is what these tools are set to by default, but that they are available to begin with. Addiction to phones and addiction to social media are two of the biggest cancers society is suffering from today and anything to help curb such a destructive force is welcomed as far as I'm concerned.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by cmost on Sun 13th May 2018 15:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

I couldn't agree with you more! I call your first group the cell phone zombies. They shamble aimlessly about (usually in the way) staring, hypnotized at their screens. A bomb could go off around them and they would probably not notice or care. These are the first ones to start video recording any fracas or accident or anything they think will go viral and get them more of their precious dopamine inducing 'likes'. You're right, totally pathetic.

I think it's great that Google is introducing easy-to-use tools for those people who would like to cut back on their cell phone use but end up getting sucked back in. I would notice if my screen suddenly turned grayscale as if to say "tsk tsk tsk, put it away now..." or if FaceBook's icon turned grayscale to remind someone that they've already checked it a thousand times that day. I wonder if Apple with "borrow" these features for an upcoming iOS update.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by shotsman on Sun 13th May 2018 16:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Smartphone users can become addicted to their devices. This is obvious. It is all around us right in plain sight for everyone to see.

How about removing their so called 'smartphones' (by surgery if needed /s) and give those addicts a dumb phone such as a Nokia 3310. They can call or text people and that's it.
No more Facebook etc.

Given time and some 'cold turkey' they would find that they could live without their phones just like we did 10+ years ago.

Too drastic? Then how about phone free days? weeks?
It isn't just Android users that get hooked so a solution is needed no matter what platform they use.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by WorknMan on Sun 13th May 2018 17:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Addiction to phones and addiction to social media are two of the biggest cancers society is suffering from today


I remember there was a blogger from one of the tech sites (ZDNet?) who felt that his addiction to the Internet was having a negative impact on his life, so he decided to go without Internet for a year. The end result was he just found other ways to waste his time that didn't involve the Internet, thereby discovering that, surprise, surprise... the Internet wasn't the problem after all.

So, smartphones and social media are really just the catalysts people use to distract themselves. Once you figure out what they're actually distracting themselves from, there you will find the solution to every addiction that currently exists.

Edited 2018-05-13 17:13 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 14th May 2018 04:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

That's true. In the absence of a persons usual go-to's or bad habits, they typically find new ones as a replacement. But, there's another layer to consider when we're talking about phones and social media -- that these platforms actually encourage bad behavior and have been altering peoples mentality and social competence in very negative ways. Studies have shown that people addicted to phones & social media tend to be more aggressive, more offensive, less compassionate, less considerate, and so on.

So, while removing or trying to better manage phone & social media usage may not address the root cause(s) of a persons addiction, it can start to address direct side effects resulting from the addiction.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Mon 14th May 2018 05:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Remember when TV was ruining our life and childhoods?

Reply Score: 5

Plato against books
by Fergy on Mon 14th May 2018 18:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

“If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.”

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by darknexus on Mon 14th May 2018 17:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Yeah, but it's another thing to blame instead of actually looking at what's wrong with themselves. So of course, it absolutely must be called an addiction, so that these poor fools don't feel so bad. Good grief, what a pathetic society we have become!

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by WorknMan on Mon 14th May 2018 20:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

it absolutely must be called an addiction, so that these poor fools don't feel so bad.


Oh, but it actually IS an addiction. A good litmus test for anything you think you might be addicted to - give it up for a week, and if withdrawals pop up, you're addicted.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by zima on Fri 18th May 2018 00:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Addiction to phones and addiction to social media are two of the biggest cancers society is suffering from today and anything to help curb such a destructive force is welcomed as far as I'm concerned.

Aren't we all addicted to OSNews? ;)

Reply Score: 2