The phone controlled society

If you are like me, you probably spend most of your time swiping the screen of your phone. I have used an app QualityTime to measure the amount of time I have the screen on every 24 hours. Even when I am off to college for more than 8 hours, I still get more than 6-7 hours of daily usage. This only calculates the screen time let alone the hours I listen to music having my screen off.

Having about 5-6 hrs of sleep and 2-3 hrs for food and leisure time, I barely do any physical activity other than swiping my phone. The relationships I form over sending smilies lacks the material quality to the one that I would form one on one with someone.

This is what I would call phone addiction. Not something I would like to accept, but writing about it kind of makes me feel better.

Everywhere I look, almost everyone I see is a reflection. People walking through roads with their head bent down, people sitting on parks defeating the sole purpose it was built for, to meet new people and enjoy some free time just find more time to swipe their devices.

Every time I get a like, comment, share or a new message, I get a mini spike of excitement. This differential time of excitement is very addictive in nature. This is how almost all online social interaction entertainment websites work.

The consequence is a society that depends on screen time for their lifelong relationships.

Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, all three would rightly be categorized as biggest tech addict makers did not raise their child with access to HQ techs. In fact, all of them admitted that they limited their kids from accessing too much technology and raised them outdoors.

Let's take the structure of Facebook. As an insider from Facebook once said, Facebook is made with one thought process in mind, "how to make users stick around and come back". To achieve this, they had to give a dopamine boost to people and that came in the form of likes, comments, and shares.

I have experimented deactivating facebook for a month and it kind of worked, except I shouldn't have attempted to log back in. I have left all the groups I am in and unfollowed dozens of pages and accounts to restrict the amount of content I receive on my newsfeed. The result has been good, except now I am loaded with posts in the form of "suggestions", the quantity of content after 2 weeks became about the same and the contents are that I love to consume. They know very well what I would like to consume, right?

If Facebook is serious about giving users control about how much content they receive, they need to setup options on to block suggestions and promoted posts. So far that would probably result in the outright downfall of engagement on Facebook and hence their revenue.

This is not a case for Facebook alone, all the social media out there would work very similar to maximize their return on investment.

After Facebook, I use YouTube 46% of my screen on time is attributed to watching YouTube. I more or less watch educational videos and not celebrity gossips, so I am comfortable with that number. But taking a much deeper look at my consumption, I rarely use my knowledge. Most of the information and knowledge I gain from YouTube are easily forgettable because I do not apply them and I don't need to apply them to live my life.

So most of the information I consume there is largely a distraction. Although they are knowledgeable contents, they are not particularly useful and all these videos have millions of views, so I am not alone here.

I am not complaining about the creators of these sites or the contents, I am just saying a lot of our conscious time is being spent on the phone pretty much unconsciously and
that is something that we should be worried about.

On the plus side, I have been able to communicate faster, manage my projects, get to connect to my friends who are far away and know what's happening on the world around me, all thanks to the same technology. I am thankful for all the advances and simplification that these technologies have brought to my life. This is a trade, you can get faster and instant communication for your time. There is no value you can put on your time, but that's something every individual have to learn to manage themselves, not everything can be blamed on the corporates.