Talking tech since 2003

Yesterday at Google I/O, Google announced a new set of features for Android P that are supposed to help you be less addicted to your smartphone. As I outlined in my post and tweets yesterday, I’m not really buying into it. To date, companies have continued to feed the beast leading many people to have what we now call “smartphone addiction.” And now, after years and years, of getting customers dependent and addicted to their technology, companies like Google making a [PR] attempt to battle addiction.

Let me explain why I don’t buy this effort by tech giants to battle smartphone addiction:

If we are to take the diagnosis/terminology of smartphone addiction on its face, simply providing controls that have be implemented and abided by the end-user doesn’t seem like a very good solution. For example, if someone is an alcoholic or a drug addict, they enter AA or rehab, in which, they are not allowed to have alcohol or do drugs. In addition, they take counseling and learn ways to avoid being tempted. But perhaps, most importantly of all, these people are taught to understand that even one drink or hit of heroin could lead to a relapse.

So I ask again, how do more apps that let you manage your existing app usage help in any real way? I don’t think it does, at least, in any meaningful way. If anything, it just adds more complexity to the situation.

The real solution to battling smartphone addiction is one companies like Google don’t want you to do: learning to put your phone down for extended periods of time.

Here are some tips and things I do to help limit my smartphone usage, hopefully they can be of help to you as well.

  1. Turn off all notification sounds. You can leave your ringer on, but definitely turn off sound notifications for text messages and any apps.
  2. Do not, I repeat, do not, bring your phone to bed (or even in the bedroom, if possible). I guarantee you will fall asleep quicker and sleep much better.
  3. If you have an iPhone, enable Night Shift. It will help start adjusting your eyes for bedtime and therefore make it easier to fall asleep once you’re in bed (again, without your phone).
  4. If you’re meeting a friend for lunch or something, keep your phone in your pocket/bag. Enjoy the conversation with your friend.

Perhaps ultimately we’ll make our way back to dumbphones at some point.

Do you have any thoughts or tips on the subject of smartphone addiction? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

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