I think we might all be guilty of this to some degree. The more we use smartphones, the dumber we become as a society.
Research 1 has found that having a smartphone physically nearby, actually causes us to perform worse on tasks than those who’s smartphones were in another room. In other words, the mere presence of your smartphone reduces your cognitive capacity even if you’re not conscious of the affect.
Who’s actually surprised?
Smartphones are the biggest source of ‘attention pollution’
While smartphones provide us with convenience like the ability to connect with people by voice as well as video, they also facilitate the development of bad habits like procrastination and inattentiveness.
Whether we want to admit it or not, smartphones are the biggest source of attention pollution. Whether you check it or not, push notifications are there to remind us of who’s sent a message, email, liked our latest Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest post. We get these notifications at all hours of the day and night as a foghorn that also flashes, making it difficult to complete any kind of task without interruption, compared to years ago when we didn’t have these devices.
We have “Digital FOMO”
Even without any notifications to nudge us, we never forget to check our phones, thanks to FOMO or the fear of missing out. This is when we feel that sense of anxiety because we think we need to be up to date on the latest news or posts especially on social media, and it causes us to mindlessly check our smartphones.
The problem with Digital FOMO is that we’re afraid that we’re missing out on things that frankly have nothing to do with us, and in the not-so-grand scheme, really don’t matter. Our lives won’t change if we don’t log into Facebook 122 times a day.
This preoccupation with FOMO is however, causing us to miss out on the things in life that actually do matter. We waste copious amounts of time ‘scrolling’, time that could and should be spent bettering our own lives, and widening our own knowledge on any number of things.
How not to let your smart phone turn you into a dummy
We can’t avoid using our smartphones altogether, but there are ways we can avoid our smartphones turning into “dumb phones”. Let’s start with baby steps; when we’re in the company of others, who’s company we’re supposed to be enjoying, resist the urge to check the damn phone every 6 seconds. Our parents taught us that any kind of distraction when we’re with others is just rude, so let’s see if we can take that step first.
Next, let’s not sleep with the phone on or near the pillow. Research shows that “Smartphones and tablets disrupt sleep, in part, because they emit what’s known as “blue” light. This light is picked up by special cells behind our eyeballs, and it communicates to the brain that it’s morning”…
So let’s not indulge in FOMO before bed…yes? Baby steps!
The phone/iPad/laptop goes away 3 hours before bedtime. Okay…three hours sounds like it might be a bit much, so let’s go with 2 hours. Can you do that?
During the day, when you feel the urge to pick up, and check the phone…don’t. Resist the urge. For those who’re going to say “but how am I going to know what time it is?” Simple! WEAR A WATCH! Remember those?
As for the bedtime routine, grab an actual book, and read that. Try that for a week. See how it goes.
I’m going to try it too.