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A Disease Of Fatal Distraction:

 

Imagine I was a patient and you’re the doctor. I come with you with what has been troubling me. “Doctor, I can’t seem to focus on finishing a book, I lose interest in movies a few minutes into them, and feel long conversations boring. I feel like I’m being drunk over my devices instead of choosing to live intentionally. Is that a problem, do you have a diagnosis for me?”

As a doctor, what you will tell me has to be off the record. That is because the World Health Organization hasn’t yet diagnosed “Fatal Distraction bought upon by Excessive Screen Dependence” as a clinical disorder.

Amy Blankson, an author who writes about distraction and productivity, tells on a podcast that the average person locks and unlocks his phone 150 times a day. That’s 2.5 hours in a day. 38 days a year spent on distraction, unlocking and locking our phones. Now imagine us to be all monkeys doing what this baby monkey is doing around the phone.

 

 

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I. Is Our Addiction Self-Inflicted? Not Really.

 

OK, jokes apart, what is happening in the world today in terms of us navigating our online and offline lives.

The truth about technology is that the online world is ubiquitous and perpetual. The other important truth about technology is that it is not our complete lack of self-discipline that is making us screen suckers.

The endless wall on our Facebook feed, the bottomless suggestions on Instagram and the next video on Netflix that’s recommended to you within a matter of seconds of you finishing up with one – are all there for a reason. To keep you hooked onto the blue glowing rectangular screen for as long as possible. But, based on the below scenarios that we are going to discuss, its upto you to decide whether Technology is enabling you or creating massive distractions in your life.

 

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II. What Does China Know?

 

Just in 2019, China’s National Press and Publication Administration had created rules around video gaming for China’s kids. Players under the age of 18 were not allowed to spend more than 90 minutes on weekdays and a total of 3 hours on weekends.

Less than 18 months later, in September of 2021, the limitations on how long minors can play online video games had gotten stricter. Now, they can’t indulge in online gaming at all on school days, and are restricted to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings.

What do the Chinese know about the harmful effects of gaming that we don’t know yet?

 

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III. Why Are Billionaire Parents Slow To Adapt Tech? 

 

For years we have been told to stay relevant with the 21st century by embracing technology. And so, we have been trying to follow the trajectory of the exponential growth all around us.

We’re creating memes when we are sad or happy. We are using technology to build our personal brands, build social capital, communicate and receive feedback instantly. We are creating memories online, using social media to be our change agent and showcase our voice and talent.

People are monetizing their passions or renting out their homes online to strangers to make passive income. The nature of work is changing, and a few of us are cheering that robots are taking away the monotonous work and leaving the creative work for humans.

Drones are dropping off Amazon packages at your front door. Digital menus now adorn restaurants. Algorithms are helping us buy and sell stocks and approve loans. Driverless cars and trucks are taking us and our things to our destinations. Precision medicine is the next big thing in health care.

JP Morgan recently did an experiment with AI and the results are frightening for those of us who want to stay employed in the long run. What took human associates 200,000 hours to process loan applications took minutes for a machine to accomplish.

Inspite of so many great things about technology, why do Billionaires choose to send their kids to schools that have no technology on campus. Do they know anything that we don’t know yet? Read more HERE.

 

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IV. We’re Customers Of BUMMER Platforms:

 

BUMMER is the new business model of social media companies. It stands for: “Behavior of Users Modified and Made into an Empire for Rent.”

Big Tech is running it’s machinery on a concept called the BUMMER method. It works on acquiring our attention by giving attention to the most obnoxious and unpleasant people on the internet. The word for it is pretty intuitive. It’s Asshole Supremacy.

Read more HERE.

 

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V. Still Not A Clinical Mental Health Disorder:

 

The different types of Screen Dependency / Excessive Internet Use Disorders are:

Work-Related Digital Addiction, Online Shopping Addiction, Relationship Addiction, Cybersex/Porn Addiction, Internet Gaming Addiction, Social Media Addiction, and Online Gambling Addiction.

Yet, only one of these above tech disorders is being recognized as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization.

“What Is Gaming Disorder?
Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Source: WHO. Chick HERE.

 

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VI. Our Attention Under Unprecedented Attack: 

 

Children, teen, men and women are all victims of the poverty of attention. Herbert Simon, the Nobel Prize winner for Economics in 1978 says, “What information consumes is the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Social media never gives kids privacy and makes them grow up too fast. It never allows for any downtime. It’s so ubiquitous, the space and time for a private thought has become really scarce.

Men are more susceptible to compulsive behavior with online/video gaming, cyberporn and online gambling, while women are more likely to become addicted to sexting, texting, social media, eBay and online shopping.
~ On technology addiction by Dr. Kimberly Young

 

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BONUS: Virtual Algorithms Are Ruling Our Real World:

 

If you look at the algorithms for Netflix or Amazon have, you might have noticed how their recommendations are based on analyzing our past behavior and the information they have collected about us. Google search results are also based on the highest payer for the particular search word or that trend. What is this if not blurred realism?

To prevent negative behaviors – like crime – technology relies on a simplified model of people, society and human motivation. Using big data, it is perpetuating stereotypes. The reality is that we cannot force “automatic human virtue” – moral codes cannot be imposed, because it makes people less likely to become upstanding citizens of the community.

To encourage good behavior, technology is gamifying the experience with rewards, and badges and coins etc etc. So the motivation to do good and be good is externalized which is very harmful in the long run.

 

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Building A Dystopia Just To Make People Click On Ads:

 

 

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About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

The Digital Literacy Project: Disrupting humanity's technology addiction habits one truth at a time.

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