Why We Can’t Put Our Phones Down:
Our brains are social organs, and we thrive on connection. What separates us from animals is our desire to belong, our desire to matter and to make an impact in the world. We see our identities in relation to how others perceive our presence and the extent to how much we matter in our communities.
Add technology which has connectivity in its DNA and we are immediately intrigued. Social media hacks this vulnerability with the promise of connection and an infinite network that makes it irresistible to our brains.
Just why are we addicted to Tech?
Here are two basic reasons.
1. Humans, unlike animals, are driven by this intrinsic desire to fit in with other humans to
have a sense of belonging.
2. Humans, unlike animals, like to have their beliefs and their understanding of the workings of the world validated.
These natural instincts, that Big Tech companies understand so well, are the reason why we’ve naturally adopted the roles of compulsive clickers and swipers.
Our Video Game Addictions:
There are four primary reasons.
1. Temporary Escape
2. They Are Social – Playing with strangers and friends
3. You See Constant Measurable Growth
4. They Give You Challenge and Purpose
Here’s Why Social Media Is So Addictive:
• It feels empowering and participatory.
• It feels like it enhances our expression of individuality.
• While TV makes us inert, social media makes us form our own opinions.
• It lets us speak our mind via opining on our (Facebook) walls.
• We can signal goods to show our standing in society. Just look at Kylie Jenner’s Instagram feed if you want to know what I mean.
• It meets the unsatisfying need of the endless scroll, unlike books that have a last page. Its designed to be addictive in the same way Netflix and YouTube have autoplay functionality in them. And how Snapchats have streaks to make people keep posting stories daily to maintain their streak.
• Young adults post sexually arousing selfies, making them part of the thirst trap excitement.
Read more HERE.
How Dopamine Addiction Works:
TVs are inert objects, they don’t give us a response to our stimulation. But a personal device like an iPad or an iPhone makes our relationship interactive. It makes us feel like we’re in control.
When we send out messages, write on our walls and post pictures with filters, we live in anticipation because of the promise of a response. And, that’s our stimuli. The reward circuits in our brain is programmed to thrive on that stimuli, which gives us a shot of dopamine (the feel good hormone) high whenever we see a notification, an alert or a beeping red light.
Understanding Down Regulation:
Down regulation is a phenomenon that occurs when there is a drop in dopamine receptors in the reward processing area of the brain.
This causes a decrease in our ability to feel pleasure, resulting in a need to seek more stimulation. And that keeps us scrolling endlessly, refreshing aimlessly to see if we can bring back some of those feel good hormones.
According to neuroscientist Claire Gillian of Cambridge University, behaviors can stimulate the same areas of the brain that drugs like heroin and cocaine stimulate – and this includes many behaviors that take place online, such as playing video games, engaging in sex chats and gambling. In all of these circumstances, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain, which in turn sets off a feeling of intense pleasure. But this initial pleasure gradually decreases when the behavior is repeated. This causes people to make the addiction worse by spending more and more time online, in a futile attempt to recapture that first great dopamine high.
~ From Irresistible by Adam Alter
Social Media And Selfies:
There are two platforms that offer us visibility and recognition that we crave. These two avenues gives us unlimited freedom to indulge in the concept that is core to our identity – us. And they are, Social media and selfies.
Big Tech will continue to thrive as long as we don’t realize this. They are engineering addiction by hiring attention engineers, neuroscientists and social psychologists to manipulate, persuade and capitalize on our eye balls and our attention to increase their bottom line.
Read more on the science behind social media and selfies HERE.
Say No To Tech Domination:
Being on(line) means – we must add value, always be available, be current and also flawless. While we perfect ourselves, we must also capture our journey on a public stage. We must belong in the world, in the big scheme of life. We must somehow matter.
And what more validation to that sentiment than a cell phone in our hands which seems to be in our control – after all, it sleeps only when you say so, doesn’t it?
Rapid feedback, the unpredictability of responses and notifications makes Tech very hard to resist. Where else would us get badges of pride for maintaining our daily streaks other than on Snapchat? Where else but on our smart phone can we find something even we don’t have anything to search for?
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About The Article Author:
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.
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.
Truth About Technology – A Digital Literacy Project
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