Are you addicted to your smartphone? The answer may lie in the number of times you touch your phone daily. A research carried out in 2016 showed that we touch our phones at least 2617 times in a day. Another study published in December 2017 revealed that we reach out for our phones around 4,000 times a year for no apparent reason. We study stated that we compulsively and unnecessarily unlock our phones 28 times a day without obvious purpose. The survey also identified our most craved app unsurprisingly to be Facebook, followed by WhatsApp, Gmail and Instagram.
So how big of a deal is tech addiction? Well, it’s big enough for a group of ex-Facebook and Google workers to launch a campaign against their former employers.
The group called Centre for Humane Technology is led by Tristan Harris, former in-house ethicist at Google and it is campaigning to raise awareness of addiction to technology and its impact particularly on children and younger users. It is working to educate parents, students and teachers at 55,000 public schools in the US about its concerns.
These include depression, anxiety, stress, poor self-image and self-worth – all resulting from overuse of social media.
Mr Harris told New York Times: “we are on the inside, we know what the companies measure, we know how they talk and we know how the engineering works.
“The largest supercomputers in the world are inside of two companies – Google and Facebook – and where are the pointing them?
“We are pointing them at people’s brains, at children.”
It is not the first time a high-profile figure at a tech company is expressing concerns over tech products and social networks, especially with children. Apple CEO, Tim Cook said at an event in January: “I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things I won’t allow; I don’t want them on social network.”
Another former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiy said last year that social media was “destroying how society works,” adding that he felt “tremendous guilt” for what he helped create. He also suggested users take a break from social media altogether.
[Featured photo: TED.com]