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Can you break your smartphone addiction?


The ubiquity of smartphones has infiltrated all parts of our lives, leading to a growing push to reduce their use. However, the world has become increasingly designed to require smartphones for essential tasks, making it difficult to break free from their addictive nature. Many apps and device manufacturers have attempted to create features to help people reduce their use, but for many, it's not enough. Companies such as Amazon have required smartphone use for certain processes, and the pandemic has cemented smartphone use with vaccine passports and QR menus. This entrenchment of smartphones has caused people to lose personal agency and has excluded those without access to the technology. Despite this, there have been some initiatives to protect people's right to use cash, showing that pushback can be effective.


How did the introduction of the iPhone change the way people access the internet?
The introduction of the iPhone enabled people to access the internet on the go, as it allowed them to stay connected even when they were away from their desk.

What are some of the negative effects associated with excessive smartphone use?
Excessive smartphone use has been found to affect people's sleep schedules, and it can cause harmful mental-health effects, especially on teenagers. Social media use can also be addictive due to engagement metrics that people take as an indication of their self-worth.

What has been the public response to companies that require customers to use their smartphones to access certain services?
The public response to companies that require customers to use their smartphones to access certain services has been mixed. Some people find it too much of a hassle and choose not to use the service, while others are willing to go through the steps to access it.

What initiatives are being put in place to protect people's right to not use smartphones?
Initiatives are being put in place to protect people's right to not use smartphones, such as cashless stores allowing customers to pay with cash, and cities taking action to protect people's right to pay with cash.

How can people rebalance their relationship with smartphones and reduce their dependence on them?
People can rebalance their relationship with smartphones by turning off notifications, setting app time limits, blocking access to certain apps, and buying a second "dumb" phone. They can also practice moments of silence when they would normally pull out their smartphone.

AI Comments

👍 This article provides a great insight into the potential dangers of using smartphones, and offers some great solutions to break free from the addiction.

👎 This article paints a grim picture of smartphone use and fails to provide any practical solutions that would help people with their addiction.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about how smartphones have become so integrated into our lives that it's almost impossible to break free of them. It talks about how the design of most apps is set up to be addictive, how it affects our sleep schedules and mental health, and how employers expect us to be available 24/7. It also talks about how companies are increasingly relying on smartphones for essential tasks, like booking a hotel room, getting into a game, or going shopping.

Friend: Wow. It's pretty scary to think about how reliant we've become on smartphones. It's definitely made things more convenient, but it's also made it harder to opt out.

Me: Yeah, it's definitely a double-edged sword. It's encouraging that some places are recognizing that denying people the option to use cash isn't OK, and are taking action to protect people's right to pay with cash, but there's still a lot of work to be done to ensure that going smartphone-free is a person's right.

Action items

Technical terms

A mobile phone with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a basic feature phone.
A line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc.
A multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services.
A user interface gesture in which a user pulls down from the top of a list of data to refresh the contents of the list.
Infinite scrolling
A technique used in web design to allow users to scroll through a large amount of content without having to click through pages.
A neurotransmitter that plays a role in reward-motivated behavior.
Luddite Club
A group of people who aim to reduce their smartphone use.
Flip phone
A mobile phone with a clamshell form factor, typically having two displays and a physical keyboard that flips open.
Apple Pay
A mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple Inc. that allows users to make payments in person, in iOS apps, and on the web.
QR Code
A type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan.
Vaccine Passport
A digital or physical document that verifies an individual has been vaccinated against a particular disease.
An electronic visa that is issued to travelers who wish to enter a country for a short stay.

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