Smartphone Detox: How To Power Down In A Wired World
February 12, 20185:03 AM ET
says David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut:When we hear a ding or little ditty alerting us to a new text, email or Facebook post, cells in our brains likely release dopamine — one of the chemical transmitters in the brain’s reward circuitry. That dopamine makes us feel pleasure
“It’s a spectrum disorder,” says Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, who studies addiction. “There are mild, moderate and extreme forms.” And for many people, there’s no problem at all.
Signs you might be experiencing problematic use, Lembke says, include these:
- Interacting with the device keeps you up late or otherwise interferes with your sleep.
- It reduces the time you have to be with friends or family.
- It interferes with your ability to finish work or homework.
- It causes you to be rude, even subconsciously. “For instance,” Lembke asks, “are you in the middle of having a conversation with someone and just dropping down and scrolling through your phone?” That’s a bad sign.
- It’s squelching your creativity. “I think that’s really what people don’t realize with their smartphone usage,” Lembke says. “It can really deprive you of a kind of seamless flow of creative thought that generates from your own brain.”
Consider a digital detox one day a week
Tiffany Shlain, a San Francisco Bay Area filmmaker, and her family power down all their devices every Friday evening, for a 24-hour period.
“It’s something we look forward to each week,” Shlain says. She and her husband, Ken Goldberg, a professor in the field of robotics at the University of California, Berkeley, are very tech savvy.
A recent study of high school students, published in the journal Emotion, found that too much time spent on digital devices is linked to lower self-esteem and a decrease in well-being.
more on contemplative computing in this IMS blog