I know it’s a little strange for a business selling phones and computers to be talking about reducing the amount of time we spend on screens, but hear me out.
As humans living in modern society, we spend increasingly more time on screens and on the internet. This is no secret, and it actually serves to make us far more efficient than we ever were before.
The problem with this is that we are increasingly targeted by tech companies who use our time on screens against us.
They work to distract us with addicting games and social media, coaxing us into spending more time on their platforms, giving them the dual benefit of cramming ads in our face while collecting more data that they can use to profit from our behaviour.
This increasing time spent on screens does not make us any happier; it only serves to distract us with hits of dopamine, which ultimately reduces our enjoyment of life away from the screen as our brains come to expect more excitement from each moment, while not being capable of paying attention for longer than 15 seconds.
As long as we continue to browse the web and scroll on social media like it’s a slot machine, subconsciously absorbing the ads and curated news articles that pop up, we will not get to decide for ourselves what’s important – an algorithm will decide for us.
The only way to reduce this assault on our senses is to reduce the input. That is, reduce the amount of messages that we are unwittingly exposed to by advertisers.
This can start by reducing the screen time you allow yourself each day, running an ad blocker, deleting social media accounts, and moving away from devices that collect your data for advertisers and bombard you with ads.
That last part is where we come in, the devices we sell do what they are meant to, and nothing more. The computer is a computer again, the smart phone is a phone again. They don’t collect any data on you for advertisers, they don’t generate profit from manipulating you into buying shit you don’t need, and they don’t show you any advertisements outside of the web browser.
Essentially, they get out of your way; they work exactly as you’d expect your computer or phone to work, but they start off with the minimum bloat, you add what you need as you go, rather than putting up with unnecessary apps that can’t be removed. This allows you to enjoy a device that is far less distracting than the devices we’ve grown to accept as normal.
In taking back our attention, we can start choosing what’s important to us, what we consume, and what we ignore. Don’t let your attention be hijacked by people trying to profit from your distraction or outrage. Be more critical about what you hear and see online, and try to spend some time away from the screen.