The irony of using tech to kick our addiction to, well, tech is not lost on anybody. As the nation becomes more and more entranced by the bright screens in our hands or the devices around our wrists, we will need the same spirit of innovation that created our current addictive behaviour to help break it and disconnect.
With the sum of human knowledge readily available from an internet browser on our phone, and all our friends and family just a few button presses away, a growing reliance on the technology and information we’ve become accustomed to is hardly a surprising turn of events. It is, after all, readily available and omnipresent. (That is until our battery dies and pure anxiety sets in!) But are we now addicted to our tech and is it an issue we should be more self-aware of?
The number of reports about the damage tech is doing to our health and general wellbeing is growing. We’ve started to wake up to the idea that maybe – just maybe – we, as a nation, are a little bit too invested in our personal tech. In response, innovators have provided us with a clever, if ironic, solution: more technology.
But is there really any harm in our tech consumption? Are we really suffering as a result of our obsession with connectedness? And exactly how can more tech help the situation?
Are We Too Addicted to Our Tech?
Before answering any of those questions, we must first look at the effect tech consumption is having on the world. Some of you reading this may have watched the video above, in which hapless pedestrians collide with street lamps, fountains, and even each other whilst they stare at their smartphones.
Aside from the embarrassment and device damage that accompanies these accidents, it all seems pretty harmless – until, that is, the advert reaches its climax. It’s then that we see the devastating effect of texting whilst driving. Tech addiction is putting our lives at risk, just as government campaigns have warned us.
Aside from the dangers of texting at the wheel or in other dangerous situations, there’s also the effect tech has on sleep. A good night’s sleep is an important part of maintaining good health and allowing the body to rest and repair, so to affect sleep is to affect our health as a whole.
Psychologist and sleep expert, Saj Devshi is an oft-quoted spokesperson against having devices in the bedroom. According to Devshi – as well as many of his peers in the medical community – the blue light emitted by devices is preventing your body from falling into its natural sleep cycle by disrupting melatonin production, damaging your sleep quality.
So perhaps our tech consumption is a little out of hand at the moment, and there are some very clear reasons why we should kick the habit. But how can we make that an easy and approachable task, with little chance of relapse? Well, there are a growing number of tools at our disposal to help us alter our habits.
An Unlikely Solution?
For centuries, where there’s been a problem, there’s been a flurry of creative innovation to provide a solution. Our technology addiction is no exception. Developers have created a series of apps and software upgrades which address both our relationship with technology, and the effects addiction has on our health.
Referring to sleep for example, apps such as Fl.ux and Twilight, as well as Apple’s later iPhone iterations, change your device’s screen hue from blue to red as the day progresses, easing the harshness of a smartphone’s light.
Apple have also been busy elsewhere, tackling the challenge of getting drivers to switch off from their smartphones whilst behind the wheel. To do this, the tech giant recently outlined a new ‘Do Not Disturb Whilst Driving’ feature, coming in September. As reported by the Financial Times, the setting will prevent any notifications from appearing on the screen whilst the user is driving – limiting distractions and hopefully lowering the risk of collisions as a result.
Finally – and something you can try as soon as you finish reading this article – new apps hope to break tech addiction by providing users with some sobering statistics around their device usage, whilst putting usage limitations in place.
For a boost in willpower and an insight into just how much you’re checking your phone, there’s Moment. The joy in Moment is that it helps users to re-think their relationship with their phone by setting daily usage limits, showing what apps are used the most, and providing reports on how day-to-day usage changes.
Going one step further is (OFFTIME), an app that works to encourage better remote working, increased focus on what matters in life, and a lot less chatter from other apps and devices. (OFFTIME) allows users to cut out the noise and focus on whatever is important to them – whether that’s work, family, or time alone.
Everything in Moderation
At a time when devices are more connected than ever, and we’re producing massive amounts of data daily simply by walking around every day, it can seem like an impossible task to separate yourself from technology. That’s not, however, what these innovations are attempting to do.
Instead, they’re aiming to help consumers and businesses to enjoy technology in moderation. We need to re-think how we interact with technology. If technology is the best way to do that, then let’s embrace the solution.
And if you’re reading this on your phone, you can start right away. Take a break and make yourself a cup of tea before you pick it back up again – you’ll thank me later.
When you’ve finished with your tea, head on over to our services section to find out more about how Kaleida can deliver the bespoke software development solution your business has been looking for. Got any questions? Feel free to get in touch.