Smartphones and social media are bad for us

Discussion in 'Self Improvement' started by 1978, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. 1978

    1978 Fapstronaut

    Smartphones are not smart, they are stupid. Walking around looking at a screen in your hand? It's got to the be the stupidest step in the evolution of communication technology.

    But it's smartphones PLUS social media that is the real problem. In any situation where people have to wait, they instantly whip out their smartphones to avoid anything other than to be with their own mind. This is really bad because creativity flourishes when we have time to let our minds drift.

    Also, constantly getting beeps and notifications for new messages gives us lots of frequent hits of dopamine, thus hijacking the brain's reward system and wrecking our attention spans.

    But worst of all, everything you see on Facebook is decided by an algorithm. And that algorithm's sole purpose is to maximise the time you spend on Facebook so that it can show you as many ads as possible and therefore earn as much money as possible for Facebook. And that algorithm has learned that the stuff that you interact with the most tends to be the stuff that annoys you the most. So Facebook has learned to show people stuff that annoys them.

    And we absolutely do not need Facebook. We really don't. There are other ways to communicate with people and arrange things. There are other ways to share things with the people we care about. Facebook didn't even exist until 15 years ago. It's so recent, yet it's taken over people's lives so much, it's scary really.

    Facebook is to our attention what cigarettes and alcohol are for our bodies. It does not provide anything for us that we actually need, we just get addicted and then it earns money for someone else.

    I've come and gone from Facebook multiple times over the years, but until about 2 years ago my last stretch of absence lasted for a significant number of years. And I didn't miss it at all, I didn't need it at all. I only rejoined it to use a business related group, and I now use it for a couple of other groups, but other than that I try to keep my use of it to a minimum. And probably about once a week I contemplate leaving Facebook again.

    As for smartphones, I put off getting one for as long as I could. I didn't get one until January 2018, and it was only because I started volunteering for my local town council to help with local footpaths, and I thought it would be useful to have something to take photos and make notes.

    But I refuse to have social media apps on my phone. I absolutely refuse. I have dating apps on there, but I'm tempted to remove them and just do online dating through the websites instead. I just don't think it's good to get notifications all day long. It's no good for us. We don't need it.

    I mainly use my phone as a personal organiser. I like the calendar app, and the camera, and the notes app.

    If, when you're out and about, you spend most of your time looking at your phone, something has gone very wrong.
  2. Same for me.
  3. properWood

    properWood Fapstronaut

    Same about using the phone for organisation (notes and lists I use a small notepad).

    Additional things:
    - most notifications have been deactivated (only calendar and special mail account allowed)
    - "do not disturb" between 6pm and 8am
    - "do not disturb while driving" also activated
    - always on silent without vibration

    I just came back from a 2 hour walk and I had no phone with me. So relaxing!
    Kiz Whalifa and 1978 like this.
  4. Fightyourlowerself

    Fightyourlowerself Fapstronaut

    Thanks for your post here, I think this is a really important issue.

    One of the really good points you make is the part about maximising your time. Every feature on there is designed that way including things like the unlimited scroll and the email updates you get daily if you don't log in. No I didn't miss 7 messages you just want me to log in!

    Like you I never install it on my phone and I rarely go on it now. I hope more people stop using it.
    1978 likes this.
  5. B_Max

    B_Max Fapstronaut

    Agree 100%. It could be argued that social media is just as bad for your mental health as porn. Not only do the algorithms show you contentious things that make you upset because that content keeps you on the platform longer, you also are constantly comparing yourself to your real friends' fake, curated lives that they post. That can make you as depressed as a PMO binge.

    I deleted all of my social media (not de-activated, deleted) about two years ago and I haven't looked back. Have I missed out on a few social events because people forgot to invite me? Probably. But it's really not a big deal. If you want to see your friends, text them and see them in person!

    And with smartphones, I go a step further. I make my phone as dumb as I can, while still being able to use it for my job as my company pays for it. No social media (duh), no web browser (really, you can do it), and no access to the app store which I block, so I can't download anything without a password that I don't have. It has completely killed my addiction to my phone as there is nothing addicting to look at.

    And there are still plenty of useful things I can use it for: work emails & messaging, maps, uber, mobile payments, weather, calendar, notes, meditation app, listening to podcasts/audio books. Oh, and calling people! If it weren't for my job, I'd get a flip phone.

    Give it a try for a week. Trust me, you will survive.
    LindaMoon, dwarfstruggles and 1978 like this.
  6. 1978

    1978 Fapstronaut

    Looks like a great setup you've got there!

    Exactly! I remember back to the days of my childhood when mobile phones didn't even exist for most people. I used to often go out exploring on my own without a phone.

    This is the thing. It's all be designed to hijack a person's attention and keep them coming back frequently throughout the day. And that is purely just to show as many ads to people as possible.

    I have heard some thinkers suggest that an age limit should be placed on social media just as it is with alcohol. So, no social media until you're 18. Because it seems to be especially damaging to young people. There is a strong correlation between the emergence of social media and a sharp rise in negative behaviours such as self harming.

    Any friend you lose touch with because you're not on social media is not a real friend. I can still remember the first time I quit Facebook in 2008, I sent a message to all my "friends" on there saying something like "If you want to stay in touch, send me an email at..." Only a few of them actually bothered to send me an email. For all the others I thought "Well f*** off then! You're not really friends of mine after all..."

    Sounds like a really awesome way to use your phone purely for your own benefit without any of the addictive stuff that wastes your time.

    Well, I had a "dumb phone" up until the beginning of 2018 and I got on just fine.

    I'm actually starting come back round to thinking that anything you lose by leaving Facebook isn't work keeping. I think the greatest trick social media and smartphone companies have pulled is managing to convince so many people that they can't live without it.
    dwarfstruggles and B_Max like this.
  7. B_Max

    B_Max Fapstronaut

    I think social media is a tricky thing for a lot of people because there is a really strong herd mentality around it and a lot of denial as well. In a surface-level conversation with someone they will probably say they enjoy [insert social media] and it helps them keep up with their friends/fam. But if you dig a little deeper, it's likely that they will admit they spend too much time on social media, they use it compulsively to fill any spare moment, and it doesn't really make them feel good. Most people know it's a net-negative, but they don't want to admit it. They see everyone else on it and if they quit they will fall off the edge of the earth or something. I bet a significant portion of people would love to quit if they saw enough others quit but everyone is afraid to make the first move.

    Not social media directly, but very telling: Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) wouldn't allow his kids to have iphones until they were 16 (i think). Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and many other tech CEO types are the same way. They know more than anyone what they've created and won't let their kids near it...
    1978 likes this.
  8. jarvyjarvison

    jarvyjarvison Fapstronaut

    I think is far more addictive than facebook. I can browse nofap and other forums for hours; I only use facebook as an IM client. Occasionally I'll check my news feed and watch the funny cat videos or whatever but generally what people post on facebook is pretty basic shit. Posts on have far more depth to them because we're anonymous and we can speak from our hearts. Facebook is very superficial.
  9. 1978

    1978 Fapstronaut

    Very true. I think it's a lot like alcohol in that way. I'm sure a lot of people feel that if they were to quit alcohol they would lose most of their social life. That may actually be true, but in my opinion it's not a social life worth keeping.

    One of the groups I am a member of on Facebook is an improv group that I take part in every Monday. It's also on, so I don't really need to use Facebook for it. But there is one regular attendee who is not on Facebook or Meetup but somehow she found out about the group and attends most weeks. And if there are any changes for example if it gets cancelled one week, people have her phone number and contact her privately to let her know. See? If people are genuinely your friends they will keep you involved.
    B_Max and dwarfstruggles like this.

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