每日英語跟讀 Ep.939: Help for Curing The Phone Addiction
Like pretty much everyone, Susan Butler stares at her smartphone too much. But unlike most everyone, she took action, buying a $195 ring from a company called Ringly, which promises to “let you put your phone away and your mind at ease.”
Ringly does this by connecting its rings to a smartphone filter so that users can silence Gmail or Facebook notifications while preserving crucial alerts, which cause the ring to light up or vibrate.
“Hopefully it will keep some distance between my phone and my hand,” said Ms. Butler, 27, a technology consultant who lives in Austin, Texas.
Given how quickly cellphones have taken over, it’s easy to forget that they are still a relatively new technology. The first iPhone came out eight years ago.
Yet already people spend close to three hours a day looking at a mobile screen – and that excludes the time they spend actually talking on the phones.
In a recent survey of smartphone use by Bank of America, about a third of respondents said they were “constantly” checking their smartphones, and a little more than two-thirds said that they went to bed with a smartphone by their side. New companies see a business opportunity in helping people cut back.
“Technology has evolved so quickly that we have spiraled out of control and nobody has stopped to think about how this is going to impact our lives,” said Kate Unsworth, the founder of a British company, Kovert, that also makes high-tech jewelry to filter out everything but the most urgent stuff.
Smartwatches like the Apple Watch are designed to encourage more glancing and less phone checking. In June, Google and Levi’s announced plans for a line of high-tech clothes that will allow people to do things like turn off a ringing phone by swiping their jacket cuff.
Offtime limits customers’ access to apps they overuse and produce charts on how much time they spend on their phones. Moment encourages people to share their phone use with friends to compete in a game of who can look at their phone the least. And Light Phone, a credit-card-size phone that does nothing but make and receive phone calls.
NoPhone is a $12 piece of plastic that looks like a smartphone but actually does nothing. “Most people don’t think about phone addiction as a real thing until you’re like, ‘O.K., they’re buying a piece of plastic because they are worried about their friend,’ ” said Van Gould, head of the nascent venture that had sold close to 3,200 NoPhones.
Adam Gazzaley, a neurologist and neuroscience professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “You have a population that is starting to say, ‘Wait, we love all this technology but there seems to be a cost – whether it’s my relationship or my work or my safety because I’m driving and texting.’ ”
Some products are trying to find a balance. Google Now uses data to bother you only when you need it. “If I’m about to forget my kid’s birthday I want the phone to scream at me until I do something about it,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products.
Smartphones are a potent delivery mechanism for two fundamental human impulses, according to Paul Atchley, a psychology professor at the University of Kansas: our quest to find new and interesting distractions, and our desire to feel that we have checked off a task.
“The brain gets literally rewired to switch – to constantly seek out novelty, which makes putting the phone down difficult,” he said.
Addiction or not, Ms. Butler still sought help from Ringly.
Mr. Atchley is skeptical. Successful treatment, he said, is about controlling our demons – not outsourcing them.
In technology, as in life, a little willpower goes a long way.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/282793/web/#2L-6186766L