You are, no doubt, reading these words on a digital device of some sort. And it’s almost certainly the case that you landed here because you saw a link on another web page and clicked on it.
We are online a lot these days and that means we spend hours, perhaps many hours, immersed in a world of links, clicks, and the digital road taken. And taken. And taken. Until … we are lost, wondering why we didn’t download that homework or reading assignment, or write that lab report or term paper.
Whether one has recognized it or not, everyone has experienced “digital distraction” of this sort. What you might not know, however, is that the many of the designers of our online environments intentionally build in tricks and traps that promote distracted behavior, and they do this in order to turn us (that’s me and you) into digital addicts who can’t put our devices down.
There is good news, however. There is a movement – several movements, actually – that are fighting back and its getting publicized in national media. Here are some links to recent news articles and organizations that are working against digital addiction:*
- Modern Media Is a DoS Attack on Your Free Will: How the attention economy is subverting our decision-making and our democracy – S. Gallagher, Nautilus, 21 Sept 2017
- Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built – N. Bowles, NY Times, 4 Feb 2018
- A Call to Cut Back Online Addictions. Pitted Against Just One More Click. – E. Cochrane, NY Times, 4 Feb 2018
- Center for Humane Technology – read about the problem, and what you can do about it (more background on this organization at Time Well Spent – Wikipedia)
- Behavioral Addiction – AddictionHelp.com, 7 Mar 2023
* These resources are simply things that I have stumbled upon. They have not been reviewed by, or endorsed by, the College’s medical staff.