Smartphones: Friend or Foe?
Smartphones play a vital role in our daily life. It made everything reachable through a touch, almost under a fingertip. No wonder for the most of us, the smartphone is the first thing we look at when we wake and also the last thing before going to sleep.
There are numerous reasons or advantages of why we need a smartphone. However, at the same time, there are also several reasons or disadvantages of having a smartphone.
There is a quote, “Excess of anything is not good”. I believe this is perfect in this case. Drinking of water is good for health, but in excess might cause serious health issues. Likewise, excessive use of a smartphone might eventually cause problems in our life, also with health issues.
In this article, I’ll mainly focus on how smartphones affect us other than creating health issues and what I did to avoid it.
Currently, for all, irrespective of age, smartphones are a significant source of distraction and distraction affects our productivity.
We receive around 15x notifications than the number of apps installed on our phone every day.
Referring to some of the stats I found online from various sources,
- 40% of web push notification senders belong to either the e-commerce or media, publishing & blogging sectors.
- Opt-in rates are much higher on Android devices (91.1%) than iOS (43.9%); users for the latter have to actively opt-in, while the former are automatically enrolled, says Accengage.
- 31% of users do not like to find push notifications helpful at all; only 18% always find them useful.
There are a few personal experiences I would like to share.
Food Delivery Apps:
Most of the times I laugh looking at the push notifications I receive from apps like Swiggy or Zomato. They have personalized their notifications so much that there’s a very high chance that the user will click on the push-notification.
Once I have ordered from the Zomato App in the afternoon. Next day, I received a notification, “You & Food > Raj & Simran ❤️” and a discount coupon code as CRAVINGS. It’s so much tempting that, even if I had no plans for ordering, now I have started looking for something to order.
It’s still ok with me if it would have that easy to CHOOSE and ORDER. However, no, that is impossible. They provide you with so many different options, offers, cuisines, and you waste much time by just surfing what to order.
These are the apps I seriously find deadly. Now and then you’ll be receiving news notification. Also, it makes us curious whenever our phone dings with a news notification.
Initially, when I installed an App, InShorts, I was feeling excellent and confident that I am always up-to-date with the latest news. They tell you the ‘what’ in 60 words. It was like 10–15 notifications with quality news a day. Later it started flooding with push-notification almost two every 30 minutes, and the topics were either random, some non-sense (at least for me) or repeat. However, the addiction made me always open the app as soon as I receive the notification.
In addition to these, I believe, nowadays, more negativity is spreading via news. I do not feel good after reading one. Its always about someone’s death, crime, rapes, terrorists, politics, which adds up a lot of negativity in our mind. There is some news, like those related to inventions, science and technology, achievements, which makes the reader feel good.
The list does not just end with these two types of Apps; it goes on, like Shopping Apps, OTT Apps, etc. It just goes on and on.
So what I can conclude from the above observations are, the smartphones hampers or affects my life in the following ways:
- Distract us from what we are doing, affecting our Productivity
- Wastage of time
- OTT Apps badly affects our routine. [Trending binge watch habits, lately]
- Unnecessary expenses on either food, or shopping or even buying app subscription
#What I Did?
I was recently reading a book on freedom, “What it takes to be Free” by Darius Foroux. In the book, the author describes what the factors affecting our freedom are, and this was one of them. He also mentioned a few things you can do to control this. I followed some them, though it was not easy at all. It took time, but after two weeks, I could myself feel how such a small step can create such a difference in my life.
- I un-installed all the Apps which I haven’t used for more than a month.
- I removed all the News apps. I started browsing news twice a day on my desktop.
- I disabled all the App notifications for Food Delivery Apps, e Commerece Apps, Travel Apps, Social Media Apps.
- Unsubscribed all the promotional emails I receive. This took me about 2 weeks and still continuing. There are a hell lot of such emails I receive very often.
- For the remaining applications, I have turned on a feature called “Deliver Quitely” available in my phone.
Many of you might be coming up with an argument that “if there is something urgent with someone, you might miss a text or WhatsApp notification from that person”.
I believe, if there is anything urgent, that person would call up rather than texting. You can do one thing, try to observe the Text or WhatsApp notification you receive from people for five days and then think, were they urgent? I am pretty much confident that your answer would be NO.
I used to say to myself, “How much time did I waste? I do not think its much” but when I discovered the actual screen time, I was even surprised.
According to the Screen Time App, I am wasting 10hours on an average EVERYDAY.
Now that’s kind of a big deal.
I started utilizing my time rather than wasting it by randomly surfing the web, refreshing the twitter feed multiple times, hoping something new might come up. Instead, I focused on my writing or reading a book, doing anything productive, which might help me grow in my life.
As I mentioned earlier, there are definitely a lot of positive aspects of having a smart phone, but EXCESS OF ANYTHING IS NOT GOOD.