One of the most important things I've realised in the last few months is the idea that you can literally get addicted to almost anything. Drugs and alcohol are what most people think about when they think about addiction.But in reality, you can get addicted to anything that gives you short term pleasure . You can addicted to video games, to porn, to your phone, anything.
One such thing that really people really get affected by is the Internet. If there is one thing that was absolutely designed to be addictive from the get go, it's the Internet. Most of the money that's made on the Internet is made by people who can stand out in a crowd of similar looking apps that each want your attention. Once the user is acquired, the focus is on providing short term pleasure, often at the cost of long-term happiness and satisfaction, for as little effort as possible.
And I've been on the other side of it. I've made apps and website, and the entire time, the focus is on making the app stand out among the crowd. Everything from the icon to the description to the colour of buttons is designed with a single goal in mind - keep the user engaged, never allow them to leave.
The Internet is a Battle Royale for Addictive Products
You know those battle royale, "last man standing wins" games like PUBG and fortnite, or movies/books like The Hunger Games, where the last person to survive wins the game?
That's what the internet is like for software.
You compete with thousands of other apps. If you are not in the top 10, you get less than 0.01% of total attention and die out. If you are in the top 10, you get 90+% of all attention and win. Basically, it's a winner-takes-all system.
What this means, is that the apps/services that win(the ones that you likely use) probably used every single trick there is, including all the unethical,illegal ones, to get your attention and get you hooked into using them. They are at the absolute peak of "addictive-ness"
Billions upon billions of dollars are being spent to make software, imagery and advertisement that will make you addicted. Everyone's doing it. You see that header image? I selected that specifically because i thought that it would increase the chances of you clicking on this post.(and it looks like it has worked)
Combating Internet Addiction
So how do you stop this? I've been thinking about this, and I admit, while I've tried, I haven't been as successful as i hoped I would be. But anyway, these are some things that i found work for me:
1. Identify the specific apps/websites that you are addicted to, and block them
The internet is like food. You may get addicted to it, but unlike drug addiction, you can't completely abstain from it. Some amount of internet is totally normal, advantageous, in fact. Depending on your job, it may actually be necessary to use it.
But what you can do is specifically look at the things that you are hooked to, and restrict their usage. In my case, i'm specifically addicted to reddit and youtube. I can spend hours upon hours binge-reading/watching on any of the 2. So i use extensions to specifically block these 2 sites.
This can be difficult to practically do, because not all content on reddit or youtube is useless crap. In fact, some of it is quite useful. So maybe look into blocking more specific parts of these sites.
2. Stop reading the news online
I'm actually going to make an entire post on this topic, but this is also relevant when talking about internet addiction.
You may believe that it's important to read the news to "be informed about the world". But the fact is, most news companies are private organisations with an agenda, and their content is absolutely biased by that agenda.
One of the agendas that news channels/apps/websites have is to keep the user hooked and make him consume even more content. That's why the "check the headlines, 5 hours later still reading the news" thing happens.
And then you combine that with social media, a method of distribution where every single pixel is designed to make you stay for hours.
News + Internet is a toxic combination. It will only give you anxiety, tension, anger and a feeling of helplessness.
3. Block all notifications on your phone that aren't generated by actual people
Ideally, you should only get notifications when a real human wants to connect with you. Not when some app thinks that they want to connect with you.
The interesting thing about notifications is that they were made so that people wouldn't have to refresh their e-mail endlessly.So they could use their phone only when they needed them to. They were designed to reduce phone usage, and have instead increased it.
So block all app-generated notifications. They probably aren't that important.
4. Make your phone's screen grayscale
This is an interesting idea that i haven't tried yet, but seems very useful.
The idea is that colors are also one of the things that app developers use to make their apps more enticing. As an example, this is the reason why those chat bubbles on chat apps are red in colour. It's because red is more attention-grabbing than blue or green or anything else.
So the way to combat this is to make your phone's display colour to grayscale.
On android, this is where the setting is located:
Settings > Developer Options > Simulate Color Space > Select "Monochromacy"
(If you don't have Developer Options in the settings, go to About and tap the build number 7 times)
There's a setting on the iphone too, but i don't know where(because i don't use an iphone).
The reason i don't use this is that ultimately, you do need colour for some things like viewing images or taking photos. And having to disable that setting every time you need to view an image is annoying.
If you have any other tricks to combat internet addiction, please put them in the comments. I'm always looking for new ones.
Thanks for reading this post. If you liked it and are totally addicted to my writing, please upvote and resteem this post so other people can also get addicted to my posts.