I have been terrible about updating my blog this past month. Planning for graduation certainly doesn’t help at all. So with that being said, this will be my final thoughts for the school year. And since I don’t have tons of time at the moment to read, research, and reflect, I’m going to be as succinct as possible and try to wrap up this text with a few quick thoughts about cell phone addiction, sharing a few suggestions given by Adam Alter.
- Nip addiction at birth. “Today the average schoolchild aged between eight and eighteen years spends a third of her life … engrossed in new media, from smartphones and tablets to TVs and laptops. … Since the turn of the new millennium, the rate of non-screen playtime fell 20 percent, while the rate of screen playtime increased by a similar amount” (p. 237). Alter develops this point by referring to the recent birth of his own child and noting how much “screens” are used in a variety of capacities to introduce infants to the world around them. He goes on to discuss how this compromises our ability to develop relationships, read emotions, remain active and engaged, or appreciate the content more than the medium used to deliver it. Fortunately, research and science are beginning to identify these trends and equate cell-phone addiction to alcoholism, noting “either you abstain from the addictive behavior, or you’ll never shake the addiction” (p. 258).
- Find a replacement for addictive behaviors. Without a replacement behavior, it is nearly impossible to quit an addictive behavior. Alter makes a number of suggestions, but the most notable behavior he suggests is to simply remove temptation. Don’t cut yourself off entirely from your cellphone, but at least make it more difficult to access. Find a way to make the device less available and make it challenging to respond immediately. I suppose you could opt for something more direct, like having somebody smack you in the face every time you look at your device. Or you could simply try something simple like turning the phone off and leaving it in another room. Feel free to get creative I suppose, but don’t overthink this one. Just try to remove the temptation.
I’m not sure what all of this means for us at SkyView next year. Because of what we are learning from emerging research, there are bound to be some changes. For now, I’d at least encourage you to take a close look at your own personal habits and consider making some adjustments. I’ve tried to help make you more aware of the issue, but it’s up to you to utilize this new knowledge in a positive way.
Good luck! We’ll talk again this fall…
Alter, Adam. (2018). Irresistible The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Group USA.