Smartphone addiction: how technology makes us impatient, idiots and stressed

Addict to your smartphone? More and more impatient and passive? Remember to disconnect a little, before becoming totally unable to act.

The world days without laptop (February 6 to 8) intend to highlight a strange evil that we impact more and more, the addiction to “everything connected, all the time and everywhere”. Glued to our smartphones, do we become more and more impatient, even idiots?

Disconnected parentheses will they allow us to find ourselves and relearn to bore us? In the subway, in front of the television, at the table, in your bed … Not a moment where you do not look at your SMS, your emails, your Facebook notifications. Also hard not to consult Google without stopping, to check something.

If you recognize yourself in this portrait, then it’s a fact: you are addicted to the Web. Digital has totally changed our relationship with time and information – with a smart phone, we “hold all the knowledge and all desirable information”, permanently, as explains Michel Serres, professor Stanford. Bombarded with notifications, with in hand our smartphone (which has replaced the books), we bear less and less boredom, and the fear of missing an info.

“We are subject to the tyranny of immediacy: we feel more and more obliged to do a number of things, to look at our emails … we miss it”, confirms Bernard Stiegler, philosopher. Try to unplug? Impossible, “because your social milieu is totally penetrated by that, so you risk being excluded if you do not do it”.

Always more impatient … and idiots?

It might be time for you, though, if you have not already done so, to question your digital use. In “The Glass Cage”, essayist Nicholas Carr explains how our pervasive Web addiction tends to transform our brain function, making us more impatient and … “idiots”.

Machines do everything for us. No need to think: Google answers our questions, the GPS guides us, soon the cars will drive us alone. Until we lose some day some capabilities – like a human no longer able to fly a plane by using the autopilot? One day, will we still be able to look for an info, find us in the street … or even read a book? “The more we use the Web, the more we have to fight to stay focused on long pages of writing,” writes Nicholas Carr.

In “What should we be worried about?”, The writer worries about the consequences of digital on our relationship to time. He quotes a study, done 10 years ago, which noted that “a large part of Internet users abandon their online purchases if the page takes more than 4 seconds to load”. According to him, this impatience “will only increase”, since news flow will always flow faster.

“The phenomenon is amplified by the constant buzz of text messages and social networks. And since they will continue to accelerate, we will become more and more impatient, “he notes. To the point of no longer being able to “live anything that requires us to wait, and that does not provide instant gratification” … with adverse effects in various fields, such as artistic production, political actions or research scientist, since we will only act in the short term.

Another detrimental effect is stress, which is growing daily in us. Impossible to pick up, even on vacation. Until burnout. The frenetic use of social networks also stresses us by the bad news that falls on us, permanently.

“Digital Detox” against reasonable use

We would like, suddenly, disconnect the plug, disconnect. What some call the “digital detox”. A good resolution, not easy to take and apply. Admittedly, a Canal + journalist, Pierre-Olivier LabbĂ©, managed to do without his smartphone for 3 months. But if during the first month, “it was nice”, cut networks allowing him “to find the cerebral wandering”, it was then another story: “I finally felt isolated from the outside world”, he says.

Another journalist, Paul Miller, went further: he “disconnected” for a whole year. His experience left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. At first, he wanted to “leave the Internet to get in touch with the real world”. But he ended up giving up. Without the Internet, he first used his free time to read, to see his friends … But after a while, he ended up feeling lonely, because the Internet is, nowadays, “where are the people “.

Rather than cutting everything, there are tools to continue using our digital tools while reducing the pace. For example, iOS 10 allows you to set a time of day when your smartphone will be in “do not disturb” mode. There is even an application, Flipd, that locks your device for a scheduled time.

A little excessive? What if the idea was just to pay attention to its digital consumption? By deciding to reduce our time spent consulting our smartphone? The idea is, in fact, to agree “disconnected parentheses”, to find oneself in front of oneself … and to learn to be bored. Your overheated mind will thank you.