Day 20 - Digital Addiction

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Our mobile phones, social media accounts, email and messaging apps are all dopamine pumps. They are extremely effective delivery systems for addictive and distractive content - supplying us with a bottomless reservoir of attractive images and links, a rapid and satisfying feedback loop, and a constant diet of self-reference and social approval. 

What’s not to like? Unfortunately, the unforeseen consequences are fairly dire. All-day, every-day connection to a dizzying variety of stimuli is training our brains to switch, and to crave the switching. This, while thousands of attention engineers are using the sciences of influence and addiction, to design more beeps and dings and likes and alerts, that give us a brief rush of dopamine - the same neural chemical that makes cocaine so addictive.   

 

This pattern not only creates distraction - like any addiction, it breeds compulsive behaviors. It’s impossible not to be distracted by a notification, an alert, an alarm, with a neuro-reward attached. Our brains just haven’t evolved sufficiently to sense or cope with these unconsciously addictive properties - especially when they’re interwoven with our essential daily tools..

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