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How We Lose Billions Of Hours And Money On Social Apps Without Even Noticing It

How We Lose Billions Of Hours And Money On Social Apps Without Even Noticing It

The time and money we spend on social apps is shocking, and here’s the truth revealed:

People spend 1.15 billion hours each month on playing mobile games.

Games rank second behind social media activity in terms of time spent on devices according to a survey conducted in 2016.[1]

On average, we spend 2 hours on social media apps per day, which add up to 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime.[2]

In case you’re wondering, you can actually fly to the moon and back to Earth for 32 times with that time!!

And it’s not just the time that we’re losing.

Social apps gain millions of dollars from us every day.

Many of us don’t mind spending a dollar or 2 on mobile apps—multiple dollars, on multiple apps.

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For instance, one of the top-grossing games in the App Store Pokemon Go, earns as much as $2.3 million per day; while another popular game, Candy Crush, makes $1.1 million a day.[3]

Now you’re probably a little concerned about the time and money you’ve been spending on apps, so it would be a good idea to look at why this is happening, and what you can do about it.

We spend a lot of time on our mobile because we feel bored easily and our phone is too handy.

Boredom doesn’t make us happy and it’s natural that we want to get rid of it no matter what, and impulsive behaviour, such as playing with the phone, is our way of doing it.

Our phone provides us with a comforting escape from boredom—endless scrolling might be mind-numbing but it’s still better than doing nothing, and we just can’t stop.

The reason why social media apps seem so attractive is that they give us (a bit of) the excitement we crave when we’re bored. On top of that is their convenience, since we always have our phones nearby and unlocking them only takes 1 second.

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But do you know that playing with the phones can’t really kill our boredom?

We thought playing with the phones could keep us busy and happy, but science says the opposite:[4]

A research by Temple University shows that mindlessly playing with our phones actually eats away at our patience as well as self-control. The more time we spend on mobile apps, the more easily we feel bored. We also end up getting more impulsive, which means we become less able to resist our phones.

The more time we spend on mobile apps, the more difficult to resist them. The boredom in us simply will never be killed.

Although it is normal for us to reach out to our phones when we feel bored, it’s still possible to avoid the downward spiral. You just need to pay attention to how you spend your time.

Here are several tips that can help you detox from social media addiction.

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Challenge yourself not to check your phone during idle time.

You can also try to train yourself to be patient. Set some rules for yourself about using social media apps[5]. For instance, challenge yourself to not check your phone when waiting for the bus or queueing up at Starbucks. Be comfortable with a little boredom. It’s just a few minutes, anyway.

Hide your social apps or games in a folder on the last page of your phone, and mute their notifications.

Stopping once you’ve started is so much harder than not starting at all.[6] If you don’t open the app in the first place, you won’t have to worry about it.

What you can do is to mute the notifications of your addicted apps, put them into a folder, and drag the folder to the last page of your phone. So when you unlock your phone and arrive on the first page, it’s not so easy to access them.

Try to keep the temptations away is a good way to stop yourself from impulsively looking at the apps. Out of sight, out of mind.

Actively explore for more interesting activities that go beyond your phone.

You have to realize that you have a life outside of your Facebook, Instagram, etc., and that Candy Crush is not the only fun thing you can do.

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Go out with friends and talk to them instead of posting on their Walls; read books instead of checking Instagram stories; or try baking desserts instead of crushing candies…and more to go on the list.

When you learn to appreciate and enjoy the interesting things in the real world, you won’t go back to your phone that often any more.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to cut mobile apps out of your life entirely. Just be careful why you’re using them.

Ask yourself: do I really have fun playing with my phone, or am I just bored? Can I do something else instead and have a great time?

Reference

More by this author

Wen Shan

Proud Philosophy grad. Based in HK.

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

Does technology have all the answers?

This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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Creating technological solutions transparently

This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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Technology as the connecting tool

Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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“Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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