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The downside of addictive tech

We live in a world filled with increasingly powerful digital distractions: immersive online games, addictive social feeds, endless texts & notifications, Gamification Everywhere – we’re surrounded by software that’s designed to grab our attention and keep us hooked.

But we humans are adapting to these new and powerful forms of stiimulation. There’s a growing movement of thoughtful, tech-savvy people who are articulating the downside of an always-on lifestyle, and advocating for mindful use of technology.

Joe Kraus takes a weekly “media break” with his family – and notices that he can concentrate longer afterwards (this is part of a larger Digital Sabbath trend)

Sherry Turkle paints a vivid picture of teenagers who don’t know how to connect outside of texting and facebook — and advises us to look critically at the skills and mindset we’re modelling for our kids.

Howard Rheingold advocates for mindful digital literacy – and wrote a guidebook to help people do this better. Jim Stogdill put himself on a Paleo Media Diet to fight his self-diagnozed addiction and reclaim his brain and life.

Jason Hreha questions the product culture of building software explicitly to drive compulsion and addiction.

What about you? Are you tired of feeling manipulated and distracted by software that lowers the quality of your real-life interactions? Do you want to use – and build – software that makes REAL LIFE BETTER? I know I do – and I think there’s a big opportunity to create games, apps and services that deliver a FULFILLING (rather than ADDICTIVE) experience. More on that soon.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi Amy,
    Wouldn’t be FULFILLING just another term for ADDICTIVE software?

    September 8, 2012
    • Great question! That’s going to be the subject of my next bost

      September 8, 2012
  2. Real life has become boring; since games show us we can be part of something bigger than ourselves, and stand out from the crow. I think the addictive part on games, comes when a person thinks this recognition can be only achieved in games and not in real life. Fulfilling games (and life)comes when we realize life has all the purpose and meaning we seek, and we can still have fun.

    September 10, 2012
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