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Three women texting

Photo Credit: Bronze Magazine

I know what you are thinking, “I don’t smoke” but you damn sure be on that phone every single minute of the day. Walking the crosswalk without looking, driving while texting, eating while lurking on social media, liking while on a date, snapping selfies while in the bathroom, so on and so forth. If you don’t think the times have changed, PERFECT! KEEP READING. Now I can’t be the pot and call the kettle black. I recognize how fawked up the smartphone game has been to both my mental and physical health. I actually did an experiment last week where I turned off my phone for 24 hours. Never would I have thought that going without my phone for a day would be possible. Then I realized, it actually IS. Did you know using your phone has been proven to lower your ability to think, concentrate, and it even dulls your intuition? Whether you want to believe it or not, there are short-term and long-term effects using to our smartphones. So sit back and focus for the next 5 minutes. “Ahem” [clears throat] and for the folks that don’t believe their smartphone, computer, social media, and/or the internet is turning them into a robot, here are 5 interesting things to know (I also threw in a few Rebel Messages to get you off the crack):

  1. Checking for likes is the new Smoking – Bill Mahr. I recently watched a CBS 60 minutes special where a Silicon Valley Insider shared how social media moguls depend on your dependency to make them money. They are the puppeteer and you are the puppet. Did you know advertisers pay these giants Billions of dollars to grab the most interaction and usage from you the user? In the past two years, social media companies have earned a whopping $31 Billion in Advertising pay outs. It’s a bidding war on getting you to spend more time on their apps. This fact was mind-blowing to me. At some point, you may have to consider that fact that you are not in control. You have to admit, that out of 24 hours in the day you spend 26 of them on your phone. Kind of makes me think of cable television. Social media is no different. REBEL Message: You don’t watch 500 channels so why watch over 500 useless pages on social media? I challenge you to categorize your usage (entertainment, personal development, business, etc.) and schedule specific days (one or two) to use social media. Go cold turkey and stay off social media for 24 whole hours. See how that feels. Gauge, if you are happier, sadder, or anxious. You will be shocked what your 24 hour fast will reveal about your dependency. I do these steps above and I LOVE IT! No one is going to bully me into being responsive. Technology is an option, not a life line. Besides, I’m busy.
  2. Silicon Valley gets you glued to your phone intentionally. – A Silicon Valley insider quotes on CBS 60 minutes, “The business model of tech companies needs to change. Your landline telephone did not have 1,000 engineers behind it, updating its technology and functionality to be more persuasive at getting you to pay attention to it.” So that’s interesting. I never considered the amount of data I put into my phone and that this data is used to make my ‘Apps” more like me or smarter. I never really thought about how glued to my phone I was. REBEL Message: Track how long you look at your phone. Simple instructions: Grab a sheet of paper. Write the date, day, and jot down the time you pick up phone and the time you put it down. At the end of the day assess, just how crazily you spend time on that bad boy.
  3. Smartphones are hand held slot machines – You check your phone on average 46 times per day and at least once every 15 minutes. You are checking to see what you “won” in a sense. By looking and lurking you are training your brain to seek a reward. Let’s just face it. Your smart phone is a slot machine. Meaning, sometimes you get something sometimes and sometimes you don’t, and that is the ADDICITION. You’re checking for likes, texts, responses, other pages, celebrity gossip, etc. on a constant mind-numbing basis. It’s much like pulling the slot machine lever to see how many cherries in the row can you get! Crazy thought right? Tech companies knows this and uses this mechanism to keep you on your phone. Notifications, beeps, reminders, chimes, all there to keep you lining their wallets. REBEL Message: Turn off your notifications, respond to texts when you can, take a break (they can wait) and if you really need your friends here’s an idea… CALL THEM! I mean it’s just time to take the pressure off.
  4. We have this belief that technology is neutral. – We really do feel that, “It’s my phone, I do what I want, I use it how I want, so I can’t be controlled.” Whelp I got news for you. Have you ever noticed how social media platforms will “throttle” your likes? So, the engineering behind the big social media giants is to keep you constantly anxious about how your posts are doing. So when you post, there is an assigned formula to hold activity until you have checked a certain number of times. Once that magic number is reached, BOOM! 46 likes in 4 hours. This increases your stress levels. Which then increases both Dopamine and Cortisol. You see a surge in your appetite, happiness, and then on the flip side a drop in your self-esteem if that certain number of likes does not satisfy you. This goes on every single day. So off to another person’s page you go to compare yourself with. Total powerlessness and ROBOT. Who knew, our phones would dictate our emotions and how we feel about ourselves and the world. REBEL Message: Take a break from your phone. Limit activity, even if you are a business owner. Schedule time to check your phone. Charge phone in another room at night. Don’t check your phone as soon as you awake. Here’s an idea, thank God you rose first.

Is Silicon Valley programming Apps or programming People? Here’s the thing…technology companies have enough power to shape a nation, create movements, and impact cultures. Over a billion plus people change the way they think and feel everyday just from the choices they make on a few screens! Silicon Valley wants you to use their platforms in specific ways for long periods of time (I’m talking 14 to 18 hours per day!). This is how they make their money. Believe it or not, tech companies are shaping the thoughts, feelings, and actions of billions of people. This is serious as hell. Where are we headed to ten years from now?

Rebel on,



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