“Mumbai youth commits suicide after being denied smartphone to play PUBG.”
“Sixteen-year-old from Madhya Pradesh succumbs to cardiac arrest due to playing PUBG for six continuous hours.”
Quoted above are some headlines from some of the most read national dailies in India. They all talk about deaths. What else do they have in common? That all these deaths were caused by addictive mobile applications.
PUBG, Blue Whale, Pokemon Go- these are some examples of mobile applications that are highly addictive in that they compel users to take actions that may cause irrevocable damage. Such apps are known to play with the psyche of the audience in a way that renders them helpless.
Very recently, I watched a documentary titled “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix. The documentary talked about how social media applications these days are designed in such a way that users spend maximum time in there. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence, the human brain is being treated as a resource that can be mined for information and can be experimented on.
Is it acceptable? Certainly not. Is it still prevalent? Undoubtedly, yes.
Many organizations have been vouching for the humane use of technology for the past few years. They argue that using human psychology as a means to sell products that are addictive, and potentially harmful can result into serious repercussions.
Several people have been witness to the damage caused by addictive mobile applications to human life. Many have lost their near and dear ones, while many others have narrowly escaped the blackhole that attempts to suck them in.
After interviewing hundreds of people, and asking them to recount their experiences, experts have narrowed down the following five characteristics about addictive mobile applications:
- You find yourself constantly checking for notifications, refreshing your feeds, and looking for entertainment. These apps are designed to hook you.
- You find it hard to concentrate and feel restless when you aren’t using the app.
- Not getting enough engagement on your posts, or not scoring high enough on a game- such incidents genuinely disappoint you and make you sad.
- You are unconsciously performing actions that are against your personality, things that you do not usually associate yourself with.
- Your mobile battery is almost always low, because you’re so hooked that you can’t get up to even charge your phone.
The ability of these apps to dig so deep into your personality is mind numbing. What we need, is a reality check. What we need, is to understand that our brains aren’t a model that can be mined for patterns and resources. What we need, is to understand the psychology behind mobile addiction and try to break its effects.
Many others have embarked on the path of doing so.
The need of the hour is to exercise self-control before these applications start controlling us. Do you agree?