Your Cell Phone is Designed to be Addicting. See Why + What You Can Do About It

Your Cell Phone is Designed to be Addicting. See Why + What You Can Do About It

If you’ve ever had someone playfully tease you about being addicted to your phone, you might have laughed it off. But here’s the thing. It’s not a complete joke. Cell phones are absolutely addicting. In fact, they’re designed to be that way.


Let that sink in a bit. Cell phones, plus all their apps, bells, and whistles are literally created to suck you in and hook your attention. We like to think we’re in full control of our attention to our devices and that it’s a simple willpower issue. But the evidence says different.


The team at Vox recently interviewed Tristan Harris, Google’s former design ethicist, about this. He explains the tiny and subtle ways that our brains get lured into our phones, highlighting all the various tricks of the trade.


The video is absolutely fascinating, (so much so that I watched it three times!)


Tristan highlights the sneaky tactics that developers use to keep you tied to your phone. From notifications, colors, sounds, and icon placement, your phone is designed to keep you coming back for more. And as someone who is all about mindfulness and living in the present moment, I’ve got major concerns about this.



However, if you think this video is a technology bashing session, it’s not. Not at all.


Technology is amazing, and there are so many ways it enhances our life. But like anything, we are healthier when we take a more intentional approach. When we stop, reflect, and really think about why we’re doing something, then considering how we want to do it instead.


Remember, the more information we have about what’s going on, the more information we have about what we can do about it. (For another great example of this, click here.) This knowledge allows you to be a more informed consumer, using your phone how and when you want to use it, not how and when a team of app developers wants you to use it.


The video also offers some really helpful tips for how you can take control of your cell phone, making it less addicting. These changes are super simple, (so much so that even my non-techy self could figure them out.)


Just because a phone can alert us of every little thing, doesn’t mean it should. And it certaintly doesn’t mean it’s healthy for us.


This video is fascinating, and I think it’s going to get your wheels turning about making some changes.



What stood out most to you? What changes are you going to make to help your cell phone be less addicting?

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