WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTIONS OR MASS PRODUCTIVITY

In a world afflicted with digital distractions, online nuisances and cyber diversions, with majority of people spending huge amounts of their irreplaceable lifetime watching streams of selfies, and violent video games

 

As a society we like the sound of hammering, but we are uncomfortable with the sound of thinking, which is silence. And so, we’ve formed a culture of cyber-zombies, addicted to distraction and afflicted with interruption, enslaved by an orgy of complexity, superficiality and technological distraction.

 

But as Robin Sharma warned us, “An addiction to distraction is the end of your creative production.” He went ahead to remind us that, “inspiration gets fed by isolation, away from the ceaseless digital diversion and mindless overcommunication that dominates the hours of the majority these days”

 

The more your appetite for common need to fill the holes within yourself go in the direction of distractions, attractions, escapes and luxuries, superficial possessions, the emptier you become.

 

In a longitudinal study tracking over 200 children from the age of 2 years to 5 years old, children with higher levels of screen time showed greater delays in development across a range of important measures, including language, problem-solving, and social interaction. Analyses indicated that the level of screen time was significantly linked to the specific level of developmental delay 12 -14 months later.

 

Exposure to unrestrained levels of digital technology can have serious long-term consequences for children’s development, creating permanent changes in brain structure that impact how children will think, feel, and act throughout their lives. Children who have been cyberbullied are 3x more likely to contemplate suicide compared to their peers.

 

In just 3 years, there has been a quadrupling in the number of plastic surgeons with patients undergoing cosmetic surgery for the sake of looking good on social media (from 13% in 2016 to 55% in 2019). The greatest increase is in patients under the age of 30, particularly teenagers. Doctors point to the role of social media in creating an exaggerated idea of what is normal in beauty and as a result, distorting viewers’ sense of their own appearance.

 

The greater your level of Facebook addiction, the lower your brain volume. 30% of 18–44-year-olds feel anxious if they haven’t checked Facebook in the last 2 hours. A recent survey of over 2,000 American adults indicates a high incidence of potential warning signs of Facebook addiction, particularly among 18–44-year-olds, among whom 30% feel anxious if they haven’t checked it for 2 hours. In fact, many are so hooked that 31% report checking it while driving and 16% while making love.

 

1 month away from Facebook leads to a significant improvement in emotional well-being. In an experimental study of over 1,600 American adults (who normally used Facebook for up to an hour each day), deactivating Facebook accounts led to a significant increase in emotional well-being (including a reduction in loneliness and an increase in happiness)

 

The more time you spend on Instagram, the more likely you are to suffer eating disorders such as orthorexia nervosa, (a clinical condition where sufferers obsess about ideal foods so much that they stop eating adequately, seriously endangering their health.

 

2X Children under age 14 spend nearly twice as long with tech devices (3 hours and 18 minutes per day) as they do in conversation with their families (1 hour and 43 minutes per day).

 

50% of Americans report that their partner is often or sometimes distracted by their devices when they are trying to talk to them.

 

People who took photos to share on Facebook experienced less enjoyment and less engagement with the scene compared to those who took photos purely for their own pleasure.

 

A study of 50 infant-mother pairs indicated that infants showed greater unhappiness, fewer positive emotions, and were significantly less likely to play with toys when their mothers looked at their devices for as little as 2 minutes.

 

Fake news spreads six times faster than true news. According to researchers, this is because fake news grabs our attention more than authentic information. Researchers note that people naturally repost messages on the basis of their popularity, rather than their accuracy.

 

Four brain damaging villains

 

According to MARK HYMAN, there are four brain damaging villains:

 

👉digital deluge—the unending flood of information in a world of finite time and unfair expectations that leads to overwhelm, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Drowning in data and rapid change,”

 

👉digital distraction. The fleeting ping of digital dopamine pleasure replaces our ability to sustain the attention necessary for deep relationship, deep learning, or deep work

 

👉digital dementia. Memory is a muscle that we have allowed to atrophy. While there are benefits to having a supercomputer in your pocket, think of it like an electric bicycle. It’s fun and easy but doesn’t get you in shape. Research on dementia proves that the greater our capacity to learn—the more mental “brainercise” we perform—the lower our risk of dementia. In many cases, we have outsourced our memory to our detriment.

 

👉Digital deduction. In a world where information is abundantly accessible, we’ve perhaps gone too far in how we use that information, even getting to the point where we are letting technology do much of our critical thinking and reasoning for us. Online, there are so many conclusions being drawn by others that we have begun to surrender our own ability to draw conclusions. We would never let another person do our thinking for us, but we’ve gotten far too comfortable with letting devices have that very power.”

 

Conclusion

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not anti-social. I’m just anti-moron. I’d rather live a thoughtful life. A risky life. A real life. A creative life—choosing substantially pursuits over superficial distractions.

 

A life can only be made fulfilled by the vision that it’s driven by. The more you’re consumed by your vision, the more you dematerialize, and become hungrier for substantial pursuits like honoring your creativity, expressing your inherent potentials and living by a higher moral blueprint.

 

Seneca in his book, “On the Shortness of Life: captured this aptly when he said, “You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”

 

Just so you don’t get me wrong, I’m not against technology, but useless addiction to technology. Creatively used, technology advances human progress. Productively used our lives become better. Wisely used, our knowledge becomes richer. Valuable used, our wonderful world becomes smaller.

 

It’s the misuse of technology that’s ruining people’s minds, damaging their productivity and destroying the very fabric of our society. Your smartphone when foolishly addicted to can cost you a great future.

 

Most of us alive today wish we had more time. Yet we waste the irreplaceable hours we have by engaging in activities that don’t get us anywhere. Or we watch TV endlessly, not realizing its eroding our imagination as well as bankrupting our bank account.

 

In the words of Mark Villian, “The cumulative effects of these four digital villains robs us of our focus, attention, learning, and, most importantly, our ability to truly think. It robs us of our mental clarity and results in brain fatigue, distraction, inability to easily learn, and unhappiness”

 

Learn to stand yourself, to be alone sometimes, to be silent. Reflect on your unharnessed potentials, enjoy the wonders and wisdom solitude bring. Watch less TV. Read more books. Ignite your imagination. Feed your inspiration. And then your technology can be used as weapons of mass productivity as against used as weapons of mass distraction.

 

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About the Author

Ùgòchúkwú  Àlòh is a writer, political philosopher, human rights, and climate change activist with a double degree in Philosophy from Pontifical Urban University, Rome, and Imo State University Owerri. A member of the African Action Congress, Ugochukwu ran for State House of Assembly in the 2019 Nigeria General Elections. After graduating from Urban University, Rome, he served as a volunteer for educational improvement in Kwara State, Nigeria and for the past six years, has been a consistent commentator on Global, African and Nigerian, political and governmental issues. Over the years after graduation, Ugochukwu has done academic programs with the University of London, Yale University and Stanford University. He is the Author of the book: Sirpeter’s Laws of Nigerian Politics and the CEO of Sirpeter’s Academy. Currently, he serves as Secretary-General for Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions.

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