With the release of the Social Dilemma, my recent reading of Digital Minimalism and attempts to put some of the information to work, and a couple recommendations of a recent academic paper “Ethics of the Attention Economy: The Problem of Social Media Addiction” (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/business-ethics-quarterly/article/ethics-of-the-attention-economy-the-problem-of-social-media-addiction/1CC67609A12E9A912BB8A291FDFFE799) this is an issue that I am thinking a lot more, especially as a parent. For now my kids are young enough where this is not a concern, but it will be and probably sooner than I want.
In a future post I am going to dive into data portability, the identity components needed to make this possible, and trying to understand what problem does this really solve with social media in particular, but for now the goal for myself and I encourage anyone who reads this is to be more intentional about use of social media. Things that have helped me make some progress are some of the lessons I took away from Digital Minimalism. These include the Forest app (kill a tree if you mess with your phone before a certain amount of time) moving social media apps off my phone (except for one but maybe someday) and putting my phone in a drawer when I am at home with my family. While these seemed like major changes when I implemented them, at least the second and third, it was surprising how quickly I got used to it.
This was not a slam dunk that I could make any progress at all as I am probably pretty high on the scale of FOMO and while I wish it wasn’t true, it still creeps in. Often I am reacting to something (recently the Lopez/Lomachenko fight) and I want to see what folks are saying on Twitter. Is this to confirm that my perspective on the fight is in line with others or “experts”, to see who is saying crazy things about the fight? Either way, this passes within a few minutes and I dont spend a half hour or more diving into comments from people I dont know since the extra step of getting my laptop out versus checking on my phone makes a real difference. Take small steps and hopefully it will not be as painful as you think.
If I want my little ones to someday be reasonable social media and technology users it is not going to come from the companies or some sort of perfectly crafted policy or regulation but has to be from my example.