Free Will vs Notifications: Who Will Win?

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Dr Richard Graham, Technology Addiction Consultant Psychiatrist

 

Huffington Post Blog – 15 September 2015 – Free Will vs Notifications: Who Will Win?

We all flatter ourselves that we have a great capacity to be independent, and have a free will that directs our actions and enables us to make choices. But from the very moment that life begins, the hopes and expectations about an unborn child within a family start to introduce influences that colour this independence. Culture, national policy, or the law will also shape our thinking. The great Dennis Potter, in his final work likened our plight to that of the Karaoke singer – the music is already written and arranged, and even your small part is that of singing someone else’s words. Knowing your own mind and expressing it has never been easy.

Yet the opportunities of social media, and functions such as anonymity, seem to promise greater possibilities for self-expression, and whilst this may be true for many, choosing not to participate in social media no longer seems a choice. Neither does owning or using a smartphones seem to be an issue of choice, and here the Fear Of Missing Out certainly plays its part. But as it is unlikely that just one factor influences our use, there is a need to stand back and consider: “Why do we all use Smartphones so much?”

Data concerning our daily use of Smartphones comes thick and fast, each survey suggesting even greater use than before. The recent report from Deloitte on the use of the Smartphone contained staggering statistics. For example, Britain’s mobile phone owners together look at their devices nearly 1.1 billion times a day, the equivalent of 400 billion times a year. A sixth (16%) of respondents look at their smartphone more than 50 times a day…

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