Due to an isolation and feelings of loneliness the majority of the population uses internet contents considerably more. Internet shops, internet solutions for distance working, as well as the internet entertainment industry are rubbing their hands as they are benefiting from it.
Let us return 10 years back; the story of Logout started to shape during the time when touch screen mobile telephone overflooded the market. Mobile telephone just for calls, messages and maybe a clumsy access to the internet, has overnight changed into a smart device, where people could experience the whole benefits of a computer within a phone.
Touchscreen with strong powerful processor, lithium battery duration and numerous applications delivered an entirely new dimension of content and experience. In a very short time a smart device technology has become accessible to a wider population.
Nowday it is almost necessary to have at least one smart telephone or device in your hand. Smartphone has replaced pocket books, magazines and comics in waiting rooms, drivers on a motorway a making conference calls or selfies, life-guards are gazing on the screen rather than focusing attention on crowds inside the pool, parents are looking on their screens rather than looking at their children, they are all emptying their battery and filling themselves up with a pleasure. Employees have accepted that work interferes with their personal life, as something normal and they respond to work messages also in the middle of the night, otherwise they would feel guilty. Our general feeling quickly depends on how full is our phone charge or how strong is our wifi signal.
Social (ir)responsibility of social platforms
Google (Instagram, Youtube), Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Tik Tok... and other applications of the entertainment industry have actually become the ground zero of the mental pandemic of the twentieth century. Like the virus they have spread with the help of platforms and touched people by infecting them with potential psychological burnout, fragile self-es
teem and different mental distress, mostly at vulnerable parts of the population.
All aforementioned and other agents, which are part of global technological competition of fast growth, often start-up companies, social responsibility was not in the foreground. Business goal was to reach million users, to maintain their attention and to use the weakness of individual responses regardless of the price. Results are numerous of sleepless nights, constant increased heartbeat, continuous expectation of reward in form of information, whether is a ‘like’, comment or something similar.
Nobody from the list of agents in the cycle of steep growth did not invest in any aspects of social responsibility and try to prevent consequences. At certain percent of population consequences are addiction, stress, disturbance of attention, occupational ineffectiveness, problems with interpersonal relationships, etc. Answer on our initiative to ask an entertainment company Blizzard regarding making their products more socially responsible by installing in their video games mechanism for self-monitoring for younger players andover prevention messages warning them regarding excessive gaming, their answer was that at the moment they have other priorities.
For good feeling we can also switch-off.
All our priorities in time of self-isolation have undoubtedly changed. However excessive use of the internet remains the same or has even increased. Final solution for balancing internet activities is definitely not in technology, but in changing our behaviour, i.e. self-monitoring and in conscious strategies to disconnect from the internet. Smart telephone can also be turned-off. For work we do not need to constantly read e-messages. We can implement quiet hours and we can check messages only at certain hours of the day.
Already from the beginning of Logout, we have been highlighting the importance of technological disconnection. In the year 2011, we wrote on our internet page the next recommendations (Vir: Archive.org):
Why are all playgrounds often desolated, where there are badminton rackets, family trips?
The answer is that we find compensation in computers, internet, WII devices, consoles, mobile devices, etc.
What can be done?
Change your online/digital behaviour. Fill up your free time with outside activities and people around you.
- Think what kind of influence technology has on your psychophysical health.
- If necessary start taking notes of how much time you spent online daily.
- Optimize time used for different internet activities.
- Limit the time which you use just for activities needed for your work.
- Focus on relationships and interests which were due to use of technology put on a side.
All the above listed still holds. The key thing is therefore to implement fundamental change in each individual’s behaviour. However things are improving as users’ are having more awareness, including with our support by providing preventative activities and campaigns over which we have in the last five years directly reached at least 28,000 individuals. Even Google is now focusing the importance of individuals wellbeing on their internet portal https://wellbeing.google/.
Nevertheless, we have to ask ourselves, why would industries work against their interests?
One of the explanations is that with individuals’ growing awareness regarding online safety and the influence of technology on mental health, it also grows the importance of the safety of the whole online experience.
At least part of the internet industry today is aware of the consequences which their products have on public health. Nevertheless the business interest remains and by building protection for a customers’ safeonline experience they also count on bigger trust by the same customers and consequently preservation or growth of their market share.
Self-control of excessive use of internet contents
Tools which offer operating systems and in a gentle way remind us or limit our access can be for the majority of people useful to use. Some individuals find self-monitoring tools ineffective and require stronger tools where an individual can restrict himself from certain internet contents, or limit his time and cannot surpass it.
Offer of applications for self-monitoring purposes is constantly changing. Below is the list of some applications, which we have tested and can be used for Windows OS and for mobile devices iOS and Android, which together has 98% global market shares: Flipd, Forest, ColdTurkey, FocusMe, AppBlock, Space, QualityTime, RescueTime, Moment, SleepTown
Practical example of use of applications.
Situation #1: »Next hour would like to study in peace, without distractions.«
- FlipD (Android in iOS) – FREE OF CHARGE (Premium cost)
Their function Full Lock Mode allows full telephone lock in advance for a certain time, even if you restart the phone, settings will remain. During blockade you can still use basic functions such as calls, calendar, music and camera.
- Forest (Android in iOS) – FREE OF CHARGE (Premium cost) When we activate application, we plant trees. The longer we leave the telephone in peace, the higher our trees will grow. If we use a telephone too early, a tree dies. Blockade is not strong. Recommended for learning. Payment version added function of recording use of applications.
- Cold Turkey (Win, MAC) – FREE OF CHARGE for internet pages (Premium cost for programmes)
Android version is simple to use , but limited to (1 hour of maximum blockade, which we can stop with restarting the phone). C.D is more effective on Win and Mac. Blockades are extremely strong and payment versions allow us to create daily schedules and block programs.
Situation #2: »Some applications I would like to use just some time per day after which I would like them to be locked.«
- FocusMe (Android, Win, MAC) – FREE OF CHARGE for Android (Win, MAC payment)
On Android it is possible to set up time of daily limit. Blockade holds, until the telephone is reset.
- AppBlock (Android) – FREE OF CHARGE limited (Premium payment)
Big choice of blockade (time, daily limit, Wifi, limited number of restart) for application. Function» Strict mode« can fully block certain applications. Payment version recommended. Block works also after resetting the telephone.
Situation #3: »I am interested in just, how much time I actually spent on telephone.«
- QualityTime (Android) – FREE OF CHARGE limited (Premium payment)
It gives a graphic view of activities of devices. It also has a temporary blocking function with the option »Take a break«, but it can be stopped without a problem after 30 second of waiting.
Situation #4: »All these graphs are boring, I don’t follow blocks. Can I get something that is more fun?«
- Moment (Android, iOS) – FREE OF CHARGE limited (Premium payment)
Moment tries to use different short courses to establish a healthy phone use attitude.
- SleepTown (Android, iOS) – FREE OF CHARGE (Premium payment)
In application we set a timetable for sleeping. When we follow it, houses are being built while we sleep inside the app. If we use the phone too early, houses collapse.