Psychology Helps Drive Our Screen Time

By Dan Nielsen
The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) While the irresistible pull of information and images on our phones is a fact of life, how often do you reflect on how your phone is shaping your behavior and your relationships? Maybe it is time to take a look.

The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

The Pew Research Center last week released results of a national survey on smartphone use.

It paints a disturbing picture of modern family life, a surrealist painting of missed and dysfunctional connections.

I envision a distorted Salvador Dali image of people ignoring each other, their eyes attached with Elmer’s Glue to giant phone screens, a random cat floating in mid-air, and a half-melted clock (perhaps to signify time spent playing Candy Crush or Angry Birds) off to the side.

The Pew survey suggests that most parents think their children are so distracted by smartphones that they don’t listen to mom and dad. The survey also suggests that more than half of teens believe the opposite is true — that their parents are so buried in their own screens that they don’t pay attention to what their kids are telling them.

Everyone in the family, it appears, has their eyes glued to a handheld LCD screen so closely that they lose track of what’s happening off-screen.

That reality, while troubling, reads like a success story for modern marketing techniques.

Entrepreneurs know that the internet is today’s gateway to profit. They follow the money and seek to generate income where it is available.

Massive audience is the underlying power of the internet. More eyes translates into more advertising clicks, more sales, more profit.

So online entrepreneurs chase eyes. Some use every marketing technique available — flashing colors, promises of unbelievable deals, headlines that grab, amusing video clips, even well-written and informative articles.

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