Screen Addiction

Screen Addiction



Adam Alter’s interview on The Gist, was very informative and presented interesting new ideas.  Alter gives his definition of addiction, and that a lot of technology falls under it.  The interview begins by requesting listeners to put their phones down, as their mere presence often distracts us.  He compares addictions of substances and addictions, and says it is very much possible to be addicted to things such as a smartphone.  He mentions that the definition of addiction has involved to include behaviors that don’t include ingesting a substance.  He argues that an Instagram post can have the same characteristics as gambling, which can be addictive.  You post a picture and you constantly check for notifications, likes, and comments.  “It looks in the brain, much like addiction” he says.  He claims that these patterns can be addictive.

Alter mentions that “our threshold for boredom is so low, that we treat it by getting in an elevator for ten seconds and taking out our phones”.  What can someone do on their phone for ten seconds, I wonder.  But it’s not about doing anything more than it is checking, we crave new updates and notifications, much like a smoker craves a cigarette.  It is an addiction, to our smartphones.

The Netflix auto play feature is an example of something that leads to an addiction.  When people watch shows on Netflix, after one episode ends, the streaming service automatically plays the next episode, making it harder to stop watching.  Alter argues that this is the leading cause of “binge watching”.  People don’t stop the show and just let the next episode play, over and over again, and they don’t realize how much time they have spent watching.  If an episode ended and you had to go in and play the next one, people wouldn’t watch for as long.  I know personally, I would play a show before going to bed and say to myself “I’m going to go to bed after this episode” but the episode ends and a new one comes on and I am not in bed.  If after that episode, I had to pick up the remote and play the next one, I would have picked up the remote and turned the TV off, but I never had to pick up the remote.

Summarizing Solitude, and a Précis

Summarizing Solitude, and a Précis

Rhetorical Précis:

            William Deresiewicz wrote an article for The Chronicle Review, “The End of Solitude” (Jan. 2009), arguing that the influx of technology in today’s world are causing us to lose our ability to be alone and that we can no longer be alone without feeling lonely.  He first claims that we are doing it to ourselves, by spending so much time online and on our devices, he then argues that solitude can be a great learning experience (especially within many religions), and finishes by claiming that the internet has remapped our attention spans.

Academic Summary:

Deresiewicz writes a very compelling piece arguing that because of the internet and our devices, we have lost the ability to be alone.  Much like how the television created the need to constantly be entertained, the internet created the need to constantly be connected.  He argues, however, that solitude, and alone time, are important aspects of the human life where one can learn a lot about themselves.  Historically, solitude has been an important part of our everyday lives, but with the implementation of the internet, we have lost that.  We are constantly connected online, and because of this, we are afraid to be disconnected, even if just for a short time.  We have all but eliminated solitude from our lives, thanks to the internet.  No longer, can we be alone, without feeling lonely; we constantly feel the need for connection, and thus teens are addicted to snapchatting and texting their friends nonstop.  We need to find ourselves again, we need to find time for ourselves, we need solitude back as we have lost it in time.

Descriptive Outline:

            Suggests that the internet has created a fear of solitude.  The internet keeps us constantly


Claims that the we no longer value alone time.  His students wondered why anyone would ever

want to be alone.

Demonstrates that solitude has been lost from our lives.  A teenager the author knows sent 3,000 texts in one month.

States that solitude is traditionally an essential value of our lives.  Solitude was once a societal value.

Argues that solitude is a fundamental part of some religious experiences.  One cannot hear God while people are constantly “chattering at you”.

Introduces solitude as a learning experience.  Solitude, in religion especially, can be a powerful learning tool in learning about one’s self.

Quotes Freud as saying that one desires to be alone.  “The soul, self-enclosed and inaccessible to others, can’t choose but to be alone”.

Repeats that solitude can be an excellent learning tool.  Solitude is “the arena of heroic self-discovery”.

Proposes that the modern city has a lot to do with our growing fear of solitude.  The modern city had become inescapable, it was a menacing environment, people everywhere.

Further argues that the modern city caused us to grow apart from one another.  “Hell is other people”.

Quotes Trilling and his “authenticity”, that one must have a strong relationship with him/her self.  “The essential relationship is only with oneself”.

Claims that the collapse of the modern city and the development of today’s city has created a fear of separation.  “Our great fear is not submersion by the mass but isolation from the herd”.

Proposes that suburbanization separated us while bringing us closer together.  We lived further and further apart, but technology brought us closer and closer together.

Informs us that in the 1970’s and 80’s, when the author was growing up, we became too isolated.  Everyone was trapped inside their own “cocoon”.

Argues that boredom is a new concept that didn’t once exist.  The television created a constant need to have something to do.

Compares that argument of boredom to loneliness.  Claims that how the television created boredom, the internet created loneliness.

Argues it is less safe to send our kids outside to play.  Says that the idea of running around and playing outside with your friends was once “unquestionable” but is now “unthinkable”.

Claims that we spend too much time online.  The piece says that the internet has “quickly become too much of a good thing”.

Argues that the internet has created the need to be increasingly popular.  The goal online is to become “a sort of miniature celebrity”.

Explains that we have lost the ability to be alone.  Claims that the because of the internet and television, we have lost the ability to enjoy quiet and/or alone time.

Claims that we no longer have adequate attention spans.  Says that five minutes on the same website is “considered an eternity”.

Super Bowl Follow-Up; Dilly Dilly, Philly Philly


After watching many of the advertisements from Super Bowl LII again, I have decided that the most effective ad was the Bud Light ad entitled “The Bud Knight”.  The ad features a scene from a medieval battle in which the Bud Knight comes in and was hoped to save the smaller army.  The Bud Knight then says “time to do what must be done” before riding his horse to a convenience store, going inside the futuristic store (futuristic for medieval times) and exiting with a 24-pack of Bud Light saying “I did it”.  He then rides back through the battle where he says he will not be fighting with them because a buddy of his “was having a 30th birthday thing”.  He then invites the army if they were to survive.  And then he scares off the enemies with his sword.  The end of that features a shot of the beverage and says “here’s to the friends you can always count on”.

I believe this ad was effective because it promoted responsible drinking and was rather clever.  The ad included the popular “dilly dilly” catchphrase the company has been using recently.  This ad also connects to me personally as a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan.  I watched my team win their first Super Bowl in franchise history and drove eight hours to Philadelphia to join my family, who shares a love for the team, at the Eagles parade on Broad Street, a day that was officially declared “Philly Philly” day by the city of Philadelphia and Bud Light themselves.  As I walked around the city with my dad, who had waited his whole life for that moment, the chants of “Philly Philly” were inescapable.  Bud Light agreed to provide beers for the entire city if the Eagles won the Super Bowl before the season started and followed through on that promise on Philly Philly day.  Although I did not get to partake, as I am underage, seeing a city notorious for being ruthless and mean come together in unison was truly special, and I had never seen so many Bud Light cans in one place.  And that free Bud Light my dad got was “the best beer of his life”.

Twice throughout the day, a sky writing drone flew through the sky and wrote the words “Dilly Dilly Philly Philly” above the estimated, but disputed, 700-000 people at the parade (some believe there were upwards of three million attendees).  Kelly green tee shirts being sold by street vendors throughout the city read “Philly Philly”.  Bud Light, in my opinion, was the most effective all around advertiser throughout the NFL season, let alone in the Super Bowl.  Their meaningless catchphrase of “dilly dilly” has been a mainstay for football fans and Bud Light drinkers alike, thanks to brilliant marketing from the popular beer company.


The Binge Breaker

  1. “The Binge Breaker” by Bianca Bosker, addresses the questions of the harmful effects our devices may have on us as a society. It also questions the software developers intentions and somewhat blames them for making them so addicting.
  2. The intended audience for this piece is more or less, everyone. More and more people are becoming addicted to their smartphones, people of all generations, and this piece try’s to enlighten all users on the addictiveness of our technologies.
  3. Bosker supports her thesis with quotes and pieces from a reliable source in Tristan Harris. Harris is very credible on the subject and states the steps being taken within the technology industry to try and cure people’s addictions.
  4. The author hooks the reader by beginning with a story of Harris at a retreat, where he was “unplugged” from the outside world; he had to surrender all technology. This is something that most people reading the article couldn’t even begin to imagine, thus we are intrigued by the possibility that someone such as Harris could do it.
  5. Bosker seems to make herself credible in that she uses lots of evidence and quotes rather than personal anecdotes. She refers to Harris throughout the piece, as well as a few other credible sources she quotes.
  6. My beliefs on the subject are very similar. I too believe people are increasingly addicted to their phones and laptops and that it can be very bad, but those same devices can also be very good.  I agree that we need to isolate ourselves from them a little bit and take steps toward becoming less dependent on them.
  7. I respond to this text by agreeing with Harris and Bosker, it seems that facebook, twitter, snapchat, and other companies, are doing borderline unethical things within their platforms to keep users engaged and addicted to checking them. I agree that steps should be taken by the software developers to make people feel less dependent on their products.
  8. The authors purpose for writing was to enlighten people on the subject and share Harris’s story, while my purpose for writing is purely academic, although with an element toward learning more about the subject myself.