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March 15, 2019 | The Push Back from Smartphones and Return of Attentive Humans

Danielle Park

Portfolio Manager and President of Venable Park Investment Counsel ( Ms Park is a financial analyst, attorney, finance author and regular guest on North American media. She is also the author of the best-selling myth-busting book "Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom on money management, markets and wealth that lasts," and a popular daily financial blog:

The Canadian Press is reporting today that Ontario will issue a directive this week to ban cell phone use in public school classrooms starting in the 2019-20 school year. This is a positive development in the quest to replace smartphones with attentive, present people.  Anyone who travels will know that cell phone obsession has become a worldwide problem.

As I discussed here last year, not only is compulsive smartphone use working to make workers less productive and increase fatalities from distracted driving, there is also growing evidence linking screen time with rising anxiety and depression among users, especially young people.  See The Risk of Teen Depression and Suicide is Linked to Smartphone Use.

As with all things, adults must exhibit personal discipline themselves if they are to help lead young people to healthy habits.  This is difficult when many adults are not yet managing their own use productively.  More awareness and effort is needed.

The first step to recovery is acknowledging one’s vulnerability and risk of abuse.  Many are now also taking the next step and moving back to cell phones with limited or no internet or social media browsing ability.  See: Smart phone addicts’ new tactic to break their habit:  buy a second phone:

“Smartphone-fatigued consumers are renegotiating their relationships with their devices. A growing contingent is embracing a new crop of minimalist phones, priced around $300 to $350, to wean themselves off premium models that keep them constantly connected.

Some are concerned that social media-usage is robbing them of interpersonal connections and making them less attentive. Others are annoyed by recent data privacy scandals at large internet and social-media companies—or they want the simple practicality of carrying a smaller phone.”

This is good news for the rise of human consciousness, personal interaction and intellectual development.  It’s bad news for social media and technology companies that have grown to dominate and influence an unhealthy amount of human life over the past decade.  Business models built on abusing trust and personal information while manipulating addictive impulses are moving out of favour once more–this is encouraging.

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March 15th, 2019

Posted In: Juggling Dynamite

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