On Monday, the World Health Organization announced it was adding “gaming disorder” to its panoply of medical conditions and diagnoses, and there have been studies published as recently as August 2017, warning of the dangers of “video game addiction in emerging adulthood.” So we have plenty of evidence that electronics can do unwholesome things to our brains.


Probably most of us are also fans of that delicious shot of dopamine when someone “likes” one of our social media posts. This is no accident. As the article “Real Solutions For Digital Detoxing — Without Ditching All Your Apps” points out, “if you’re not paying for a product then you are the product,” and none of us pay for apps like Facebook and Instagram. Instead, they make money by selling the data they mine from our experiences. The longer we’re on their sites, the more sellable information they can obtain.


Naturally, in such a market, apps will compete for our attention, and in all of this shiny, it’s no surprise most of us feel overwhelmed, distracted, and unproductive. Too much time online absolutely takes its toll.


Frequently the solution is to do a “digital detox” — that is, to totally turn off our access to the Internet, or to sign out of our social media accounts. While this works for cleansing the palate and returning us to a level of normalcy and balance, this post from Do The Good Stuff, gives us some recommendations for using our cell phone as a tool to make us happier, healthier and more productive, without tuning out altogether. They outline ways to determine which apps actually provide true benefit, and how to use them, so we can use our technology — instead of our technology using us.


Read the post here, and check out these links for more information on gaming disorder:


WHO Recognizes Gaming Disorder As A Mental Health Condition


Video game addiction in emerging adulthood: Cross-sectional evidence of pathology in video game addicts as compared to matched healthy controls.


Sense and Nonsense About Video Game Addiction