So you want to spend less time on the internet | The FADER – The FADER

A warning: cutting down on your time online will be extremely difficult, but it is possible. Fighting off the cycle of digital distractions is still an ongoing process for me — it’s my job to be online at least 8 hours a day — but after years of false starts, my goal of cutting down on internet usage was launched properly when I learned of the concept of neuroplasticity, or how the very structure of our brains change with each new habit or routine. For a long time I believed that adults aren’t capable of learning new things, that the habits we learn when we’re young stay forever. But science says that’s just not true. Yes, that means that being on the internet all day has altered not just how we learn, but the organ that does the learning. But here’s the critical point: it’s possible, with hard work, to literally rewire our brains.

The second thing that pushed me to airplane mode is the realization that the internet is designed to keep us addicted. That’s the only way companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can turn a profit. A recent report in The Guardian interviewed programmers behind some of the tricks social media platforms use to keep us hooked including Justin Rosenstein, creator of Facebook’s “Like” function, and Loren Brichter, designer behind the “pull down to refresh” function that’s become second nature when using smartphones. Both men expressed concern and even regret for their legacies, which keep people attached to social media. “All of our minds can be hijacked,” said Tristan Harris, former Google employee and current tech industry critic. “Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”

Here are some potential paths to more “free” time.


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