A Call to Cut Back Online Addictions. Pitted Against Just One More Click. - The New York Times
At her university in Boras, Sweden, Elin Hedin, 23, stopped using Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Messenger and Instagram. She also tried to limit the amount of time she browsed websites.
In the first week, it felt like a vacation and she slept better. But then, she said, the loneliness kicked in.
“I‘ve often felt isolated, and kind of lonely,” she wrote in an email. “I miss reading about people’s days, seeing what they’re up to on Instagram, reading about their opinions on the latest news, and so on.”
“I guess I’m just used to getting that extra bit of socializing,” she added.
Mr. Newport continues to send messages of daily encouragement to readers who participated in his challenge. It made most realize, he said, how dependent they had become on websites and mobile phone apps.
“Their role in your life has grown without your permission,” he said. “No one had that in mind when they signed up for Facebook to stay in touch with their college roommate.”
A majority of the people who reported back to Mr. Newport with their results in unplugging noted that they had picked up new hobbies: painting, exercise, the opportunity to write a book. They said they also imposed strict guidelines to keep themselves from slipping: Keep the phone charger in another room. Ask the people texting to instead please call. Stop the reflex click to a favorite sports website instead of focusing on work.