The people whose livelihoods and egos depend on the success of Internet-powered gadgets have started disconnecting because of all the detrimental things it may or may not do to our brains that we've read about in various trend stories, of late. Unlike us, though, who read about this so-called trend on the Internet, then wrote about it on the Internet, and continued our plugged-in lives, they are doing something about it, according to The New York Times's Matt Ritchel. More than the magazine cover stories with somewhat alarmist takes on the subject, this trend makes us listen. If the people who profit off of this tech have acknowledged and started treating their tech addictions, it suggests the problem is real. It's like hearing about a big tobacco company offering employee advice to quit smoking. So now that The Times got us listening, here's how Silicon Valley suggests we deal with the addiction.
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- Keep an Internet journal. One Facebook executive Stuart Crabb, who compared our Internet habits to boiling a frog to death, suggests people "notice the effect that time online has on your performance and relationships." How better to do that than with a journal? Even an Internet journal, like a blog or a tumblr would work. Or, if you're trying to pare back time spent online, an old-school paper and pen one works, too. Assuming you still know how to write. Some of us don't. (We should probably put that in our journals.)
- Do yoga. Though many people would call yoga a "crock," science has found it has many health benefits. Now add Internet addiction to that. Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology and strategy officer at Cisco meditates every night. "It’s almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul," she told Ritchell. "It makes me so much calmer when I’m responding to e-mails later."
- Get an offline hobby. A lot of fun things happen online, so many that even after work for hours on a computer, we spend most of our off-hours with the glowing screens of our gadgets. When not meditating, Warrior writes poetry and paints for example. Another executive at Twitter organizes improv classes for employees. Really, anything not screen related works.
- Don't blame us! Silicon Valley may have enabled our (and its own) addiction. But it doesn't want us to think it did anything wrong. "We’re done with this honeymoon phase and now we’re in this phase that says, 'Wow, what have we done?'" Soren Gordhamer, who organizes Wisdom 2.0, an annual conference on digital-life balance, told Ritchell. "It doesn’t mean what we’ve done is bad. There’s no blame. But there is a turning of the page." Hear that, no blame. Just recovery.
These methods sound a lot like ways drug addicts deal with their addiction, according to this drug addiction help center, which counsels, "Change is never easy—and committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including: the way you deal with stress, who you allow in your life, what you do in your free time, how you think about yourself." And, believe the trend stories or not, these methods are working, say these tech executives.
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