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  • Parenthood

    Could This New App Cure Social Media Addiction?

    July 30, 2018


    There’s a good chance you found this post because you were scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, when that time should have and could have been spent weeding around the deck, calling your mother, fixing the grill, researching that new fad supplement you’re taking (thanks to the newsfeed), cleaning out the nasty fridge, writing that overdue report, reading a novel with actual paper pages (remember those?), or, for that matter, catching up on your kids’ lives (remember them?).

    There’s also a good chance you’re as addicted to screen-gazing as the other 210 million people around the world. Maybe, like me, you’ve tried everything you can think of to kick the habit for yourself and your family: turning off and hiding the modem at bedtime; installing a newsfeed blocker and setting time limits (which is a joke. You know you change those settings when you need to. Besides, these work best on PC’s, not mobile devices), deleting and re-installing social media apps from your phone 1,700 times; enlisting the help of an accountability partner.

    I’ve done all of those, and they have helped, but I am still not cured. Clicking on the little red notifications button is like popping pills; scrolling through the newsfeed is like taking a drag on a joint (I imagine). When did we become so needy?

    All those previously mentioned methods of combating social media addiction are punitive and restrictive, of course. So far all we’ve done is “leash the dog” for bad behavior. And I can tell you, my teenagers are not thrilled with our current plan to install a social media filtering/blocking/limiting device in our home.

    What if, instead (or along with that), we “threw the dog a biscuit?” What if there was an app that used incentive and reward to curb our appetite for the false community and sense of public approval that is social media? What if we could engage in a fun game by competing as individuals or groups by scoring points for screen-free time?

    Can you see it?

    Parents convert the points their kids earn into money or snacks.

    Adults compete for dinner hosted by the “lowest scorer” of the month (I am loving this already!).

    And teens finally have something snap-worthy: a screenshot of “off-time” points earned, and something to really brag about: getting a life.

    In other words, this app relies on real-life connections, something we are losing at an alarming rate!

    Enter Switchkick, a new app created by my friend Andrew Pearson. It’s better than an accountability partner, because the numbers don’t lie or fail to report. Rather than having to make yourself accountable, it keeps you accountable automatically, using our competitive natures and desire for group-belonging to our advantage.

    Think about it: our insatiable need for approval is much of what feeds social media addiction. What if we channeled that in a different direction and were rewarded and applauded for not being so needy any more? It’s a paradox, isn’t it? But I think this could work.

    It just might be the cure we’ve all been waiting for. Moreover, it just might be the cure we desperately need. With social media addiction on the rise, suicidal depression seems to be at near pandemic levels. By harnessing the power of social support, Switchkick could do more for brain health than anything we’ve tried thus far.

    But like any technological or medical breakthrough, this “cure” requires funding from people who believe in it. From people who are sick and tired of the way “Crapchat” and “Instacram” are stealing our lives and messing with our kids in scary ways.

    I invite you to watch this short video and join me in propelling this revolutionary machine forward so we can take charge of our time and get our lives back. If you think this app sounds promising, then open your wallet and share this post. At the time of this writing, we have 22 days to raise $52,189 in order to see this app become a reality. Let’s do this!

    (P.S. To those who would be quick to remind me what helpful tools Facebook and Instagram are for professional networking, marketing and seeing photos of your darling new grandson: please, dear ones, don’t waste your time. Of course that is all true. This post has nothing to do with wise and healthy internet usage and everything to do with the abuse of it.)

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