Ring, ring! Your phone’s ringing! Someone’s calling you; maybe it’s an important matter, so you have to pick it up, or maybe it’s just something trivial like a friend’s beep. Regardless of what the reason is, we know that in today’s age, our mobile devices have become an important part of our daily lives.
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We send texts, e-mails, make phone calls, take photos, upload and download files, and use social applications straight from our mobile devices. Thus, most of us have been accustomed to those beeping sounds when we receive phone notifications.
And by hearing those beeping sounds, our brain releases dopamine; a chemical in our brains that makes us feel numbly good. In other words, dopamine is the chemical (neurotransmitter) responsible for the feeling of pleasure. Simply put it as a ‘feel good’ hormone.
So, how do our phones affect our relationships with this dopamine thingy?
In a keynote speech, Simon Sinek, a British-America author, speaker and business consultant, explained how mobile devices can move us unconsciously, inadvertently causing our personal interactions with others to dwindle.
Sinek explained that drinking (alcoholic beverages) and hearing our phones beeping sound(s) release the same dopamine level, causing us to feel good.
“We know that you get a dopamine release, which is the same chemical that makes you feel good when you drink, we know that you get a dopamine release when your phone goes buzz or beep… and we know that you get that (dopamine release) when you get social media alerts as well,” Sinek said.
He also said that the excessive usage of mobile device is addictive, especially to the younger generation.
“And so, what’s starting to happen is these kids going through adolescence, and nobody has recognized that the device is actually addictive. So, what we’re creating is an entire generation of ‘mini addicts’ that are getting hard-wired to believe that their sense of self-worth comes from a device and not from a human being.”
Sinek explained that there’s a subconscious effect of using mobile devices while we’re with our friends and families.
“What if I’m holding my phone (while talking to you); it’s not twitting, it’s not buzzing, it’s not beeping, and I’m not checking it. I’m simply holding my phone… Do you feel that you’re the most important thing to me right now? No, you do not.”
This simply means that by just showing up your phone while you are having a time with other people, is hinting that they are not as important as your device.
So, the most important thing to do is to get rid of your device when you’re engaging with your friends and families, Sinek expounded.
The idea is to genuinely communicate with the people around you and to give your attention without the hindrance of any computer-generated gratification coming from mobile devices.
There’s nothing wrong with technology, but everything is about balance. Mobile phones are wonderful but using them out of balance, just like any other source of addiction, will be destructive to the relationships of human beings.