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How To Build Healthy Relationships That Are Happy and Distraction Free

Fostering Authentic, Distraction-Free Relationships

Chances are you’ve experienced the following: You’re with a small group of friends at a nice restaurant. Everyone is enjoying the food and conversation when someone decides to take out his phone — not for an urgent call, but to check email, Instagram, and Facebook.

I used to do nothing in the face of indiscriminate gadget use. Now, I’ve come to believe that doing nothing is no longer O.K. Staying silent about bad technology habits gets in the way of creating and sustaining healthy relationships. Now is the time to take a stand. By better understanding the psychology behind our technology, we can put it in its place. In the end, technology should serve us — we should not serve it.

This is an excerpt from an earlier article, which can be found here.

Here you’ll find a wealth of articles to help you create and nurture your Indistractable relationships.

Top Articles on Indistractable Relationships

The Truth About Kids and Technology: Jean Twenge (iGen) and Nir Eyal (Hooked) Discuss Tech’s Effect on Children’s Mental Health

Recently, I was invited to discuss how technology might impact children’s mental health at the Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado. I shared the stage with Dr. Jean Twenge, author of the book iGen and an article in The Atlantic that got a lot of attention titled, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

The Truth About Kids and Technology Click To Tweet

Dr. Twenge and I had very different perspectives on how bad technology is for kids and whether tech is even the real source of the associated problems. However, we did agree on many of the solutions to tech overuse and abuse.

I hope you enjoy the video and please let me know what you think of the discussion in the comments.

You may also enjoy these articles I’ve written about digital distraction, focus, and kids and technology:
Kids’ Video Game Obsession Isn’t Really About Video Games. It’s About Unmet Psychological Needs.

Kids’ Video Game Obsession Isn’t Really About Video Games. It’s About Unmet Psychological Needs.

Many parents are concerned with their child’s seemingly obsessive video game play. Fortnite, the most recent gaming phenomenon, has taken the world by storm and has parents asking whether the shooter game is okay for kids.

The short answer is yes, Fortnite is generally fine. Furthermore, parents can breathe easier knowing that research suggests gaming (on its own) does not cause disorders like addiction.

However, there’s more to the story. A comprehensive answer to the question of whether video games are harmful must take into account other factors. Fortnite is just the latest example of a pastime some kids spend more time on than is good for them. But parents need to understand why kids play as well as when to worry and when to relax. read more…

How Bad is Tech Use for Kids, Really?

How Bad is Tech Use for Kids, Really?

It feels impossible to tell if the technology our kids use should be celebrated or feared. A few years ago I wrote a book, Hooked, about how technology can be used to change our habits. I intended the book to teach startups how to build healthy habits, but now I’m not so sure. With headlines telling us technology is hijacking our brains, I started second guessing the impact of our devices, especially when it comes to our kids.

How alarmed should we be? Is this a crisis or a fear frenzy? I wanted to understand what the studies really tell us about the effect personal technology is having on our children.

One side clearly believes the kids are not okay. “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades,” wrote Dr. Jean Twenge, a professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in an article in The Atlantic.1 “Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”

read more…

Why People Check Their Tech at the Wrong Times (and the Simple Trick to Stop It)

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Illustration by Liz Fosslien

Chances are you’ve experienced the following: You’re with a small group of friends at a nice restaurant. Everyone is enjoying the food and conversation when someone decides to take out his phone — not for an urgent call, but to check email, Instagram, and Facebook.

Maybe you’ve witnessed this behavior and found it unsettling. So what do you do? Do you sit idly by, thinking disparaging thoughts? Or do you call out the offender? read more…

Happiness Hack: This One Ritual Made Me Much Happier

When my wife and I moved to New York City in 2001, recently graduated from college and newly wed, we were eager to find friends. We knew nearly no one but were sure we’d soon find a fun-loving group like the 20- and 30-something New Yorkers who spontaneously dropped in on one another on TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends.

We hatched a plan. After moving into our Midtown Manhattan apartment, we invited all the neighbors over for drinks by placing Kinko’s-printed quarter-sheets into everyone’s mailboxes. Then, we waited for our versions of Chandler, Kramer, and Elaine to show up. But they didn’t. In fact, no one did. As the ice in the cooler melted and the guacamole browned, not a single person among 100 apartments stopped by. Not. One. Person. read more…

Time for Digital Hat Racks

Hat rack for devices: don't use devices in meetings
The first thing Don Draper does when he gets to his office is give his busty secretary a suggestive wink. The second thing he does is take off his fedora. Finally, depending on the severity of the previous night, he completes his morning routine with a stiff drink.

What can we learn from Don’s habits? First, that scotch and submissive secretaries always equal drama. But what of that fedora? There’s a lesson there too.

As any Mad Men fan knows, it was once popular for men to wear hats everywhere they went — except that is, when they stepped indoors. When a gentleman went inside, he read more…

Strange Sex Habits of Silicon Valley

Breaking Bad Habits

My wife put our daughter to bed, brushed her teeth, and freshened up before bed. Slipping under the covers, we exchanged glances and knew it was time to do what comes naturally for a couple on a warm night in Silicon Valley. We began to lovingly caress–but not each other, of course. She began to fondle her cell phone, while I tenderly stroked the screen of my iPad. Ooh, it felt so good.

If our nightly habits were any indication, we were having a love affair with read more…