Declare war on mobile phones

  The "Away from Screens Project" group advocates a certain degree of distance from electronic screens and embraces the real world

  "Technology can be addictive in many ways. For example, you often see a little red dot on an app that triggers your dopamine release. Dopamine is not released when we are happy, it is when we encounter When uncertainty gets excited, it secretes in abundance."

  At 3 a.m., Li Zhen's fingers still couldn't stop sliding on the phone.

She fell into a state of "I don't know what I'm doing".

  26-year-old Li Zhen is an employee of an Internet company. Even though she knew that the Internet company was doing everything she could to prolong users' usage time, she couldn't help but get lost in various feeds. At 4:00 in the morning, she fell asleep exhausted.

  There are many late nights on weekdays, and Li Zhen spends this way.

Until one day, she suddenly realized that she had become addicted to mobile phones.

To change this state, the first thing she has to do is to quit her mobile phone.

  On the Douban group, there are many people like Li Zhen who "declared war" on mobile phones.

She is part of a group called the "Off Screen Project" that advocates a certain degree of distance from electronic screens and embraces the real world.

The Douban group was established in 2020, and now more than 30,000 people have joined.

The "Anti-Technology Dependence" group established a year later has more than 20,000 members. They believe that over-reliance on technology will cause the degradation of certain capabilities.

Both groups advocate a degree of weaning off mobile phones and exploring ways to live in harmony with technology.

  mobile phone that can't stop

  In January this year, Lin Xuan released her "phased results" of quitting the Internet in the "Project Away from the Screen" group.

Screenshots of her phone in the post show that she spent 4 hours and 40 minutes on her phone that day, a 27 percent decrease from last week.

She is a commercial real estate practitioner who has worked for 8 years. In the past, the first thing she did when she woke up every day was to play with her mobile phone. Even if she was sleepy at night, she could not bear to put it down.

She looked at her phone when she was having dinner with friends, and couldn't help but glance at her phone when she was talking.

Sometimes company leaders pass by her work station, and they will joke, "Are you playing with your mobile phone again?" "Although there may not be any message push on the mobile phone at that time, even though I just looked at the mobile phone for no purpose, I just wanted to slide it away. screen," she said.

  She couldn't say why she was addicted to mobile phones, but felt that time flies by being immersed in the world of mobile phones.

Lin Xuan is keen to chat with friends in WeChat groups, and will follow the hot spots as a "melon-eating" crowd.

"Jumping from one link to another, this melon will eat the next one, and before you know it, time will pass." In recent years, her myopia has deepened by 100 degrees.

  One day in November last year, at two in the morning, Lin Xuan, who was still staring at her phone, suddenly felt dry and tingling in her eyes.

She realized that it was her body's signal that she couldn't do it again.

She suffered from severe depression 5 years ago and was rescued by a doctor.

It is precisely because she has experienced life and death that protecting her body has become the strongest motivation for her to quit her mobile phone.

  Li Xiaoke, a member of the "Anti-Technology Dependence Group", feels that mobile phone addiction is a state that is not under his control.

She has worked in a foreign company in Shanghai for 5 years. In 2019, she felt a lot of work pressure due to her promotion, and she became addicted to playing mobile games.

At one point, she found herself working 4 hours a day and playing games for 8 hours.

"At that time, I clearly felt that during this process, I was very tired of the game, but I would open it subconsciously. Sometimes I quit the game and subconsciously pressed the button for the next round." Li Xiao It can be said that she felt that her state was not right, and she decided to quit gaming, but unexpectedly, she began to fall in love with online novels again.

  "Anxiety, confusion, boredom... We longed to overcome these negative states through the screen, and we did at first. But slowly, over time, our anxiety, confusion, and boredom came back, and they came back even more fiercely. The screen The connected online world, instead of helping us overcome these negative states, actually deepens them.” Yanxian, a legal counsel for a company in Shenzhen, once posted a post on the “Screen Away Project” group, discussing why people need to stay away from screens.

  Yanxian realized six years ago that overuse of mobile phones was a problem.

At that time, he was still in college, and he used his mobile phone almost all the time outside of his studies. He even used his mobile phone between homework and lectures.

He found that in the face of the bombardment of massive fragmented information, he would gain a sense of security, but after brushing for an hour and putting down the phone, he could hardly recall anything, and a sense of emptiness would follow.

"Browsing dramas, watching lace news and short videos are the most direct ways to solve boredom, but simple and repetitive stimulation can produce dopamine in a short period of time, and gradually make people lose the desire and ability to think and change." He wrote.

  Zuo Ying is the founder of the "Anti-Technology Dependence Group".

As a graduate student of human cultural heritage, the biggest trouble her mobile phone brings to her is impetuousness. For example, when facing a social topic, after reading the massive information on the Internet, she will choose a point of view that she recognizes, and then directly give up her own thinking. process.

Zuo Ying felt that her ability to think independently was being weakened.

"I will periodically fall into the impetuous feeling of using the mobile phone, and I hate this feeling." Wang Shan, a Chinese teacher from a primary school in Qingdao, feels the same way. I settled down to read the papers and English articles.

"You don't need to use your brain to watch small videos. Slowly, your ability to think deeply will be lost."

  The iron box locks the mobile phone and does psychological counseling

  After deciding to quit cellphones, Li Zhen conducts psychological counseling once or twice a week.

The counselor used cognitive-behavioral therapy, which allowed her to observe her own behavior, followed by some therapy.

Li Zhen spent three weeks recording when she wanted to play with her phone.

After self-observation, she found that there are roughly two situations: First, she encountered a difficult thing to deal with, such as a colleague made her feel depressed, and she could not reply.

Another situation is that she has just completed a good job, reward herself, and also wants to play with her mobile phone.

  But most of the time, like Li Xiaoke, she uses her phone to escape reality.

Li Zhen said that at that time, it was very stressful to change to a new job, not only had conflicts with colleagues, but also had no friends in the new city, and less contact with domestic parents, but she did not have a channel to vent, so she was immersed in her mobile phone.

  After each psychological consultation, she will get two to three days of calm, can control herself well, and have a better relationship with her mobile phone.

In a few days, the effect will decline like a curve.

  "The hardest thing about quitting a mobile phone is that this era requires you to match this tool, which is just like your organ. For example, when I go to work in China, I need to use DingTalk or WeChat to communicate, and I also need to use WeChat to contact my parents or friends." Li Zhen It is said that these functions make people have to use the mobile phone, and every time you use some other software, you will open it unconsciously, and the time will pass unknowingly.

  After firming up her belief in quitting mobile phones, Li Zhen installed an app for quitting mobile phones, turned off the push of all apps, and stopped bringing her mobile phone into the bedroom before going to bed.

Difficulties in work and life, she gradually began to face, no longer escape, and later she found that these problems did not seem to be as terrible as she imagined.

When Li Zhen finished her 12th psychological consultation, her mobile phone usage time gradually dropped from 7-10 hours a day to four or five hours.

  Yanxian has tried many methods of quitting mobile apps, but the results are not ideal.

"The punishment mechanism of some quitting mobile apps is that if you use your mobile phone within an unauthorized time, it will ring." Yan Xian said, "But you will evade the control of this software by uninstalling or some background methods." Often he makes up his mind to achieve very little use time today, and then the next day will retaliate and return to a state of cell phone addiction.

He even took a more extreme approach - buying a locked iron case to keep the phone in and physically isolating it.

  During the postgraduate entrance examination, Yanxian really got rid of his mobile phone. Apart from sleeping and eating, he was studying and preparing for the exam every day. He didn't even care if he didn't turn it on all day.

But after work, the mobile phone has become an inseparable thing. When he rests on weekends, he still can't help playing with his mobile phone.

Fortunately, "After a few years of exploration, my understanding of mobile phones is not as simple as before. Basically, I have 70% control over mobile phones." The game with mobile phones is still difficult in Yanxian's view. Yes, people are not only facing a mobile phone, but also the design team behind the app with the goal of increasing user usage time.

  Zhao Wenxi, a graduate student in the Chinese Department of a university in Wuhan, once posted a post to share her 22-day experience of quitting mobile phones.

She downloaded the Jie mobile app and tried to cut her phone usage from 8 hours a day to 90 minutes.

"Some software will set a limit for users to use their mobile phones, and the screen will be grayed out when the time comes." She felt particularly distressed at the beginning, sometimes like a drug addict who suddenly became addicted to drugs, and she couldn't bear it when she was bored or very tired. Keep turning the phone on, and once it's on, it's hard to turn it off again.

"It's like a black hole, it's easy to attract me." She later adjusted the target usage time to 3 hours a day.

Fortunately, after a week, she gradually adapted to this state.

At that time, Zhao Wenxi had just started her internship. She would concentrate on reading the information she wanted to read at noon, and basically did not look at her mobile phone during the day.

"When I really wanted to turn on my phone, I forced myself not to read it. I either went to exercise immediately, or I immediately picked up the book beside me and read it first."

  break up

  As a researcher of social media, Dong Chenyu's initial motivation for research was to self-solve his doubts.

He also spent a lot of time in an app without knowing it, and he called it a "time thief."

  Dong Chenyu said that since the popularity of smart phones, the mobile phone is no longer a simple communication tool.

We are not using mobile phones now, we are living in mobile phones.

Our lives are being appified.

From a micro level, if these apps on mobile phones want to survive, the first thing is to ensure their daily active users.

They must want you to keep visiting it.

And this is a kind of knowledge with a kind of psychological manipulation, a combination of technology and psychology.

  "Technology can be addictive in many ways. For example, you often see a little red dot on an app that triggers your dopamine release. Dopamine is not released when we are happy, it is when we encounter When the uncertainty is excited, it will secrete a lot." Dong Chenyu said that if a "3" is displayed on WeChat, and after opening it, all three are responses from your very good friends, you will be very satisfied.

But sometimes when you click on 33 posts, all of them are likes from people who are not very connected, and you are not satisfied.

If you feel satisfied every time you open the app, the uncertainty will be reduced, and the secretion of dopamine will also be reduced.

"Like a person who has a lot of fish and meat every day, he is not interested in the big fish and meat." Therefore, this uncertainty is even more addictive.

  In his 1997 monograph on the history of artificial intelligence, "Evolution in Machines," George Dyson wrote that everything humans do to make computer networks easier to manipulate also makes computers for different reasons. It's easier for the web to manipulate humans.

  When mobile phones are embedded in our lives, what will be the result?

Dong Chenyu said that our lives are further fragmented, and people who often look at their mobile phones are likely to have a decline in their ability to read long texts in a disconnected environment.

American author Nicholas Carr wrote in Shallows: How the Internet Poisoned Our Brains, "Of all the sacrifices we make, the greatest sacrifice is when we devote ourselves to the Internet as our omnipotent medium. It could be a loss of focus."

  Dong Chenyu is doing a study on the explosion of information in WeChat groups.

He found that WeChat groups have also become a life dilemma for contemporary people.

"We now have various groups such as work groups, family groups, takeaway groups, etc., which makes people feel that there is an explosion of information. There may be 100 unread messages at one click, and maybe only 3 of them are related to you, but you need to keep moving forward. Looking at it, this process is called 'climbing the stairs'." Dong Chenyu said that the explosion of information makes it difficult to focus on one thing.

  Recently, Dong Chenyu is in the process of "breaking away" the mobile app.

The process of quitting mobile phones, in Dong Chenyu's view, is essentially resisting the manipulation of people by technology.

"The easiest way to judge whether it is in harmony with electronic devices is to see if there is a sense of crisis of autonomy." He said that although he often posts Weibo, if he deletes Weibo, it doesn't matter if he doesn't post it.

But if someone feels particularly anxious after deleting it, it's a state of addiction.

But now, no one can delete WeChat because it has become a communication tool.

"This is our destiny in the digital age."

  "Media literacy is too neglected." Dong Chenyu said that the key point of media literacy lies in disenchantment and criticism, that is, knowing that news can be wrong, and can judge which news is credible and which is not credible through media literacy.

But in the age of social media, this critical force is no longer enough to support media literacy.

  “Before we used newspapers, mobile phones, and now we live in social media. I think the key point is coexistence, how to use the media wisely, how to live with the media, how to make the media bring us happiness, not Makes our lives worse. These are beyond the dimension of information. In other words, how to get me to use the internet, not the internet 'use me'." He said we need to get teenagers to be more media literate, their future technology The environment can be more difficult and complex than what we face.

  On March 28, 2019, the Cyberspace Administration of China guided and organized short video platforms such as Douyin, Kuaishou, and Volcano Video to launch a pilot anti-addiction system for teenagers.

On May 28, 2019, the National Cyberspace Administration of China fully promoted and launched the "Youth Anti-Addiction System" on major online video platforms across the country.

The newly revised Law on the Protection of Minors, which will take effect from June 1, 2021, adds a chapter on "Network Protection".

  According to relevant requirements, at present, major domestic online games, videos, live broadcasts and other platforms have launched the "teenage mode". When you open the app, a prompt will pop up. You can choose to set the "teenage mode" without logging in. To regulate and guide the online behavior of minors by means of service functions and other means.

However, there are still loopholes in the "teenage mode" of the current major online platforms. For example, minors can bypass this mode by entering unlock passwords, jumping accounts, etc.

  From the world of mobile phones back to real life

  Although the first reason to quit cellphones was to protect her eyesight, Lin Xuan gradually discovered that after breaking out from the online world, she saw more beauty in the real world.

Lin Xuan has time to read more books and listen to more music.

She put down her mobile phone during dinner and communicated with her friends seriously.

She pays attention to every evening sky, to the faces of every passerby.

  Li Zhen is obsessed with sports in her spare time.

"I found that exercise is an activity that can bring positive ideas to people, and I feel good after every exercise." She said that in addition to going to the gym, she also learned hip-hop.

"It makes me feel that there are other things in my life that can make me so forgetful and so happy. I'm still in a dance group now, and many of them feel that their lives have been changed after dancing."

  "After buying time back, you will have time to think about what you can do. But if you don't make good use of this time, you will easily return to the 'mobile camp'." Yan Xian said that he now keeps studying for a period of time every day.

During the quarantine at home, he cooked three meals a day by himself, and the house was kept clean and tidy.

In the past, when I was addicted to my phone, my clothes would not be washed for several days, but not now.

Last weekend, he played badminton with friends for two hours.

"Playing with a mobile phone actually consumes a lot of people's spirit, but playing football is not tired at all, and reading a book will not be tired, but will have a very fulfilling feeling."

  A friend of Yanxian also developed a new hobby after quitting his mobile phone - taking the bus.

"He probably didn't think he would be hooked on this. He usually takes the bus when he has time, and doesn't go to any destination, just to see the city." Yan Xian said, what's more interesting is that he also discovered A group of bus enthusiasts.

They know the driver very well, eat together, and occasionally take the bus at night.

There is also a special term for taking the bus in this group called "running".

They'll say, go out and run it tonight.

  Zuo Ying seems to have returned to the "mobile phone camp". Last year, she opened a post in the group to read and punch cards before going to bed, hoping to use sleep instead of brushing the mobile phone, and set the daily mobile phone use time to 4 hours.

  But now, with the outbreak in isolation at home, her plans had to be interrupted.

"After the epidemic was severe, it became difficult to quit cellphones," Zuo Ying said. "After being isolated, everyone became very vulnerable and needed emotional support. Now it's the fourth day of my home isolation. Can't see my friends, and can only meet social needs through my phone."

  Compared with the 8 hours a day when she was addicted to mobile phones in the past, Zuo Ying's mobile phone usage time has been reduced a lot, but she still feels a little frustrated.

She hopes to pay more attention to real life, cultivate the ability to handle some things without relying on technology, and not drown in the convenience and control brought by technology.

  And Zhao Wenxi has returned to real life from the mobile phone world.

Do not use mobile phones on the way to practice, Zhao Wenxi forced himself to observe the roadside environment.

People on the side of the road, kittens, puppies, flowers and plants, and even cars are interesting.

"During that time, there was a small flower blooming in the school, but I might have walked past it while looking at my phone on the road and never noticed it." Zhao Wenxi said that she found that the original flower blooming in the school looked like this, and the color was like this of.

  One day on the way home, Zhao Wenxi suddenly saw that in the afterglow of the setting sun, a middle-aged man was carrying his child's pink Disney princess schoolbag and a briefcase on his other shoulder; a courier in one hand, The other hand held his little friend.

With a smile on his face, he was very gentle, chatting with his daughter.

Zhao Wenxi was at a certain distance from them, but was stabbed hard by this warm scene.

She felt that the picture was so beautiful that it was difficult for her to express in words, "This scene has a bigger impact on you than any warm article on the Internet."

  (Li Zhen, Zhao Wenxi, Lin Xuan, and Li Xiaoke are pseudonyms in the text)

  Beijing News reporter Pu Xiao