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Education Apple

Former Senior VP of Apple Tony Fadell Says Company Needs To Tackle Smartphone Addiction (wired.co.uk) 74

In an op-ed published on Wired, former SVP at Apple Tony Fadell argues that smartphone manufacturers -- Apple in particular -- need to do a better job of educating users about how often they use their mobile phones, and the resulting dangers that overuse might bring about. An excerpt: Take healthy eating as an analogy: we have advice from scientists and nutritionists on how much protein and carbohydrate we should include in our diet; we have standardised scales to measure our weight against; and we have norms for how much we should exercise. But when it comes to digital "nourishment", we don't know what a "vegetable", a "protein" or a "fat" is. What is "overweight" or "underweight"? What does a healthy, moderate digital life look like? I think that manufacturers and app developers need to take on this responsibility, before government regulators decide to step in -- as with nutritional labelling. Interestingly, we already have digital-detox clinics in the US. I have friends who have sent their children to them. But we need basic tools to help us before it comes to that. I believe that for Apple to maintain and even grow its customer base it can solve this problem at the platform level, by empowering users to understand more about how they use their devices. To do this, it should let people track their digital activity in detail and across all devices.

Former Senior VP of Apple Tony Fadell Says Company Needs To Tackle Smartphone Addiction

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  • by moehoward ( 668736 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @01:14PM (#56446725)

    Oh, lord. These tech execs falling all over themselves to tell us how much they hate their own products.

    Puke.

    Please just sell us more and let us decide for ourselves, instead of telling us "Your'e doing it wrong!" Shut up and give me more shiny things to play with.

  • If a child is "addicted" to mobile devices, it's an issue with parenting. Maybe the parent is "addicted" as well. In any case, trying to un-addict the child is like treating final-stage cancer, whereas promoting prevention measures (ie, teaching good parenting) would likely be much more successful.

    • But what "good" parenting?
          Forcing the children to go to church and indoctrinating them into the various religious cults out there ? (Christianity, Islam, etc.)
          Spare the rod and spoil the child ?
          Living wages and decent hours so parents have the time and energy to spend with their kids and actually raise them ?

      • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @02:30PM (#56447215) Homepage Journal

        But what "good" parenting?

        Forcing the children to go to church and indoctrinating them into the various religious cults out there ? (Christianity, Islam, etc.)

        Spare the rod and spoil the child ?

        Living wages and decent hours so parents have the time and energy to spend with their kids and actually raise them ?

        However.....when these things were the norm We didn't see teachers in classrooms having to make keeping order in class their main undertaking each day...rather, they were able to TEACH.

        Those ideals and methods you seem to try to disparage...when they were the norm for US society, sure did seem to work...

        And as they've been tossed aside, you see the plethora of problems we now have.

        Just sayin'.....I've observed both manners of raising youth and have seen the massive negative change over time.

    • by deesine ( 722173 )

      If a child is "addicted" to mobile devices, it's an issue with parenting.

      Talking about addiction: to the extent that marketing teams directly target children, society & the law do not agree with you. Reduced personal responsibility and bad parenting are being enabled by tech, by creating virtual baby-sitting spaces and putting "switches" & "gates" on entire domains of human activity, giving social designers great big attenuating knobs to dial in desired results. So seriously, how is good parenting taught and promoted (I agree with you)?

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @01:20PM (#56446769)

    I find it odd that he's referred to as "former SVP at Apple Tony Fadell" rather than by his most recent major stint as the "co-founder and former CEO of Nest who was forcibly ousted after squandering hundreds of millions of Google's dollars". It strikes me as a flagrant attempt by Wired to avoid undermining the credibility of the source who is giving them material that makes for a sensationalist headline.

    To be fair, Fadell's prior work—both with founding Nest and prior to that at Apple with the iPod and iPhone—is outstanding, but, so far as I've seen, he really has rested on his laurels for the last few years as the worldhas passed him by, so I'm not sure why we should be listening to what he has to say now.

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      In Fadell's defense, even spending 1$ on Nest project would qualify as squandering.
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @01:26PM (#56446797)

    But when it comes to digital "nourishment", we don't know what a "vegetable", a "protein" or a "fat" is. What is "overweight" or "underweight"? What does a healthy, moderate digital life look like?

    Sorry.... ALL that is nonsensical. What is unhealthy is when you have a habit that is (1) Beyond your Control, and (2) Causes harm or prevents you from pursuing goals.

    "Using a smartphone" is not one thing ---- there are MANY different things you could be doing, some of the things you do could be productive, some of them less-so, some may sharpen some skills or abilities, some may be fairly useless such as exchanging funny cat memes on social media: on the other hand, some of the things you do on a smartphone could be highly critical to meeting your goals, for example personal development/app-based education or training, scheduling business meetings, business transactions performed on the phone: If your entire work/career/job can fit into things done on your phone then you could justify 8 hours, no problem.

    How often and how long you can use a smartphone: depends on where you are in life, and what you hope to achieve.
    Most of us have many responsibilities and things we need to get done every week and a limited number of hours per day to get things done, And if we're not productive enough and not getting the important things done because one activity is eating up all the available time, THEN that's a problem, and we need to make a change.

    OTHERWISE it's a subjective choice --- how much of your entertainment/free time do you want to spend in an app. Maybe you're concerned about relationships and SmartPhone usage taking time away from that - Well, there's no exact formula for that..... Maybe you chose to stay single; do you really think going out to drink at random bars could be healthier than staying at home and playing a game? If you're in a relationship --- how much time you should spend focused on a significant other or friend or family per week; that's different for every relationship, and how fulfilling people want it to be, And nobody outside has the right to tell you what that balance has to be. Same goes for how much time you're staring at a little screen per week.

    • I have an app that lets me scan bar codes which I use at work, I also receive work email. The thing I use my cell phone for most is making and receiving calls and I really don't use it much at outside of work.

      My wife used to manage a convenience store she has had to fire people because they wouldn't stop texting, snapchat, and posting on facebook while at work. If it keeps you from holding down a job then it's probably time to seek professional help.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        they wouldn't stop texting, snapchat, and posting on facebook while at work.

        Frivolous social media usage (FB, Snap) while working are BIG no-nos. A couple times a day while on break may be OKAY, but not while you are on the clock and there are things to do. During those times, even 20 minutes is not appropriate.

    • prevents you from pursuing goals.

      Being able to spend more time on the cell phone is the goal.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      nobody outside has the right to tell you what that balance has to be

      Luckily for you, nobody is telling you what that balance has to be.
  • The next iPhone will produce an electric shock through its case if you pick the phone up more than twice an hour or hold it longer than a minute. Perhaps it will give you 15 second delay just in case you are actually making a phone call in which case it will disable the shock until the call is ended.

  • Since when are companies responsible for policing an individual's self control? This is even more ridiculous than the "nanny state".
  • It's funny he chose protein and carbs as his example, because protein and sugar are the two things that food producers DON'T tell us how much we are eating. Go ahead, pick up the closest packaged food to you and look at the nutrition label. Protein and sugar are the only items that don't have a % daily value. Food producers don't put those numbers on there because they don't want their Snickers bars to have to say "3000%" recommended daily intake of sugar. Same with protein. Meat packers don't want to tell

  • I think that manufacturers and app developers need to take on this responsibility, before government regulators decide to step in -- as with nutritional labelling (sic).

    I'm pretty sure the powers that be like the zombified masses, they're easier to manipulate. "Don't worry about thinking for yourself, keep up that Twitter #slacktivism!"

    Even if they did step in, all they're going to do is put a warning label on the box: "Warning: Cell phones can be addictive!" Right below that will be a second warning for CA residents: "Cell phones have been shown to cause cancer in California."

  • Then work to make it more resistible once it becomes an enormous success.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @01:52PM (#56446981)
    It's not THE PHONES. It's the services, information, data, tools, communication, maps and other things one gets to through that device that are the issue. People aren't addicted to their phones. They're addicted to their social contacts, to the news, to the novel they're reading, to the weather forecast, and such. Before those phones, they'd have been "addicted" to the AM radio while they were driving, they folded map they looked at, the printed novel they gazed at over lunch, the stock pages in the newspaper, the tabloid paper they picked up at the grocery store, and all of those other analogs.

    How much novel reading or stock research is healthy? It's not the phones, just like it's not the guns, and not the spoons.
    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      My favorite picture that someone unearthed: http://thefuturebuzz.com/wp-co... [thefuturebuzz.com]

      From http://thefuturebuzz.com/2014/... [thefuturebuzz.com]

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      I fly weekly, so I see all kinds of zombified people from all over the place pretty frequently. I make a point to see what people are doing on their gadgets, and 9/10 people use them to play some mindless games or watch some movie or use some social media. If people used phones for doing something useful with their lives, I doubt we'd even be having this discussion. The problem is that most people are filling their minds with trash, and do, indeed seem to be addicted to doing such.
    • People are more addicted to the fear of missing out. That is why the joke goes "I look forward to sitting down to relax and read my book this weekend, only to ignore the book and instead browse Twitter for four hours". The instantaneous is happening and people think if they don't tap in, they are already behind all their peers when it comes to knowledge, culture, and being relevant.
  • Just become some people are too stupid/lazy/weak that they can't pull their noses away from their phones that's Apple/Samsung's fault?

    What the fuck is wrong with people that they believe this shit?

  • Do donut manufacturers agonize over donut addiction?

    Do we expect them to?

  • I would love to move back to a feature phone. Unfortunately, there is no feature phone I can find that has a camera as good as an iPhone 4, let alone a S9 or iPhone 8. A feature phone built like an iPhone SE (touch screen, same form factor and with a solid camera) and that can install some restaurant apps would be a great detox setup.

  • the xbox kinect used to judge me for playing too long. netflix judges me for watching too long. all it does is make me mad and ignore it even more than if i had naturally come to the conclusion.
  • I think that phones could definitely become safer, not just through better education in how to use them but also through how the phone interacts with the user.
    This is something that Apple, Google (and others makers of "Smartphone" OS:es) could do better.

    For instance, if a phone detects movement it should either require that a handsfree/sync is connected or ask for confirmation that the user is not driving a vehicle.
    Make the exception an app entitlement and approve for your app store only those where that en

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