Why putting the screen of your phone in black and white can help you to depend less on your cell phone

Why putting the screen of your phone in black and white can help you to depend less on your cell phone

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Cell phone dependence is becoming more common among adults and young people around the world.

Although seeing the world in color through the screens was one of the great advances in technology, more and more people prefer it in black and white. At least, on your phone.

And is that every time there are more people “addicted” to the cell … and the color palette of the applications we use is not accidental.

Social networks use bright colors to stimulate our brain and attract our gaze to certain stimuli, as it happens with the packaging of products in the supermarket.

Changing the screen so we can only see gray can reduce the addiction to the mobile phone , weakening the visual impact of the device.

The technology ethicist and former Google employee Tristan Harris was one of the first to push this trend towards mid-2017. The idea is to make the phone less stimulating.

Thomas Z. Ramsoy, executive director of Neurons, a firm based in Denmark that uses brain scans to study apps , recently told The New York Times that it is “a very good idea”, as well as taking the sound out of the cell phone (or disconnect certain notifications).

black and white
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Image caption Putting the screen in black and white is a simple trick to apply.
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How to make the color disappear from the screen?

On Android :

  • Go to “Developer Options”, under “Settings” / “Accessibility”.
  • Look for the option “Simulate color space”, you will see several options, depending on your mobile model.
  • Click on “Monochromatics” or “Achromatopsia” .

On iPhone :

  • In the “Settings” menu, scroll down and click on the “General” option.
  • Click on “Accessibility”.
  • Search and activate the option “Grayscale” .

* In both cases, the screen is black and white, but the cell phone camera still takes color pictures.

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“Positive reinforcements”

Tristan Harris has given several TED talks in which he talks about the strategies he uses to depend less on cell phones and how technology companies use strategies to “control” our minds.

“When we talk about technology, we tend to talk about it as a huge opportunity … it could go in any direction, but it’s going in a very specific direction because it does not evolve randomly,” he says.

“Everything has one objective: to capture our attention, and the best way to do it is to know how our mind works.”

woman looking at cell
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Image caption If you do not want the cell phone to control your mind, find the way to control it to him.

Harris says that there are several persuasion techniques to achieve that purpose, which becomes “a race” between companies.

The Center for Humane Technology, to which Harris and other Silicon Valley technologists belong, explains on its website that colorful icons give our brain “brilliant rewards every time we unlock it.”

“Set up your phone in a gray scale to eliminate those positive reinforcements,” advises the agency. “It helps many people to check their cell phone less.”

Max Stossel, who worked on designing social media strategies and now belongs to the Center for Humane Technology, told the BBC that “when you understand neuroscience and you know how to develop applications, you can basically program the brain .”

“There are many people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to keep you engaged, and they are very good at it.”

Stossel calls it the “attention economy” and ensures that the technology will perfect over time how to capture our attention. “That’s why we need a change,” he says.

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