Tony Fadell is famous as the guy who helped Apple invent the iPhone. He stayed with the company as it created the iPhone. If he’s worried about addiction to smartphones, we should probably listen. This is from an article he wrote for Wired.
In 1976, Steve Jobs dreamed of a “computer for the rest of us”. Forty years later, his dream has been realised, and more than a third of the world’s population now uses a smartphone. But the success of these devices has also brought unintended consequences, including concerns around addiction and overuse.
Many people say “this is a Facebook problem.” Yes, some app providers that rely on advertising or in-app purchases are incentivised to distract us and take advantage of the fact that we now have these always-on devices with us.
I strongly believe this is not just a “Facebook problem” or just a “kids’ issue”. All of us, adults and children, have had our lives transformed in the decade since the iPhone was unveiled. Now we have always-connected email, messaging, shopping, banking and so on, in addition to social, gaming and entertainment apps. Many of these seem benign, but we use them more than we know.
There is no consensus on what constitutes healthy device usage. We need more data so that we can establish useful recommendations.