Should Addictive Tech Be Banned? Psychologist Adam Alter Weighs in on New Regulation
Republican Senator Josh Hawley recently proposed a bill that would ban tech companies from implementing the addictive features that prompt us to spend more and more time on our devices. Adam Alter, the New York Times bestselling author of Irresistible, weighs in.
Rather than a full-on ban on certain tech features, psychologist Adam Alter suggests that we devote “money, time, attention [and] resources to understanding the problem.” The problem, of course, being that we’re devoting a considerable, perhaps worrisome, amount of our attention to our screens. And while some companies have begun to introduce new features that curb usage, Alter is not convinced that it’s enough: “I think they’re doing the very bare minimum they need to do to be able to convince people that they care about our well-being. I’m not totally convinced that they do. And that’s just because they’re part of a model that tries to make as much money as possible and that requires capturing our attention.”
While he acknowledges that we, as users, bear some personal responsibility when it comes to how much time we spend on our devices, Alter says the odds are stacked against us. “I don’t think it’s wrong to say that we all have some role to play as individual consumers. But there is really an army of people who are doing everything they can with considerable resources, with access to huge amounts of data, to ensure that we spend every spare minute on our phones. It’s not really a fair fight.”
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