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Just because something annoys you or you find it conflicts with your values does not make it unhealthy.

I remember life before smartphones. I remember boredom. It sucked. I would never go back to the agonizing pain of sitting in the DMV for three ours or standing in line at a grocery store just for some "missed moment" where I study the shitty tabloids in line or DoT pamphlets.

Romanticising the past is not new. Whether it's television, hot showers, or smartphones, there will always be cynics who wish a simpler life on the rest of us.

I am not romanticising the past. I am not advocating to stop using smartphones altogether. What I am saying is that people by and large don't seem to use it in a healthy way.

It seems many of the folks are using smartphones exactly in the way you describe- as an ill defined and uncertain but good enough means to plug some passing hole in your day. Is that good? I don't know. Are you losing out on using that time to prioritize what matters to you? Probably. The most damning thing about this is that you are constantly reaching for something with no fixed outcome planned in advance and allow that to temporarily occupy your mental space (if I wanted to exaggerate I'd say "hijack your mind"). This does not look like a good thing to me.

Boredom can be uncomfortable, but it is not necessarily bad. It boosts creativity for example [1]. Not sure what are the benefits of mindless browsing on the phone then, if we suppose that it's mainly about killing boredom.

1. https://www.fastcompany.com/3042046/the-science-behind-how-b...

With all due respect, I think this says a lot about you if you honestly equate boredom as pre-smartphones. Millions upon millions of us led a boredom-free life prior to the smart and/or cellular/mobile phone. And there's far more to do these days.

Please tell how you passed the 3 hours at the DMV without boredom pre-smart phone?

It was called a "book"

It's still called that.

I access them on my phone now.

This is going to be a bit like the gambling debate, since if you do just use it responsibly then yeah, it's probably going to be a net benefit by most value systems. The issue is is the creaping, insidious havoc it is wreaking it peoples lives.

I have seen people - who by simple analysis of the counterfactual would be ok without the internet - have their lives ruined.

As for the young, it is a massive change and we cannot be sure about the harm it may have on them as a cohort as they get older. There was a study that showed phones cost the equivalent of (I think it was) a missed week of school per year in educational attainment.

But I think more than that. Like a lot of dependents/addicts people will , when being candid admit that they would prefer a life without these devices (I like to think I am not merely projecting here).

Romanticising may not be new, but the rate of progress on many serious issues has halted in the west. Despite, new drugs, new technology, higher funding ... etc.

  - Depression and suicide are increasing problems

  - Educational attainment has stalled

  - Productivity growth has ground to a halt

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