TheBLAST Podcast

042.2 – Put the Phone Down! [PART 2]

March 18, 2019 Season 5 Episode 5
TheBLAST Podcast
042.2 – Put the Phone Down! [PART 2]
Chapters
00:00:00
Last Time on TheBLAST Podcast
00:00:40
Quoting from Catherine Price's Book: How to Break UpWith Your SmartPhone
00:04:39
Examining the Psychology of Smartphone Addiction
00:16:25
There's a reason you're getting amazing apps FOR FREE - You are the product
00:19:59
Musical Interlude - The Bridge by Casting Crowns
00:23:12
Social Media - The Junk Food of the Internet
00:26:47
The Importance of Guarding Your Attention
00:30:08
On the next Episode...
TheBLAST Podcast
042.2 – Put the Phone Down! [PART 2]
Mar 18, 2019 Season 5 Episode 5
TheBLAST Podcast
In this episode, we continue to tackle the ever-growing problem of smartphone addiction.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

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In this episode, we continue to tackle the ever-growing problem of smartphone addiction. Pastor Adam begins this episode by quoting again from Catherine Price’s amazing book: How to Break Up With Your Phone

Important Links for further study:

During the break

“The Bridge” from Casting Crown’s AMAZING new album, Only Jesus

On the tail end of this episode, we discuss why your attention is so valuable, and why it is so wasteful to give so much of it to the Junk Food of the internet: Social Media.

Join us next time for Part 2 of the conversation about taking dominion over your smartphone. 

Thanks again for listening! 

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Adam Dragoon:
0:00
Previously heard on TheBLAST Podcast.:
Adam Dragoon:
0:02
Now that the thing is in your pocket and it's close to you 24 hours a day, I believe that this truly does have not just a physical and an emotional impact on us, but also a spiritual impact on how we relate to our God in heaven, and that's why this is such an important thing for us to talk about:
Narrator:
0:22
On this episode of TheBLAST Podcast, Pastor Adam Dragoon and Mr. David Smale are blasting across the interwebs digging deeper into the practical application of God's word for our lives. Snowflakes beware, we're blasting off on this edition of TheBLAST Podcast.:
Adam Dragoon:
0:41
Smartphones also talk back at us. They Nag us, they disturb us when we're working. They demand our attention and reward us when we give it to them. Smartphones engage in disruptive behaviors that have traditionally been performed only by extremely annoying people. Ooh, what's, what's more? They give us access to the entire Internet and unlike previous technologies, we keep them near us at all times.:
Dave Smale:
1:08
That's so true.:
Adam Dragoon:
1:09
That's the key. Smartphones are also one of the first popular technologies to be specifically engineered to get us to spend time on them. In the words of Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager who's now working to raise awareness about how our devices are designed to manipulate us. He says, quote, your telephone in the 1970s did not have a thousand engineers on the other side of the phone who are redesigning it to be more and more persuasive.:
Dave Smale:
1:36
Wow.:
Adam Dragoon:
1:37
And that is exactly the reason why that device that you're probably listening to us on right now, uh, can be potentially a great problem.:
Dave Smale:
1:46
Oh yeah.:
Adam Dragoon:
1:47
Thoughts on that, Dave?:
Dave Smale:
1:49
Well, like I said, I mean, they don't, they didn't design something for you to not use it. Right. But it's more than that. They didn't design it for you for it to just sit idly in your pocket. They have to keep nagging you. Hey, I need your attention again, again, again, because, uh, and why do they do that? Why can't they just make a product that you can just use when you need it? Why did they have to make it so that it nags you? Well, it's because without that there's a, the revenue stream sort of dries up.:
Adam Dragoon:
2:24
It's all based on the acquiring of money. That's really what it all comes down to. The longer you're looking at your phone, the more, uh, the more apt you are to purchase something. Absolutely. Um, and, and, uh, but it's more than that. It's more than just, um, the, the greed. It's more than just the, you know, the capitalistic system that we're part of. It's also about locking you in. And, um, and so I think that there's a, that the tech industry is already onto this.:
Dave Smale:
2:56
Oh my gosh.:
Adam Dragoon:
2:57
We know that because so many of the CEOs of these big companies like apple and Google and Facebook and so many of the, uh, of the, the big guys at the top, they actually are on record as saying that they do not allow their children to have smartphones technology in their hands, uh, until much later on in life, which is very interesting when you start thinking about it.:
Dave Smale:
3:22
Just think about that for a second. Uh, tech CEOS don't allow their children to have tech.:
Adam Dragoon:
3:30
And in fact, they're in silicon valley. There are, um, there are little private schools popping up everywhere that are smartphone-technology-free that are, uh, not just smartphone but tech free tech. So they're going back to, you know, books and chalkboards and, you know, that's it. Yeah. To raise their children in that environment because they know how disruptive this technology can be.:
Dave Smale:
3:55
Yeah. That's, that's incredible to think about when, you know, for years, Christians were, you know, looked at as all the people who were, you know, ignoring, you know, they're science deniers or, you know, they're, they're just wanting to live archaically. They're not wanting to come into the, you know, to the 20th century or the 24th century or what, you know, whatever. And, and now, uh, tech CEOS are doing the exact same thing that old school Christians used to do, you know, homeschooling and, you know, and a classical education Christians we're doing this years ago. Absolutely. Yup. And, and now it's like, oh, well now tech CEOs are doing it.:
Adam Dragoon:
4:40
Right. So, uh, going back to the idea of the slot machine, there is probably no greater illustration of the, the effect that the smartphone has on our brain. Then the, uh, illustration of a slot machine. So most everyone who's hearing this understands what a slot machine is and what it does. Basically you put a coin into the slot, you pull the lever and you watch the thing spin around and you're waiting to see if you got the lucky combination. Right, right. Okay. So why Dave, why is that such an addictive thing to, to experience:
Dave Smale:
5:17
a well, because every so often you win something:
Adam Dragoon:
5:22
that's right. They call it the intermittent reinforcement and there is so much psychology behind this that they have, they have programs. So long before smartphones, before technology, the people at the casino already figured this out. So the thing is that you're not going to win every time, obviously.:
Dave Smale:
5:41
Right.:
Adam Dragoon:
5:41
Okay. But on the other hand, you are also not going to win, you know, once every year.:
Dave Smale:
5:50
Yeah.:
Adam Dragoon:
5:50
There is, there is some kind of ratio built into every slot machine that says how often, um, there's going to be a winning combination. Right. And it whether it's one out of 50 poles, one out of 20 poles, who knows. But the point is that it's, it is an intermittent when in between a bunch of losses.:
Dave Smale:
6:11
Yup.:
Adam Dragoon:
6:11
And that pull, that desire is what keeps people feeding the machine quarter after quarter after quarter and nickel left or Nicola for nickel. Right. Because that, that intermittent reinforcement is what causes you to keep coming back to it. Maybe the next one's going to be a winner. Now, may I suggest to you that the reason you are checking your emails at 1:30 in the morning is exactly the same thing.:
Dave Smale:
6:43
Hmm. Well, hasn't it already been scientifically proven that any time you get a text message or an email or somebody uses your Twitter handle in when you know, they, they tweet your Twitter handle, you know, the, or you get tagged in a photo on Instagram or Facebook that there's a chemical released in your brain? Yeah, it's called dopamine.:
Adam Dragoon:
7:10
Dopamine. And this is the chemical hit that you are getting every time there is a bing, a buzz, a ding, a dap, a swoosh and that's why all of the are even just even just the rumble of your motor, your vibe motor inside, you know, inside your phone. It's all designed to keep you coming back. And it's the same exact psychology. It's the intermittent reinforcement. How many emails did you get today, Dave? 350 probably. How many of those are actually important?:
Dave Smale:
7:44
Zero.:
Adam Dragoon:
7:46
Maybe one or two a week. So, but that is the same exact thing that we keep going back to it. This one is from, you know, JC penny. That one is from a, somebody else I don't care about, but somewhere in the pile of garbage is something really important. Something that we're waiting for something that we need, something that is going to be good news and that's why we keep coming back. It's the same thing as a slot machine man. Yeah, it's amazing. They keep us coming back. That dopamine. So let's explain what dopamine is for a second. Okay. So okay, go ahead Dave.:
Dave Smale:
8:24
Well, dopamine is basically the chemical in your brain that it's basically the reward chemicals.:
Adam Dragoon:
8:30
So it's what makes you feel good. Yeah.:
Dave Smale:
8:33
So, um, so anytime you accomplish a task, even if it's a small task, dopamine is really, yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. So it's the reward center of the brain is where as we're dopamine is so:
Adam Dragoon:
8:50
it makes you feel good. And so, by the way, uh, I don't know if there's anyone in our audience who's ever been addicted to cocaine, uh, but for anyone who has, the reason why cocaine is such a euphoric experience is because this is what it does. Cocaine is the chemical that releases dopamine into your system. So basically, without you actually doing anything, the cocaine is allowing the dopamine to be released into your brain. And it just feels great. You feel wonderful and no wonder you keep going back and back and back to it. And why cocaine addictions is one of the worst to deal with. Uh, because, uh, you just feel good. And so if you could imagine your smart phone is a, is a similar in response, it's similar in effect to what cocaine does to the brain. And maybe you can start to get a reason why we are all so addicted to these things.:
Dave Smale:
9:48
Yeah. Um, there's a, a celebrity fitness trainer a on, and he does a lot of youtube videos. His name is Thomas Delauer. And uh, he actually did a video called my bad phone habits make eat more.:
Adam Dragoon:
10:04
Oh, I got to hear about this.:
Dave Smale:
10:05
Yeah. So, um, he was saying that, um, uh, I mean if you, you can look this up on youtube, we'll provide a link and provide a link. So he's saying that, that, uh, uh, if I'm anticipating something to happen and then I achieved that action and what I anticipate becomes a reality, something happens inside my brain that action is, I'm going to reach out and just touch this, this, uh, uh, dopamine, right? They're like, this is happening on such a small scale and a large scale throughout the entirety of the day. Every single thing you do, you reach out and touch a door handle. You might not, you may not realize that your brain is getting a signal when you accomplish a task, but it is. When you pick up a coffee cup, you bring it to your lips, you're still accomplishing a task. When it comes down to checking your phone, that is a very big dopamine hit. You're seeking something. You want to check your email, you want to check your texts, you want to check Facebook, all of this stuff, and when that happens, eventually, oh, what happens eventually is you have what is called down-regulation, meaning your body ends up not producing as much dopamine. So every single time that I reach out and check my phone compulsively, I'm getting a smaller and smaller and smaller, a diminishing effect, a diminishing hit of dopamine, meaning it's requiring me to check it more to get that aggregate amount of dopamine that I need to feel accomplished.:
Adam Dragoon:
11:42
This is the typical, scenario of what I used to get doesn't satisfy any more than you know, the first, the first hit was amazing. You're on top of the world. Second hit was also pretty good, but as it goes on, you need more and more of that substance to keep the addiction going. Yeah, it's exactly the same. And so that's why this is such a...:
Adam Dragoon:
12:08
The software engineers who are designing the apps on your smart phone, did you know that they purposefully are leaving out what it's called? The stopping points.:
Dave Smale:
12:20
Really?:
Adam Dragoon:
12:20
And what I mean by that is, if you've ever found yourself scrolling on your Facebook feed, did you ever notice that your Facebook feed never comes to an end?:
Dave Smale:
12:29
I noticed that,:
Adam Dragoon:
12:31
That there is no bottom of the page?:
Dave Smale:
12:34
Yeah.:
Adam Dragoon:
12:34
You can just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. There's no place to stop. There's no stopping point.:
Dave Smale:
12:40
Right.:
Adam Dragoon:
12:41
It's true on nearly everything. I mean, it used to be, I mean, it still is to some extent. When you're online or you're, you're on a computer, you know, you get to the end of a Google results page and there's a whole thing of the bottom and says, okay, you want to go to the next page? You know, that's like a stopping point. Nah, Nah, I don't think it's going to be on here. Let's, uh, let's turn it off. So your smartphone is designed to remove those stopping points to keep the dopamine flowing. Yeah. Okay. So, um, there's a guy who did an interview in 2017 on 60 minutes. The guy's name is Ramsey Brown and he is a founder of a startup company called dopamine labs that creates brain hacking code for APP companies.:
Dave Smale:
13:26
What?:
Adam Dragoon:
13:27
So the goal of the, of this guy and what he is designed to do, he's got a whole team of psychiatrists and software engineers. The goal is to keep people glued into the APP by figuring out exactly when the APP needs to do something to make you feel a little extra awesome.:
Dave Smale:
13:51
Whoa.:
Adam Dragoon:
13:51
So it is literally keeping track of the amount of time that you are looking at every single event that's happening in those apps and saying, okay, it's been just long enough that if we give them this little alert at this exact moment that they're going to stay in a little bit longer. So the example that they used during the interview was, um, was the Instagram APP.:
Dave Smale:
14:15
Oh, they're bad,:
Adam Dragoon:
14:15
which is owned by Facebook. And by the way, um, Instagram. So, so the example he explains that, uh, that they created the code which deliberately, listen to this, deliberately holds back showing users their new likes so that it can deliver a bunch of them in a sudden rush at the most effective moment possible. Meaning the moment at which seeing new likes will discourage you from closing the APP. So explain that translation. This is crazy.:
Dave Smale:
14:50
You, you post a picture, right?:
Adam Dragoon:
14:54
Lunch:
Dave Smale:
14:54
. Yeah. Right. And um, everybody who's on Instagram who's, uh, you know, following you or searching or whatever, they all see your foe, your post. Yeah. Fairly, fairly quick, within, within seconds of each other. And most of the time people don't wait minutes before they say, okay, I liked this post. They see it, they tap, tap the little heart button.:
Adam Dragoon:
15:22
Let, let's put some numbers on this. Let's say you have a hundred followers. So maybe you'll get 10 likes in the first 30 seconds. Okay. And maybe in the next five minutes you're going to get 20 more likes. Okay, so you've got 30 likes altogether in the course of five minutes. But did you know Instagram? What this guy is explaining is that Instagram is not going to deliver all 30 of those likes in five minutes.:
Dave Smale:
15:45
Yeah, you're not getting them. You're not getting the notification of them in real time.:
Adam Dragoon:
15:49
They are holding them back from you so that they can distribute them. Man, it's starting to sound like a pusher on the street. They're holding him back from you so that at the, at the exact moment that they're predicting that you're going to switch that APP off and go look at another app that you're going to get a few more of those likes flowing in and it's going to keep you to keep you in the APP, keep you engaged, and by the way, keep you looking at their advertisements.:
Dave Smale:
16:18
My Gosh.:
Adam Dragoon:
16:19
So you don't realize this. I mean you, you go and you buy an iPhone and so there's a reason. Did you ever wonder these amazing, amazing apps that are on your phone? Why are they free? Facebook is... If you look at the size of the download of that Facebook App, it's insane. It's like it's like 300 megabytes on an, on a phone APP. And how much software engineering has gone into that APP, in that platform? Why in the world are they offering it to you for free? I'll tell you why. Because the APP itself is not the product of Facebook. You are, you are the product. When you spend time on Facebook or on Instagram or on Twitter or whatever platform it is, you are giving them yourself. You're giving them your information, your location, you're giving them your likes, what things that you're interested in. And they're taking that information, aggregating it all together and they are selling that information to somebody who is going to place an ad in front of your eyes, your attention and uh, and in order to keep you locked in, to make you a much more attractive product. They have designed these apps to keep you in them.:
Dave Smale:
17:38
You know, you know, at the other day, my wife and I are doing this diet, this ketogenic Keto Diet, right? So I was looking up, uh, something, just something very simple, a recipe that had avocados in it or something. And so I looked it up on my phone. Okay, found it great. And then one of my kids said, Hey dad, can I watch a video on your computer? Sure. So I go over to my computer, open it up, open up youtube and find the video they want, you know, some kids video or whatever. And I play it. And before the video plays, it pops up an ad for an avocado slicer. Now I gotta say this thing was amazing. It like slices your avocado, it pits it. It did all this stuff. But I went, wait a minute, hold on. How do you know my goodness? Well that's because Google is ruining my er. I'm sorry, running my life for me or trying to,:
Adam Dragoon:
18:42
maybe you are right in the first:
Dave Smale:
18:43
stop ruining. My goodness.:
Adam Dragoon:
18:47
They are locked in. They are locked into us. And since you just did a Google search for Avocados five minutes ago. Yeah, no wonder it's on the mind.:
Dave Smale:
18:54
You know, you're going to need something to slice those Avocados. Dave,:
Adam Dragoon:
18:58
It happened in my house. Um, I looked, I was looking at a couple of web, my wife needed new eyeglasses and so I did a Google search, you know, websites for eyeglasses. And uh, and do you want to know something interesting? Every time I opened up youtube or some other, you know, the, the first advertisement that popped up was for guess what? Eyeglasses and it lasted for two weeks. I'm real real. Yes. This is the miracle of the Internet, man. They, they are, uh, they are on us. So anyway, let's take a quick break here. We were all the way into this, uh, this episode and we need to take a quick break. We will consider these things during the break and take a pause. Maybe, maybe just put the phone down,:
Dave Smale:
19:45
put the phone down for a while:
Adam Dragoon:
19:46
and think about what we've said so far. And when we come back, we're going to get into a couple other things. And, uh, we thank you for being with us here on the last podcast. Episode 42,:
Casting Crowns:
21:59
The world’s getting darker by the day I’m on my knees but don’t know what to pray The broken things that broken people do But knowing just how far You came for me Gives me hope for every soul I meet There’s no one so far gone that You can’t reach So reach through me Let them see, Lord, let them see Your love is the bridge You built with a cross And Your truth is the light That searches for the lost Your grace won’t stop reaching Your mercy won’t let go ‘Cause Your love is the bridge And Your truth leads us home Oh, You lead us home, Oh You never told the broken they were whole You spoke the truth that healed their broken souls You’d never leave us here to fight alone With love we earn the right to speak Your truth It’s not just what we say, it’s what we do I want to be a bridge that leads to You So reach through me Let them see, Lord, let them see No rescue so relentless No greater love than this Where sin leaves a canyon Your love builds a bridge:
Adam Dragoon:
23:05
Let's get back into our discussion on smartphone addiction. And so tonight, um, we, we've talked about some of the reasons why this is such a big problem. Um, what we didn't talk about is, uh, did get into a little bit, but social media, let's, let's, um, focus in on social media for a minute. Now I can remember as a fairly new convert, um, I got saved in 2000, uh, sorry, 1998. So that was kind of the Internet boom era after, you know, we, we started hearing these stories of terrible things happening, people reconnecting and leaving their families and, and then it was all accelerated by social media. Now, if you were in our fellowship, uh, at that time, you can remember the calls going out from the pulpit, uh, that, you know, it'd be a good idea for you to stay off of social media. I can remember pastor Campbell clearly, um, preaching against it. And, uh, and so it was a big, uh, no, no at the time. And, and the reason was exactly that, that he was seeing families and marriages getting torn apart and, uh, and he was having to deal with the fallout of wives leaving their husbands and running across the country because they hooked up with some old flame on Facebook. You know? And so, uh, yeah, truly there was a lot of a nasty stuff happening at that time. Um, but, uh, so here we are in 2019 social media. Let's just be honest man. It is part of everyday life for sure. Most people,:
Dave Smale:
24:31
yeah.:
Adam Dragoon:
24:31
And uh, it is difficult to live a life apart from it. Now. It's not impossible. I mean, but the thing is that there's so many people that are on social media and they use that as their primary method of communication, that you almost have to have at least some kind of presence on these platforms in order to, uh, to contact people.:
Dave Smale:
24:54
Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, um, I think I've heard you say it before, you know, if you want to, you know, you want to reach people, you want to catch fish, you got to go where the fish are and where are the fish? They're on Facebook:
Adam Dragoon:
25:06
and there's a reason why there are things wrong. We just got done talking about. Um, but let's talk about social media in context of the rest of the Internet and as it has, as it pertains to what you do on your smartphone on day to day basis, how much of the time that you're spending on your phone is social media? Oh, it's whatever your answer is. No.:
Dave Smale:
25:31
Now when we say social media, do we include things like youtube? Yeah. Okay.:
Adam Dragoon:
25:38
So I mean that, that's, that's on the edge because, um, it's, I would say youtube is more like entertainment, right? Youtube is more just but, but social media is, is another level. A social media is, uh, is the Facebook of the world and Twitter, Instagram, snap chat, chat is a big one. And there's several, you know, huge platforms that, that, but, but those are the big ones, right?:
Dave Smale:
26:05
Sure.:
Adam Dragoon:
26:06
So for most people, I would say that this, uh, social media is going to be at least 20, 30, 40, 50% of the average amount of time that you're spending on the smartphone. And can we just be honest about what social media is? If we can compare your internet usage to your diet, then what do we compare? Social Media? Social media is junk food, junk food. It is the junk food. Absolutely. It is the junk food. And it's for all the reasons that we've already explained because your attention is, is in demand right now, when I started thinking about this, and also it goes into this in the book, um, the book that I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, your attention is so important. The things that you pay attention to. Listen, you can only pay attention to one thing at a time. And as, as much of a multitasker as you think you might be, I dare you to try to have two competing thoughts in your brain at the same time. You can't do it. So your attention, in fact, when we talk about attention, if you're giving your attention to something you, what do you say? You say I'm paying attention. It has the same connotation as as, uh, monetary, right? You have this, it's something that you pay. It's something that you gain. It's something that you earn from, from other people. Okay? So every moment that you give your attention to these platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, snapchat, what is happening is you are giving those platforms a valuable asset, which they are using to make billions and billions of dollars. Yes, okay.:
Adam Dragoon:
27:46
As of 2014 the New York Times calculated just Facebook. All right? Now this is, this is 2014 five years ago. So no doubt it has increased exponentially since then. Okay? But in 2014 they calculated that Facebook users, this is insane. They were using Facebook for a collective 39,757 years worth of attention every single day. Are you catching that? 40,000 years of attention is being spent every day. Now. I don't, that's 20 to five years ago. So it's gotta be, it's gotta be again, exponentially higher than that at this point. So just think about that 40,000 years of attention that was not spent on families, on spouses, on friends, on our own wellbeing, on practicing the fiddle. You know there's a thousand other things we can be spending our, but we are spending our attention on social media.:
Dave Smale:
28:59
Yup.:
Adam Dragoon:
29:00
And just like time and just like money. Once you spend it you don't get it back.:
Dave Smale:
29:07
Yup.:
Adam Dragoon:
29:08
We experience only what we pay attention to. We remember only what we pay attention to and so that's why every preacher knows what it's like to look out of his congregation and constantly be going insane by watching people scroll their Facebook feed while you are trying to deliver to them words of life, words of hope, words that you know that if they would hear them and if they would listen to them and if they would obey these things, oh their lives could be transformed. But there they are. What is their attention being given to? Social media in the middle of church.:
Dave Smale:
29:49
Yup.:
Adam Dragoon:
29:51
So this is, this is the junk food of the Internet world and the smartphone usage and, and just like junk food. The more you eat, the more it destroys you from the inside out.:
Dave Smale:
30:03
On the next episode of the blast podcast.:
Dave Smale:
30:06
Have you noticed that you have trouble focusing now that you are constantly distracted by your phone so you're now unable to do a deep dive on anything? Yeah, because you are in, I love this phrase, you are in an intensely focused state of distraction. Think about that for a minute. You're, you're intensely focused in a state of distraction.:
Narrator:
30:40
Thanks for listening to TheBLAST Podcast. If you like what you heard, please leave us a review on iTunes and share with someone who will love. If you don't like what you've heard, forget we said anything. Sign up to receive new episodes or listen to previous ones on our website, theblast.org until next time, live for God. Use your brain. Read Your Bible. Love your family. Listen to your pastor. Pay Your tithe and don't be stupid.:
Last Time on TheBLAST Podcast
Examining the Psychology of Smartphone Addiction
There's a reason you're getting amazing apps FOR FREE - You are the product
Social Media - The Junk Food of the Internet
The Importance of Guarding Your Attention
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