Several months ago now, before my new job, I felt like the strain of work was getting to me. I felt as if I was becoming unravelled. I downloaded a game to give myself a distraction from it all, a mindless game in which you tap your way to victory.
While on my commute, tap, tap, tap.
Walking through the park on lunch break, tap, tap, tap.
Waiting for an automated process to finish running on my computer, tap, tap, tap.
Going to the bathroom, tap, tap, tap.
It certainly seemed to alleviate some of the stress, but it also took over my attention from doing other things I wanted to do or should have done, such as reading fiction or going to bed early or doing some housework.
The game did serve its purpose of distracting and calming me when things were difficult. But then it started encroaching into the healthier times when I didn’t feel like I needed a distraction. Just a few more levels, just a bit more, come on!
Basically, I had become hooked.
Many of us are aware of the adverse effects of excessive phone usage, particularly social media and gaming apps. They are designed to trigger little dopamine bursts in our brains, keeping us engaged for as long as possible. Sometimes we even experience withdrawal symptoms when denied access to them for longer stretches of time than usual.
It was striking to become aware of this addiction forming in real time and I uninstalled the game after playing it for about a week.
Think about what you tap on your phone and when you tap it, you might just be hooked too.