Students: Stop texting so freaking much

A recent survey of eighth and eleventh grade students revealed that 12 percent of girls and 3 percent of boys are compulsive texters, sending over 100 messages per day. The survey did not include making posts or sending photos through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or other social networks.

Compulsive texters have little to no ability to control when or how often they check and send text messages. They often try to cut back on texting and become defensive and frustrated when they can’t change their behavior. Like adult addictions of drugs, alcohol, or gambling, texting is an addiction that an alarming number of high school and college students just can’t kick.

So what if students are texting all the time? Does it negatively impact their lives? You bet. Compulsive texting is being increasingly linked to depression, anxiety, lower productivity, lower grades, sleep deprivation, and other psychological problems.

The inability to control impulses to check, send, and post messages and photos through social apps is becoming one of the biggest threats to the ambition, success, and happiness of the young generation.

Using a little app to send a message or to snap and post a photo seems harmless enough, but the big app companies are extremely sophisticated, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and have hired armies of “attention engineers” to increase their number of users and the time users spend in their app. They use cognitive tricks to hijack the young, developing minds of students and reinforce their compulsive behaviors.

More users and more time spent in their app means more ad revenue for the big social media companies. Students have effectively become pawns in the war for serving ads. Started in 2004, Facebook is now worth $362 billion. Started in 2011, Snapchat is rumored to be going public soon at a value of around $25 billion. Cha-ching.

Don’t get me wrong, social apps have value because they allow information to be shared much faster and more broadly. But the time absorbed by checking, sending, posting, and surfing is now causing these addictive apps to take more value from their users than they are giving back.

Is there a good social app out there? One that will help students restore their ambitions, boost their productivity and self-esteem, and focus on quality over quantity of relationships?
Yes. It was just launched and it’s called AZHA.

Azha is a powerful, social to-do list and calendar app that has retooled many of the addictive features used by the big social apps to incentive accomplishment and building stronger relationships with your closest family and friends.

Azha still lets you spy on what people are up to, take silly photos, draw squiggles, add captions, and send messages, but only when you and your friends get things done.

Right…a to-do list app that will make me feel good, and I’ll like it as much as Snapchat? LOL, ROFL.

OMG, hang on, I have a text from my bff!

Download Azha free on the App Store:

Students: increased cell phone use lowers GPA

Image by clipartkid.com

Image by clipartkid.com

According to a recent study the average male college student spends 8 hours on the their cell phone every day. The average female student spends 10 hours. How is it possible that students can still be productive at school while simultaneously spending so much time on their phones? The answer is they can't.

A 2015 study found that even after accounting for other significant predictors of GPA like demographics, prior academic achievement, and high school GPA, cell phone use has a strong, negative correlation with GPA. In other words, the more a student uses their cell phone, the lower their GPA.

Cell phones can serve as useful educational tools by helping students learn and locate information faster. Instead of having to trek to the library and spend hours manually searching through stacks and stacks of books to locate information, the same results can now be obtained by typing a few characters into Google and making a few clicks.

But most students' cell phone use has gone well beyond the "tipping point" where the harm caused by the device outweighs the positive educational gains. Most students only spend a fraction of the time on their cell phones for utilitarian uses like searching for information, checking assignments and grades, and e-mailing friends and teachers about classwork. Instead, they spend most of their time using social apps to communicate with others, scroll through thousands of images, videos, and ads, and to play games.

Indeed, according to two recent studies, nearly 90% of students view their cell phones as a leisure and entertainment device rather than an educational tool - an implicit admission by students themselves that cell phones negatively impact their learning. According to other recent studies, a majority of students even admit that they might be addicted to their phones and know their addiction hurts their academic performance.

This shouldn't be the least bit surprising. Getting good grades requires uninterrupted, focused time studying for exams, doing research, taking careful notes, and thoughtfully working through homework problems. When a student is constantly texting, snapping photos, checking others' status, playing games, and scrolling through updates, images, videos, and ads, their brain cannot get into the state required to evoke deep, concentrated thought. Instead, it remains in a shallow processing mode that makes it more difficult to commit information to long-term memory and to think critically about how to solve difficult problems.

Then students turn in their homework half done, or riddled with errors, and show up for exams without having memorized the important terms or concepts and without understanding how to solve the more difficult problems.

The big social networks - Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and the like - are one of the primary culprits of diminishing GPAs. Numerous studies have confirmed that there is a negative correlation between Facebook use and academic performance, even after controlling for other variables.

The social apps create a permanent, shallow state of anticipation - waiting to get another message and having to tap on any icon on the screen with a red notification bubble to see what new tidbit of information is waiting for them. For most students it's not even within their ability to exert self-control any more, it has simply become an automatic reflex to check their phone. When their phone buzzes or they see a red notification bubble they check it immediately without thinking twice about what they are interrupting.

Having a conversation, phone buzzes, check phone. Listening to a lecture, phones buzzes, check phone. Reading a book, phone buzzes, check phone. Writing notes, phone buzzes, check phone. Working a math problem, phone buzzes, check phone. Walking down the sidewalk, phone buzzes, check phone. Bored, tap homescreen button, see red notification bubble, check it. Bored, tap a social app, scroll through feed.

Students who spend half their waking hours being entertained by their cell phones will have drastically diminished futures. They need something to counterbalance the addicting social apps so they can return to the safe side of the cell phone use tipping point. Something to make sure they are getting done what needs to be done.

Azha is a powerful balancing force because it has retooled the insidious, addiction-creating psychological tricks used by the big social media apps. But instead of draining students' time and harming their academic performance, Azha helps students stay focused and organized, get their work done, and encourage their friends to do the same.

Any student who is part of the 90% that uses their cell phone as an entertainment device should install Azha on their homescreen. It will move them back to the safe side of the tipping point and improve their academic performance. And like the other social apps, students will hardly realize what's happening.

But this time what's happening is positively impacting their future.

Azha is available free on the App Store:

Social media addiction may ruin a generation

IMG_0219.JPG

The big social networks are very powerful applications that can have positive impacts on the world and the people who use them. The ability to disseminate information and organize have empowered more people to effect positive change. However, the apps are being continuously designed and engineered to increase metrics likes "average sessions per user," "time in app per user," and "median session length" so the app companies can serve more ads and make more money.

The job of "attention engineers," as they are sometimes referred, is to exploit people's weaknesses and use cognitive tricks to make people more addicted to an app. A former design ethicist at Google describes some of the tricks used by the big social media companies to hijack the minds of their users - like those red notification badges that you have to tap to see what you missed during the past 10 minutes.

The problem is so big that even major news organizations like Huffington Post are dedicating reporting to the topic of social media addition.

The result of this addictive engineering is that the average adult now spends 5 hours per day on their phone. The average student spends 9 hours - that's 135 days of every year spent on a phone.

Social media addiction is an epidemic that must be dealt with immediately. A solution is especially important for the younger generation whose brains are still developing. Social apps are causing irreparable harm to the development and functioning of the attention centers of their brains, not to mention their time is being allocated away from doing things in the real world that will advance their studies, careers, and ambitions.

The brain's dopamine response to social media apps is similar to that of drugs, alcohol, or junk food - a quick, easily digestible fix that makes people want to repeat the activity, even if it is detrimental to their productivity, self-esteem, and well-being.

Many people are well past the "tipping point" at which the negative impact of social media outweighs the positive social gains. Thousands of hours of beneficial, real-life activities are being replaced with mindless scrolling through updates, images, videos, and ad in a virtual world.

Azha has retooled the addictive features used by the big guys to create a powerful to-do list and calendar app that will shoot your productivity and self-esteem through the roof by making you addicted to getting things done in your real life.

Azha is the healthy, organic alternative to the overdose of junk food served by the big social apps. And you won't even realize how much healthier your app diet is because Azha is super tasty. With a proper diet of Azha and more Azha, your social media hunger pangs will lessen over time.

Azha is free on the App Store. We dare you to give it a shot: