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7 Ways to Break Your Technology Addiction

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Chances are, you have checked your email, your Facebook feed, and your fantasy football roster in the past few minutes. We’re more connected than ever before, and our dependence on our devices is getting worse. Over 40 percent of us check our phones within five minutes of waking up in the morning, and nearly half check up to 25 times a day, according to a 2015 study by Deloitte.

You might be hesitant to call your reliance on technology an addiction, but it's true that your partner has asked you to put away your phone on more than one occasion. Want to detach your phone from your hand? We promise this will only sting a little.

1. END IDLE MOMENTS.

It’s usually in your idle moments that you reach for your phone, says Jamison Monroe, founder and CEO of Newport Academy, a comprehensive treatment center for teens. So Monroe suggests creating a list of what you can do in your idle moments instead of scrolling.

“If your first impulse when you get a quiet moment is to reach for your device, remind yourself of half a dozen other things you could be doing instead that would be more meaningful and relaxing: taking a walk, writing a love note with paper and pen, dancing to your favorite song, doing a few stretches, meditating for 10 minutes,” Monroe says. The key is to come up with options that appeal to you.

2. USE TECH TO HELP YOU STAY OFF TECH.

There are apps that tell you how many times you’ve checked your phone that day, that warn you if you’re going over your self-imposed Internet limit, that lock your phone for a specified amount of time, and block distractions like games, Monroe says.

3. DON’T RELY ON WILLPOWER.

While putting away your phone or turning off the computer is the simplest way to unplug, doing so is usually easier said than done. “If left to our own devices, we’ll always be on them,” says David Ryan Polgar, a tech ethicist and co-founder of the Digital Citizenship Summit. Your willpower is no match for the savvy startups and multi-billion dollar companies fighting for your attention. "We should own up to being over-matched, and find better ways to remove the temptation,” Polgar says.

4. UNPLUG BEFORE BED.

An hour before you go to sleep, power down all tech devices. “The blue wavelength light from our screens interrupts production of melatonin—known as the darkness hormone—which gives our brain the signal that it’s time to sleep,” Monroe says. “Leave the devices in another room so you’re not tempted.”

5. START SMALL.

While some people love to brag about their digital hiatuses, these may seem intimidating (if not straight-up impossible) for you to take, says David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in West Hartford, Connecticut. So it’s totally okay to start small.

Greenfield suggests starting by turning your phone off during dinner. Then, leave it at home when you take a walk. Bump that digital detox up to three hours, and you’re doing great. “You should set limits regularly, but I’d be happy with three hours for some people, as some people won’t even eat a meal without their phones,” Greenfield says. “Any change in the right direction is better than no change.”

6. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS.

The smartphone is the world’s smallest slot machine, Greenfield says. “It elevates your dopamine receptors, and you continue that behavior over and over again because it offers an unpredictable award,” just like gambling, he says. Simply turning off the notifications will make you less likely to look at your phone every few seconds.

7. PLAN BREAKS.

Write down times throughout the day when you plan to take technology breaks, says Craig Donovan, Director of the BA/MPA Honors Program at Keane University in New Jersey. For example, you could commit to taking a break from 3 to 3:15 p.m. on workday afternoons, during which time you turn off your phone and put it out of sight and out of reach. “Plan a specific activity to do during those 15 minutes, such as getting up and going for a [mindful] walk,” Donovan says. You can reward yourself with a small treat such as a cookie or a cup of coffee. Try to add additional times away from technology, such as during meals, and pay attention to what is going on around you.

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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22 Emojis That Look Completely Different on Different Phones
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Emojis are a great addition to our communication toolbox. Without saying a word, we can talk about people, places, things, and emotions. But different platforms sometimes display the same emoji specification in different ways. An eye roll might come across as petulant or cheerful. A snake might look threatening or adorable. To help you navigate some potentially confusing cross-platform interactions, here are 22 emojis (referred to by their programming code names) that come out with important differences on Apple (iOS 11.1), Google (Android 8), and Samsung (Galaxy S8).

1. FACE WITH ROLLING EYES

3 different face with rolling eyes emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Way to miss the point.
Google: Ugh. Oh boy. Nice one. NOT!
Samsung: Heh, heh. Neato.

2. SNAKE

3 different snake emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Beware!
Google: Beware?
Samsung: Aww. Snakey-poo.

3. NERD FACE

Three different nerd face emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Nerdy cuteness.
Google: Nerdy excitement!
Samsung: Nerdy astonishment!

4. COOKIE

Three different cookie emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Mmm. Delicious chocolate chips…
Google: Raisins? Nuts?
Samsung: Uh, thanks for the cookie?

5. LOUDLY CRYING FACE

Three different loudly crying face emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: River of tears.
Google: Waterfall of tears.
Samsung: Cast adrift on a lake of tears.

6. GHOST

Three different ghost emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Ready for a goofy good scare?!
Google: Me scary! (*wink*)
Samsung: (*clears throat*) Um, boo.

7. COUCH AND LAMP

Three different couch and lamp emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Midcentury modern pad.
Google: Office waiting room.
Samsung: Haunted Victorian hotel.

8. CHIPMUNK

Three different chipmunk emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Cute? No. Please allow me my dignity.
Google: Tee hee. Cute!
Samsung: Where did I put those nuts…

9. OCTOPUS

Three different octopus emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Oh. You surprised me there.
Google: Boo! I surprise YOU!
Samsung: Hellooooooo, over there.

10. CAT FACE

Three different cat emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Always identified more with the mice, actually.
Google: On the internet, everyone loves a cat!
Samsung: Your texts are tedious.

11. PIZZA

Three different pizza emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Pepperoni.
Google: Pepperoni and olives.
Samsung: Pepperoni, olives, and extra cheese.

12. MAN DANCING

Three different man dancing emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung
Apple/Google/Samsung

Apple: Disco in the '70s.
Google: Miami Vice in the '80s.
Samsung: Dabbing, whipping, and nae-naeing at the middle school.

13. OLD MAN

Three different old man emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: More like middle-aged.
Google: Old and yet somehow babyish.
Samsung: Very prematurely grey kid.

14. RUNNING SHOE

Three different running shoe emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Ready for the 5K.
Google: Ready for some stickball.
Samsung: Ready for the playground.

15. DETECTIVE

Three different detective emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Experienced and ready to assist.
Google: No experience yet, but can’t wait to start!
Samsung: Seen too much.

16. PERSON SURFING

Three different person surfing emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Awesome!
Google: Pretty fun.
Samsung: Whoa. Help.

17. FRAMED PICTURE

Three different framed picture emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: For the nursery.
Google: For the den.
Samsung: For the great hall.

18. DROOLING FACE

Three different drooling face emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Sooo delicious…
Google: Sooo incomprehensible…
Samsung: Sooo disturbing…

19. CLAPPING HANDS

Three different clapping emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Pay attention!
Google: Polite applause.
Samsung: Hushed appreciation.

20. T-SHIRT

Three different t-shirt emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Casual Friday at the office.
Google: Saturday at the gym.
Samsung: Sunday on the couch.

21. PERSON FROWNING

Three different person frowning emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Hurt and disappointed.
Google: Crushed and disappointed.
Samsung: Not gonna stand for it anymore.

22. FEARFUL FACE

Three different fearful face emojis from Apple, Google, and Samsung

Apple: Yikes! Aaack! No way!
Google: Oh dear! Why! I feel sick!
Samsung: Bzzzt! Yoinks!

Check the platform differences for all the emojis at Emojipedia.

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