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    Exclusive: psychotherapist Georgia Dow talks mental health, limiting distractions, on the AppleInsider podcast | AppleInsider


    On a special episode of the AppleInsider podcast, psychotherapist Georgia Dow joins us to discuss the effect technology and social media has on our mental health and how to manage notifications across our devices.

    Georgia Dow has over 20 years of experience in teaching and counseling with a Master’s degree with Distinction in Art Therapy. On the podcast we discuss the effect technology has on our mental health and ability to focus over the last ten years.

    For most users, their iPhone, iPad and Mac offer numerous notifications, and unless those are carefully set you could be inundated with sounds and banners all day. Not only is this a distraction, but it could also affect your mental health.

    We share some ideas on how to use VIP features in Apple Mail and ways to limit these distractions across your devices. Apple also has more options to manage notifications coming in iOS 15 with Focus. Users will be able to set what apps and contacts can push notifications at set time periods throughout the day and week.

    Georgia also discusses the use of Screen Time and managing children’s use of devices throughout the day. From social media, to watching streaming content and video games, there is no shortage of distractions for kids. We share some recommendations for parents and individuals alike to create meaningful time away from technology.

    If you have questions or comments on the show, tweet at @stephenrobles. Find us in your favorite podcast player by searching for “AppleInsider” and support the show by leaving a 5-Star rating and comment in Apple Podcasts.

    Notification management, limiting distractions, and mental health – interview transcript

    Stephen Robles: Welcome to the AppleInsider podcast. This is your host, Stephen Robles. And joining me today is special guest, Georgia Dow. She’s a psychotherapist and two-time Brazilian jujitsu champion. She also co-hosts Apple Talk with Rene Richey. Georgia, thanks for joining me.

    Georgia Dow: Well, thank you for having me.

    Stephen Robles: You also have a new YouTube, I guess, series or kind of videos that you’ve been doing on your own YouTube channel, where you react to things in popular media, like movies and TV shows.

    I actually just saw the Justice League one and it was hilarious cause he kind of broke down everything that, you know, as Batman is trying to recruit these different superheroes and how much he’s not doing well from an empathizing standpoint, so very funny. Love those.

    Georgia Dow: You don’t know how much hate I got for attacking Batman. Batman is actually my favorite comic book hero. I didn’t like the way that he was portrayed in this as the world’s greatest detective.

    Stephen Robles: Well, not to get you even more letters and emails, but as far as Baffleck versus other actors playing Batman, which is your favorite? We’ll say that you don’t have to comment on Batfleck specifically.

    Georgia Dow: I’ll say Christian Bale. He’s my favorite. Sorry, sorry.

    Stephen Robles: Same, no, same!

    Stephen Robles: I agree. Christian Bale, Dark Knight trilogy, I think to date is probably the best portrayal of Batman.

    Georgia Dow: I am fully with you.

    Stephen Robles: Yes. Very good. Well, this isn’t a Batman of podcasts, but it could very well turn into it, but I want it to have you on the show because some of the new features that Apple has released at WWDC with Focus and Do Not Disturb and all that.

    As a psychotherapist, I wanted to get your perspective on some of the things in the world of tech, as far as notifications and distractions and all that. And Apple and Google, they’ve been making strides over the years to help users limit distractions and pay more attention, be more focused and present.

    And I’m curious in your experience over the last 5 years, maybe 10 years, how has as our relationship with technology, as it’s become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, especially since a pandemic, what has been the overall effect on people? Mental health and status is kind of all this technology is in our lives.

    Georgia Dow: It’s funny because I think that technology gets a really bad rap on a lot of things. We do probably spend way too much time on technology. And that takes away from us being even just bored and being able to do other things that immediacy of information that free dopamine shot that is at our fingertips can become exceptionally addictive.

    And I think that almost everyone that I speak to these days, teenagers to young people universally say that they are, they agree that they’re on technology too much, but knowing it, and then changing, it are two different things. Though during the pandemic, I think technology has been a godsend. I think that this has allowed people that are alone, stuck inside of apartments or condos or not living with anyone or not being able to reach family members.

    This has shown the benefits of having the ability to reach out to others and still be connected the world. How do you think we would have handled having someone, a family member, a loved one who we know is alone and we are not able to reach them that would have become exceptionally difficult. And I think that we would have ended up breaking rules.

    I think that the pandemic would have been a, we would have had more deaths, more issues, more pain, more depression, and already it’s been very difficult. It’s gone on for a really long time. And it’s one of those things that we never expected, whatever happened. Right. And so I think that our ability to reach out a little bit to the world, take a break from all of the stuff that’s around us and escape was a good thing.

    Stephen Robles: Yeah, especially. All right, in the term of notifications, you know, we all have so many devices, you know, you have your iPhone, your iPad, your Mac, whatever. And depending on how you have your settings and how your family and friends have theirs, sometimes some people just get an inordinate amount of bings and dings and notifications all throughout the day.

    And I’m curious in your work, or as you’ve advised people, how does that affect someone if they have just way too many notifications, maybe because they don’t know how to turn it off. Or they actually want to have that many for whatever reason. What does that do to someone’s focus attention long term?

    Georgia Dow: Yeah, don’t do that. Why are you doing that?

    Whenever I hear someone and, and I’m in session and I hear, “Bing.”

    I’m like, what are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing? No, turn those babies off. There are some cases that you may need notifications, or you may need notifications on for certain someone because of emergencies, but do you need it to bing, and see it?

    We end up becoming a slave to our technology and it is there to actually work for us. It becomes, it distracts us, it causes anxiety. It causes anxiety to others around us. Have you ever had that experience when, on TV you have either your alarm goes off, like it’s the alarm that you use or the ringer that you use on the TV show off.

    And I feel anxiety like I’m being called or I’m being woken up or there’s notification for me.

    Stephen Robles: I actually just got one, as you were saying that on my phone. Yes. I forgot to put, do not disturb on, so this is. Right.

    Georgia Dow: Those turn those babies off. Turn those babies off.

    Stephen Robles: So I’m curious. I have a close family member and they have a lot of notifications and it’s one of those things where it’s not just on their phone.

    They have it like mimicked on their iPad. So every text, every email comes in, it bings multiple times. Have you ever successfully broached that subject with someone to kind of help them understand, like this is actually hurting you more than helping?

    Georgia Dow: So I try not to, to therapize those that are around me, um, unless they’re exceptionally close to me.

    Um, so I’ll throw one name under the bus, Rene. So Rene has like a hundred thousand devices, cause this is what he does for a living. So we deal with technology. And so he kind of has to test everything out and he has to put it on, but that ends up meaning when I call, even after he’s picked up, I still hear ringing from like, I don’t know, I’ll say six different devices that might be an exaggeration or an underestimation.

    You choose to believe. Like for him, like he doesn’t want to have them on. It’s just that when he beta tests, it becomes a real pain to be able to constantly turn everything off and deal with it. And so he usually does not, but I’ll say to people like, you know, like not someone that I don’t really know well enough, but if I know someone well enough, Do you really want to get all of those messages?

    And often people think that they have to have that immediacy. Now it’s also your work and people that you, maybe it’s your mother-in-law, maybe it’s people that you don’t want to have reach you at any moment. And the worst part about that is that then if you answer all the time, people become annoyed that you don’t answer immediately.

    So you end up with this stress, I have a message. Who knows who it’s from. We start thinking about who could this be? What could it be while you might be watching a movie or trying to relax and have something to eat or be in the bath or shower. And that is not good for our ability to relax and calm down.

    And so notifications for most people does create anxiety, not a lot, but it’s a little bit more in our anxiety cup. And if you fill up your anxiety cup, you can end up having generalized anxiety. If you do it for long enough, our anxiety system just kind of stays on yellow alert.

    Stephen Robles: It’s like a low low-level drone in the background, just this constant thing going on.

    Georgia Dow: Yeah, and then you’re thinking about the notification of who is it, who tried to call me, what is it, maybe I should grab it while you’re trying to eat or do something else. And you know, I’m in a field where sometimes it is life or death when someone is trying to reach me, but I don’t have notifications on and often I don’t have my watch on me and I don’t have my phone even with me.

    And there’s no, I don’t even have a bing. I don’t have a bing. I do get a pop-up. So if I’m using my phone, I will see it but it doesn’t vibrate either. It’s not on at all. I don’t turn the phone off. I used to, I don’t turn the phone off. I will flip it over and leave it somewhere and then do something else.

    And I let everyone know that, you know, you can call me at any time. That’s the great part is that means that you can, you know, three o’clock in the morning. If I’m not up, I will not answer. Right. But if I’m there, I will.

    It allows people, the freedom to not feel like they’re disturbing me. And it also allows me the freedom to be able to enjoy the rest of my life without having to worry about who is this person that’s trying to contact me.

    Stephen Robles: Yeah. And that was an interesting thing. I was going to ask you, cause you were actually on the show about five or six years ago and we talked and you said at that time you powered your phone off.

    Georgia Dow: You said that to me. I saw, I read it in the email. I’m like really?

    Wow. Okay. I totally don’t do that anymore. I don’t even remember that. I did it except for you. And you wrote in the email, I’m like, oh yeah, I can. I think I can remember that. I actually did that. I find without having any notifications on it’s it’s fine. It does not cause me it’s, it’s less work.

    Stephen Robles: Do you utilize like VIP features for email notifications for work?

    Because that’s something that I’ll set a very few contacts, basically like my boss, my wife and family. And just in the email part, those are the only email notifications I’ll get. And I really try hard to like customize sounds for people. So I can tell, even before I look at my phone, that was actually my wife that just texted me.

    That was actually my boss just emailed me. And this way I remove the wondering what the notification is. I already know who it’s from and if it’s an email or text and I can go to it.. Do you use some of those VIP or do not disturb features throughout the day?

    Georgia Dow: I don’t, because I don’t want to even have that.

    If it was something like, my wife was pregnant, then I might want to have that. Or if I had an important meeting or a call from a hospital, then I might want to be able to have it, but I don’t want to be distracted most of the time. It is not something that is urgent that someone is messaging me about like, I would say 98% of the time.

    So even a, “Hey, this is a cute little link that I want to show you” is more of a negative than a benefit because now I’m thinking about it and maybe it is important.. And so, because of that, I don’t have it on.

    Stephen Robles: Gotcha. So this is a personal question now, how do you wrestle with the feeling of I’ve worked with clients in the past and I used to answer emails like immediately. One, because not checking email for a couple of hours during a day in the back of my mind, I know they’re piling up and that was a kind of stress. And so instead I would answer everyone as they come in and people would kind of give this positive feedback to say, “Oh, it’s so refreshing. You actually answer quickly, you respond promptly. Thank you for doing that.”

    So there’s almost this negative and positive feedback at the same time. Like it is breaking up my day and focus, but I also see that people value it and in turn value my work and services to them. How do you balance that with actually having healthy time away from email or devices and things like that?

    Georgia Dow: Right. Well, I think that the thing with answering an email immediately, in some cases, there is a benefit to that. And if you are working in a service industry, I think that that is appreciated. And the sooner that you respond, the less chance that someone’s going to be backing out and saying, no, actually I don’t want to.

    And so I think that that is a benefit, but besides those special case scenarios where you’re dealing with something that is very time sensitive and pertinent, I think that that feeling of we do it because we want to help others of those of us that are more caretakers in nature that we will say “yes” to things that maybe we should say “no” to, need to be very careful about the dangerous, slippery slope. Because you think that you’re getting ahead.

    Right? When you answer immediately an email, you believe that you are getting ahead. The lie of that is that often that you 1: put something onto your plate that was on someone else’s plate 2: does not love someone else to solve a problem and figure it out and 3: often people write an email or a text when they’re really upset and agitated.

    And so you’re dealing with when they are the most reactive. And so now you’ve created a dialogue between it, and then you feel obligated that because someone has sent you an email that you are going to reply immediately, always because they gave you that little tiny cookie of dopamine saying, “Wow, I love that you respond immediately.”

    And that feels good. And so now you feel obligated to always respond immediately and so much so you may even apologize if you take a day because you were busy to reply to an email, which is a fair amount of time to reply to an email,

    Stephen Robles: For sure. You know, but you said something a second ago where it not answering quickly, gives other people a chance to solve a problem.

    And it is one of the most euphoric feelings to see an email where someone was asking you for something and then to see a second email, right after that says, “Oh, I actually figured it out on my own.” And it’s just this amazing weight lifted off your shoulders.

    Georgia Dow: Yes, what a good feeling. Yes, exactly. Exactly. And I think that that’s what Apple and Google are trying. They do not want us not to use our phones and their services because that bothers their bottom line. And so they’re trying to find ways that we can have our phone with us, but it be less disruptive to our world so that we can use it more often and not just put the phone away. Cause that’s what I do now.

    I just put the phone somewhere and leave it.. Mild amounts of anxiety. I’m not going to say that I don’t, but I can get further and further away from my phone now. That’s progress.

    Stephen Robles: Yeah, that is. One of the new features from WWDC was the Focus features, and it’s basically expanding Do Not Disturb to where you can customize multiple settings.

    And to say, this is my morning. This is work. This is afternoon. This is leisure. And you can customize all the different notifications and who can contact you during those times. Rene has talked about this at length, of course, on his videos as well. But have you had a chance to play with those or do any of those features interests you or are you still going to just kinda leave the phone alone and that go with that strategy?

    Georgia Dow: I think that these are wonderful features and I think that there’ll be beneficial to a lot of people. I think that this will give them permission that they have work hours. And so I love the features. I think that they are absolutely wonderful that you will have time that you’re at work and you will be able to say, I answer emails, which you should do if you are working a nine to five. You are not getting paid to answer emails after that. That’s people getting free. Like you’re working for nothing. Don’t do that. Do not work for nothing. You think you’re getting ahead? No, you should be paid for all your time. Answering emails is a work activity that should be done during work hours.

    Please don’t do that to take all of your lunch. If you get it. Take a whole hour. But I love it. I love it. I’m not going to be using it. I’m still just going to go brute force all or nothing. If I’m on my phone, you can answer me if I am not, I don’t want to have any messages come through.

    Stephen Robles: Right. You know, back with that work thing, how do you advise people who have bosses or supervisors who actually outright expect them to be available outside of work hours. If they say, “You can ignore everyone else, but if me, your boss, tries to text or call you at 7:00 PM, I need you to answer.” What, what should people do in those kinds of situations?

    Georgia Dow: I would specifically ask, I would say, you know, that’s fine, but am I being paid overtime for this time that I’m answering emails or answering the call?

    Period. I would specifically ask. Now problem with technology. And I think that that’s why it’s good to have a work phone and the work phone is at work and that that’s when you’re dealing with it, because this is outside of hours. This is the dangerous slope of technology that just because you can answer a message at any point in time, that does not mean that you should.

    Now in my job as a psychotherapist, I do answer emails and texts from, for emergencies after hours, but I’m in a very specialized line of work and my pay, what I, what I am, what I charge covers that. So I feel very comfortable to be able to do that. Right. But in most jobs you’re not getting paid for these extra hours and there’s parts of the world where that is illegal now.

    Now that if you are being working after hours, answering emails or getting calls, you must be paid for that. And I believe France and other places in the European union have, uh, enacted ways of making sure that you are not being taken advantage of because you are being taken advantage of if that is what you are expected to do.

    And there are many places that say, “You know what? The job is nine to five, but most people work till six.” That should be a hard, no, from you. Say, “I don’t mind working until 6:00 PM, I’m paid till 6:00?” Because if they’re going to take advantage of you then, is that a place that you want to work?

    Stephen Robles: Ooh. That’s good. All right. Well, talk to me, you mentioned a second ago about the watch. I assume you have an Apple Watch.

    Georgia Dow: I might have an Apple Watch.

    Stephen Robles: Do you still, I think I actually remember from our last call that you used the Mickey clock face as your default or that though it was one of your favorites. Is that still your go-to or have you moved on to something else?

    Georgia Dow: It might be the opposite. I might’ve hated the Mickey watch and that might’ve been, not my default. I might be wrong. I might be wrong, but I would be shocked. Someone, someone who actually remembers and has a photographic memory, let me know, but I dislike the Mickey watch. I don’t love that.

    Stephen Robles: I’m going to go back to the tape, I had that episode with someone.

    Georgia Dow: I’d be so shocked, you have to email me if I said that I loved it. Beause I’ll be like, “What? I did?” Was I being sarcastic was their sarcasm in my voice?

    Stephen Robles: I can’t remember the sarcasm over the years, but I will look for the clip for sure.

    Georgia Dow: No, my favorite watch faces are utilitarian or gorgeous.

    So I will choose in between one or the other. So often I use the butterfly one because butterflies, how they move, they’re pretty, but I liked the features that have my daily schedule on it. I like stuff that has my calendar. I’m constantly writing notes and so I need to know the date and the time.

    And you’d think that after I wrote it at one point during the day, I should remember that, but I’m kind of number dyslexic. It’s not happening. So I need to constantly check and what is happening next in my day, because I overbook myself and underbooked myself, you know, overbook again. And so because of that, I need to, to arrange it.

    So those watch faces are the ones that I use the most.

    Stephen Robles: So how do you balance notifications between phone and watch. Do you have any notifications go to the watch or is it totally just silent

    Georgia Dow: My watch will give me a pop-up of text messages. That is it. So not even email. So I used to have everything and then I slowly started to get rid of everything.

    I find that text messages, which everyone knows is the best way to reach me, not through email, but it is through text, not through a phone call, because I’m going to have to listen to a voice message, which is so much more time than being able to briefly glance at a text.

    Stephen Robles: It’s the worst.

    Georgia Dow: Yeah, don’t do that. Like if you hate someone, send them a voice message, is my thought to it, right. And make it long and drawn out and then say your number really quickly.

    Stephen Robles: Exactly. So the transcript can’t even auto fill it.

    Georgia Dow: Yeah it can’t do it, no. And then you need to listen to it manually, find the location and then redo it three times so you get the full number. And for me, I have to make sure that I’ve written it properly.

    Stephen Robles: I’m getting anxiety and stress just by you describing the situation because I cannot stand voicemails. I’ve actually come to a place where anyone important to me understands how much I hate it and doesn’t leave voicemails. And so I will go literally weeks, just not even looking at my voicemails or listening to them.

    And I put the phone app in the app library on my phone, like it’s not even on a home screen, so I don’t see the badges. It is a beautiful thing. I just want to encourage everyone.

    Georgia Dow: Yes. I love it. I love it. The people that don’t please don’t do that, send me a text, send me a text. Fabulous. Do not send a voicemail, send them to those that you dislike.

    Um, but I love that you’ve told people so that they know it. Good for you with telling people what you want and need. Our job is to teach people how to treat us and to train our technology, to work for us and not the other way around.

    Stephen Robles: So I have three kids and technology is again this, a new learning curve for all parents over the last 5 and 10 years.

    And there’s lots of tools, you know to help parents manage their time and things like that with kids, two questions that I often get. One is how young is too young for a kid to have a phone because there’s like this difference between a kid having an iPad that has to be connected to wifi to have internet and is not really as portable and can not be as secretive as like a phone.

    So how young is too young for a phone? And then how much screen time is too much time. So you can answer either one of those at first, whichever you’d like, but those are kind of the two big questions that parents deal with with kids. So what do you think of those?

    Georgia Dow: Yeah. I think that you should hold off on children having access to social media for as long as possible.

    So if they can wait until the later teens, that is only a good thing. And so social media is one of those ones. Out of everything that they have on their phone, being able to talk to their friends, not a big deal. I think that that’s a nice thing that they get to do. It’s time that they get to spend together.

    They’re listening to voice and intonation and they are gathering information from that that will help them. And become better humans. I think that having access to the internet and the internet being kind of a Wild West still is not a good thing. And they may be on locations with their phone that you don’t want them to be.

    Even an iPad, you want to be able to monitor what your child is doing upon your devices. So I would say for a telephone that if you can wait until their mid-teens, that is a better thing. There are some cases where your child may need to have it because you need to reach them and they’re going to be at a school far away and they need to contact you.

    And so you may want to have a phone, but have it with restricted access so that you can monitor what they’re doing on it. Because there are a lot of good things with having the phone with them. But there’s a lot of negative pieces to that as well. And having an iPad. The later the better.

    My children did have access to the iPad. I curated their time. So I tried to have them on technology for when they. I would say under the ages of 10, for less than an hour a day. And technology to me was TV, or it was an iPad or it was a game. And then during school days, they did not have access to video games. Now they have. Too, during the summer limit amount, time of video games, but we also curate the time that they are on technology, as best as we can.

    And even with that, it’s very difficult because kids won’t do other things. Technology is an instant dopamine. It’s an instant drug to them. It really is. I’m not saying this rhetorically, this is science, right? And so it feeds their dopamine center and they get that. They won’t do anything else. And so they will sit on the couch and they won’t go out.

    Suddenly when I’ve taken their technology, boredom has made them suddenly want to ride a bike or write a book or make a movie maker. Now that they have more technology. How often are my children riding a bike or playing in the pool, or, you know, writing a book or, you know, whatever it might be, much less time to do it.

    And it is directly in line with how much time they spend on technology.

    Stephen Robles: Yeah. This is, I don’t know if controversial is the right word, but you know, when you said an hour on screens, we call it screen time, which as you said, either you’re watching something or you’re on an iPad, like you’re looking at a screen and not doing something else.

    So we’re going to count it all, you know, whether you’re watching Disney plus, we are in that range. But with our kids and it gets complicated because it’s like, sometimes they want to make a movie and they want to edit it. And it’s like, “Okay, well, we’ll work through those case-by-case basis.”

    But there’s so much peer pressure too, because they have friends who are have free reign and, you know, they’ll come to us to be like, “My friend who’s the same age can play five or six hours of games.” And we’re like, “Yeah, we understand, but that’s not what we’re going to do.” And we do our best to explain why and why it’s important to do other things, but it is a very difficult time right now, because there are many, many families.

    And again, like everyone is trying to figure out what to do with their kids. And if both parents working, I know they’re very difficult situations out there, but it’s, uh, it’s just difficult to navigate with kids and their friends. And as they talk about their different screen times and everything. I don’t know, it’s a challenge.

    Georgia Dow: It’s really hard. I think that you’re right. And I, especially during in the pandemic, I wanted my children to do things together. And so we gave them more time to be at, even during the week, during school to be able to bond with their friends because they were at home. And so they played whatever video game together where I could hear them laughing and giggling and shooting each other and dying.

    I thought that was just fine, because I want them to still be able to bond. And so I allowed that, it was an exception during an exceptional time. And sometimes you’re working and you need to have a break, so you give them extra tech. That’s fine.

    This is not going to melt their brains. It is not, you know, horribly like I, and as if anyone that follows me knows, like I have every single technology under the sun, I have VR systems, all of them.

    What do I have? I have almost all of them. Yes. I have a full size arcade. I’m not one of those people that are anti video games. I love them. They serve a purpose, but I know that if I’m doing that, I’m not doing something else. And so you, you want to see what works for you and inside of your family.

    And if it’s two hours or three hours, or if they’re doing something that’s creative, it’s allowed like whatever making video games, or programming, or movie making could be an exception to that rule so that they’re actually learning different skills. So there isn’t really one rule that fits it all.

    Personality type has a huge difference upon technology. If you have a more anxious, reactive child or a more explosive with temper, video game time will be a big difference to a very calm, diligent disciplined child. I have one child that probably does not affect them real well. Now I would say, now that they’re going through the teenage years, it does affect them.

    But before that it really didn’t and they would actually get bored and go off on their own. And I have another child that could melt their brain on that. And so, you know, you have to make one rule for the family because then it wouldn’t be fair, but you have to deal with what your family dynamic is like.

    What’s the effect on your child. If they become grumpy and foul in an angry after, well, that might be a sign.

    Stephen Robles: Those of you who are not parents, or, you know, won’t be, or are not parents yet, trust me, maybe you will value this conversation in the future because it’s just, it’s a challenge all around.

    Georgia Dow: Or do it for yourself, let’s just say it. How are you after you’ve spent too much time on technology? How do you feel? If you’re listening, if you’re scrolling through all of the worst news freeds or political newsfeeds or, you know, things like, let’s just be honest. Social media is there to keep us on it. And they don’t mind making us feel really angry or powerless or upset.

    How are you after you get off of technology?

    Stephen Robles: That’s so good. Here’s a question for you, you know, with social media, it is evolved over the last 10 years. We’ve gone from Facebook and Twitter. You know, you post, you see other posts, you maybe comment, whatever. And now we have the likes of TikTok and Instagram with their reels and it feels like such a heightened like a faster experience. It’s almost like you’re taking in so much more or stuff, like more visual, more audio content. You can consume so much in such a short time with these kinds of TikTok style, social media thing. How, how do you think that, so early days of it to know, but how do you think that affects people?

    Georgia Dow: yeah. Overall, yeah. The algorithm of TikTok is impressively effective. That even if you slow down your scrolling, it knows, and it will feed you whatever you watch and more of it. And so it just gets better at knowing what captivates you. And what has happened is our attention span has sharply gone down, right?

    They used to speak about Sesame Street because Sesame Street found that children’s attention span was around 15 seconds. And so they would make a lot of little 15 second clips that would be in between other larger clips and people spoke then about how that could be damaging our ability to be bored and keep on task when you’re not getting dopamine.

    Stephen Robles: If only Sesame Street was the worst thing for our attentions.

    Georgia Dow: I know, I know! How how times have changed. I find it myself, I will look at a YouTube video and I’ll just give you my YouTube video. Cause I still look at YouTube video. I’m not on TikTok because I know the effect it will have on me.

    Because that will work very effectively with me. And if there’s a long intro, I’m done, I’m out. Don’t give me an intro at all. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what your channel is. And I don’t care for you to explain to me what I’ve already clicked on that you’re going to show to me, just give me the goods.

    Stephen Robles: So good. So you’re going to have a YouTube 101 crash course for all the creatives out there.

    Georgia Dow: That’s why my videos don’t have intros. I think some of the beginning ones do they don’t anymore have any intro. No one cares who I am. Those that care will stay anyways. But I find that my attention span has gone down and I, I’m not on TikTok, but we, whatever you are doing at any moment, you’re getting better at.

    And so if you are, um, getting instant gratification, that’s even more instant. You’re reprogramming your brain to want that. And then boredom becomes even more painful and it will be harder to get that really boring law degree that you want because you have to listen to a very boring law professor.

    Hopefully you have the exciting ones, but there’s a whole bunch that are not, and you have to sit through it in order to jump through those hoops, to get that piece of paper so that you can practice law. So you may not be doing your child, a service or yourself, a service by consuming a lot of media. We spend a lot of time being very careful with what we eat, but what we feed our brain is just as important, if not more important.

    Stephen Robles: What do you think about the reflect and breathe type features that Apple has introduced? And then there’s so many other like mindfulness apps and things like that out there. Do you think those are good first steps for people to try and start taking and taking the time just to breathe or be mindful or kind of detox just for a few minutes.

    Georgia Dow: I love them. I think that they’re wonderful. I think that they’re wonderful. I think that they’re very useful, especially when it’s like, “I think maybe you should breathe. Your heart rate has gone up.” I think that’s wonderful. I think that we need to do that in any way, shape or form that can game-ify it. To make it more interesting for you, the more that you do it, the better you get at it.

    The only piece that I don’t like about these apps that track everything for us is that we can be like, oh, You know, I need my phone to tell me or my watch to tell me or my computer to tell me how I’m feeling right now. That’s the only piece that I don’t like about it. I want people to be self-aware of how they are feeling.

    And I don’t want our watches or phones to become parentified versions of who we are. You know, how do you know that you’ve gotten enough sleep? It’s not about the hour. Oh, I got eight hours of really great sleep. And then I’ll be like, but are you tired? And they’ll be like, “I’m exhausted.”

    I got like, unlike it, the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is not your.

    Stephen Robles: Right. One of the things that people talk about is like a digital detox where they’ll go for like a weekend or a day or two, where they just totally disconnect from technology. They don’t take their phone, their watch computer or whatever.

    Like it’s just totally technology free. Do you think there’s value in those kinds of like digital detox moments?

    Georgia Dow: I think there’s value because our time is slower when we’re not on technology, it actually feels slower. So time is a relative term, it’s created inside of our own mind. And by taking time away from tech, we’ve gotten more time, we’re actually bored and time goes by so much slower because we’re not constantly getting this dopamine overload where you’re not really registering time in the same way. And maybe you’re doing things that you would not do if you had technology. The only piece that I don’t like as people talk about most detoxes is that they’re kind of gimmicky, right?

    I would want this to be something that you do regularly. That you spend time with yourself, sitting in the dark, listening to music, looking at your fish tank or the sunset or the water or a plant. It doesn’t really matter, but you want to spend time where you’re doing that regularly away from tech.

    When I used to have screen time on and I would look, it was a shocking amount of time that I spent on my technology. Like it was really shocking. You want to spend less time on your technology and you’ll notice that you will do things that you would not do if you had tech. Even if I’m sitting and eating, I often have my computer open and what am I showing to those around me as an example? Because children are mimics. And to my partner and to myself, just sitting there and, you know, drinking your tea or coffee or water and tasting what water tastes like.

    Stephen Robles: That’s good. Why did you turn off screen time? Did you not find value in seeing that data anymore? Or was it stressful to see it?

    Georgia Dow: I just knew that I needed to just turn it all off. I wanted it to be because I just wanted to turn it all off. When I’m not working, I’m not on my phone.

    Unless I’m choosing to game or decompress, and then I’m like, okay, this is now a service that I am doing for myself. Plus it tracks like the time that I’m on Skype or doing other things where I’m working. And so it’s not always accurate either to the amount of time that I’m on, because my work is especially now, almost all during screen time, but you know, when if ever I do monitor it, it’s probably more than I should be on.

    Stephen Robles: Right. All right. Final question. You said Batman was your favorite comic character probably overall, but in the Marvel universe, who’s your favorite Avenger?

    Georgia Dow: That is so very difficult because like we have Captain Marvel. Like awesome. And like way overpowered, but, you know, Ironman is just so very interesting.

    I like characters that are flawed and that are unapologetic in their flaws and you can see them out. And so I find them much more interesting than a character that’s perfect like Captain America. That’s boring to me because you’re going to always do the right thing. There’s no interest in that for me.

    So I liked flawed characters that kind of go through things in an interesting manner, much more than I like perfected versions of what humans can be. I think it just gives us too much to have to look up to and we end up feeling like we’re not perfect enough. And perfection is impossible. So how about you?

    Georgia Dow: You didn’t think I was gonna ask!

    Stephen Robles: I didn’t think you were going to turn it around on me. You know, something about Dr. Strange. I dunno if it’s just Benedict Cumberbatch who portrays him so well. But, you know, he is one who has his flaws and the thing that he thought was his identity, meaning surgery, the thing that he thought gave him value as a person was taken away from him.

    I love the first Dr. Strange movie because of that, because of his wrestling to gain back who he is, is to gain back his hands. And that’s actually not what he was being taught. It was that he is a whole person. Without his hands and that he can offer so much to the world and other people, even if he never does another surgery again.

    And that’s something that I deal with sometimes is, I am what I do. And it’s so hard to, it’s so hard to distinguish that because even as I recognize that that’s not a good way to think, “well, if I do nothing, then what am I anyway?” Because he struggled with that and I kind of still struggle with that too, I really like his character in, in seeing his arc.

    That would be my favorite.

    Georgia Dow: Yeah. And I like his cloak.

    Stephen Robles: His cloak is pretty epic. I love it too. Well, Georgia Dow. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can people find what you are making and where would you point people to find you?

    Georgia Dow: So if you’re dealing with anxiety and depression, you can check out

    I am on Twitter. It’s @Georgia_Dow. And if you want to check out my videos or the Apple Talk Podcast I do with Rene, uh, it’s I can get that, at some point I’ll get it right.

    Stephen Robles: No, that’s all right. Well, I’ll put links to all of those things in the show description so you can just click on it, listener.

    Georgia Dow, thanks so much for coming on.

    Georgia Dow: Thank you for having me.

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    Md Kashif Ali
    Md Kashif Ali
    Hey Guys Its Kashif, Founder of Tech Fire. I spend most of my free time creating content for my YouTube channel and this website. I started my YouTube channel at age 15 and my goal was to teach people what they can do with their gadgets.


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