Episode 3, Season 1
Weapons of Mass Distraction: The Dumbing and Disconnecting Effects of Smartphones
We sat down with Dr. Nidhi Gupta to learn about the emerging epidemic of Wireless Mobile Device (WMD) addiction, its impact on our society and what can be done to break the cycle to achieve life-technology balance.
Dr. Nidhi Gupta is a physician, author, and speaker who resigned from her dream job as a pediatric endocrinologist at Vanderbilt earlier this year to start KAP Pediatric Endocrinology, a solo practice focused on unhurried care for children with endocrine disorders. She is also the founder and CEO of Phreedom, an educational initiative focused on helping people achieve life-technology balance.
In this episode, we discuss:
The emerging epidemic of smartphone addiction, in children and adults
- How Dr. Gupta first recognized and came to grips with her own mobile device addiction
- The gravity of the situation – and staggering statistics
- Steps you can take to achieve life-technology balance
More From This Episode
(1:45) Dr. Nidhi Gupta shares her career path and how it led to where she is today with her solo practice and work with the Phreedom movement
(3:20) Dr. Gupta goes into detail on her solo practice and what a care experience looks like for her patients
(7:09) Dr. Gupta shares the idea behind Phreedom
(12:06) Kriste and Dr. Gupta discuss the recent statistics associated with smartphone addiction
(25:31) Dr. Gupta explains how her ReConnect event allows people of all ages to understand the neuroscience behind the addiction
(30:18) Dr. Gupta shares steps toward a life-technology balance
(33:36) Kriste and Dr. Gupta express goals for Phreedom and being present
[00:00:04.290] – Kriste
Hey, welcome to How It’s done. A podcast for Curious Marketers. I’m Kriste Goad. I’ll be your host, and I’m really glad you’re here.
[00:00:15.640] – Kriste
Today we’re talking to Dr. Nidhi Gupta. Dr. Gupta is a physician, author, and speaker. She’s the founder of Cap Pediatric Endocrinology, which is a solo practice focused on unhurried care for children with endocrine disorders. She’s also founder and CEO of Phreedom. That’s Phreedom with a PH. Phreedom is an educational initiative focused on understanding what’s quite literally an epidemic, and that’s the wireless mobile device addiction. She is focused on helping people, especially our young people, achieve life technology balance. I love that term. Welcome to the show, Dr. Gupta.
[00:00:56.350] – Dr. Gupta
Thank you, Kriste. Thank you for having me on your show.
[00:00:59.790] – Kriste
I’m so excited about our conversation today. I’m just really fascinated by your work. I think most of us at this point have heard the term screenagers, but it’s not just teenagers who are addicted to their phones these days, is it? It’s really us adults, actually, maybe more addicted. And we’re probably even the main culprits, teaching our own kids through our own habits and relationships with our phones. So I’m really curious about your career path and how it led you to where you are today with your solo practice and now to your work with the Phreedom movement. So if you wouldn’t mind, Dr. Gupta, can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
[00:01:45.540] – Dr. Gupta
Absolutely. Kriste I was born and raised in India. I started medical school way back, 20 years ago. July 1, 2002, New Delhi, India. Eight years later, I was a pediatric resident at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and then a pediatric endocrinology fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After 16 years of rigorous medical training, I walked into the hallowed hallways of Vanderbilt University Medical Center as an attending physician. It was my dream job, Kriste.
[00:02:21.520] – Kriste
That sounds amazing.
[00:02:24.790] – Dr. Gupta
Exactly, but earlier this year, in February 2022, I resigned from my dream job and launched two missions. My first mission was KAP Pediatric Endocrinology, my solo pediatric endocrinology practice. And my second mission, Phreedom ungripped devices grip life.
[00:02:48.540] – Kriste
Okay, so that’s a pretty big shift after so many years with such esteemed medical institutions. You have to tell us what caused this. Was it someone in your family? Was it just you had been seeing more and more impacts of maybe the harried? Sounds like you lived through COVID as an attending physician at Vanderbilt. So I’m sure there’s all kinds of things that happened over the last couple of years that led you here.
[00:03:20.040] – Dr. Gupta
The last couple of years or the last four years have been life changing. Kriste I have always wanted to provide personalized, unhurried care to my patients, but I can genuinely spend more time with them, listen to their concerns, and listen to their stories. With the way that conventional practices are built, I was finding it harder and harder to do that, harder to accomplish my mission in medicine, harder to find joy in being a physician. And therefore, I devised, I did not devise this. A lot of practices across the country use this model. It is called direct patient care. And the simplest way to understand direct patient care is direct patient care is concierge medicine for normal people. There are no long term contracts. There is a one-time enrollment fee. But you know what? The patient’s care. In return, they get direct access to me via text, via email, or via phone calls. I answer all of their questions directly. Now, entering disorders in children often require lifelong hormone replacement therapy. It’s a big deal for families. It’s a big change for them. They have to have a good understanding of their child’s condition in order to achieve the best outcomes. And that takes time. That takes time for the patient physician interaction. And my practice allows me the luxury of time. There is no waiting room, there is no interference from insurance, and the care is still affordable. I spend almost an hour, sometimes more, with each station. I draw diagrams to explain their thyroid, their diabetes, their pituitary adrenal glands. I discuss sick pain management with them. We go over what the status of pin medication refills are that minimizes after our calls. And we sit there and chat until every possible question or concern of the patient has been addressed. I find that fulfilling. My patients have not experienced health care like this before, and it gives me absolute joy to see the expression on their faces when they leave my clinic.
[00:05:36.030] – Kriste
How long have you been in solo practice?
[00:05:39.130] – Dr. Gupta
I started my practice only two months ago.
[00:05:41.550] – Kriste
Oh, wow. So that is all very new. I bet your patients are really loving it.
[00:05:47.560] – Dr. Gupta
They are loving it. Their reviews, their testimonials, their text messages say it all. And that empowered me to keep going, even though this is the unconventional way of practicing medicine.
[00:06:00.540] – Kriste
So I have a question for you about it. Since you’re so accessible via phone, email, text, that’s a lot of technology. I just wonder how you, how do you find your own life technology balance with that practice? And are you finding that you’re by having to sort of put those own parameters in place for yourself, is that impacting sort of the work you’re doing with Phreedom?
[00:06:30.700] – Dr. Gupta
I practice what I preach, Kriste, and I’m so glad you asked me that question. The reason I started Phreedom or where did that idea first come to me, was when I first acknowledged my own dependency on wireless mobile devices, my own borderline addiction to my devices. And that happened about two and a half years ago when I noticed that my hands would instinctively reach out as if in a preconditioned robotic fashion for my device every time I would sit down to breastfeed my newborn son.
[00:07:06.570] – Kriste
Oh, my gosh.
[00:07:09.560] – Dr. Gupta
That’s what most of us do, right? So something in my brain told me that it was okay for me to stare at my screen instead of looking at his sweet angelic face. That’s what I reflected. You know, during breastfeeding, there’s lots of time to sit back, relax and reflect. So that’s what I did. I reflect. This is more well, this doesn’t seem right. So since then, the seeds of freedom started taking roots. I started finding and devising techniques to achieve life technology balance. I’ll give you two examples of how I aim for my own life technology balance. There are several different ways to do it, but the two that have been most impactful for me in the last six months, I noticed that I was reaching for my device for two things in my phone. The first one was Notes, where I kept my list of things to do. And the second was emails. I have four different emails for four different businesses. So I thought my addiction or my dependency is not to my device, it is to the functionality that my device offers. So I decided to take both of those functions out of my device. Now, instead of having my list of things to do in my notes, I use a diary and a pen.
[00:08:24.010] – Kriste
What? I always keep old-fashioned paper and pen!
[00:08:27.760] – Dr. Gupta
Old-fashioned paper and pen. And I can tell you, Kriste, how much peace of mind I have had since I have gone the old-fashioned route. I have, for example, a big project or a big task that needs to be done in the pages of my diary, I’m able to break down that large task into smaller subtasks. And then when I’m done with these smaller sub tasks, I scratch them off. This is something cathartic.
[00:08:56.890] – Kriste
I hear you. I do the same thing and I can’t wait to draw a line through the things that I’ve completed.
[00:09:04.500] – Dr. Gupta
Yes. But my phone didn’t let me do it. But the bar. So it’s helping me not reach for my phone all the time, and it’s helping me achieve that sense of accomplishment that, yes, I’ve actually done something in my list of things to do. And the second thing I did was wait for this one. Kriste. Okay. I deleted emails from my phone.
[00:09:24.810] – Kriste
I’m not ready for that.
[00:09:30.560] – Dr. Gupta
There are levels of technology balance. There’s a beginner’s level, there is an intermediate level, and there is an advanced version. So this is part of the advanced version. Deleting emails.
[00:09:40.860] – Kriste
So you do not use your smartphone for emails at all. You don’t check emails, you don’t respond to emails. The only time you’re doing emails is in front of your computer.
[00:09:50.670] – Dr. Gupta
That is exactly right. And I check my email once or twice a day. My patients know that email is not the means of communication for anything urgent. If they need me in an urgent or emergency situation, they need to call me. My phone call is always on ringer. I hope that through our podcast today, we are able to make the audience comfortable with the fact that we have to free each other of this unspoken expectation of replying to texts and emails instantly. This might not be the best new standard that we hold each other accountable to, and email is not the only list of things to do.
[00:10:34.800] – Kriste
Well, it’s certainly interesting also that you’re actually using your phone as a phone, because most people these days aren’t answering their phone, they don’t even listen to voicemails. And I’m increasingly finding my own self guilty of that. So it’s so ironic that this quote unquote smartphone isn’t really being used as a phone much anymore.
[00:10:59.960] – Dr. Gupta
Not for me. And I do not want people to throw their smartphones out the window and go back to using a flip phone. That is not the intention. The intention is to achieve balance with smartphone. Use the technology to increase your efficiency, increase your productivity, improve your health and wellbeing. Do not let technology be a 24/7 source of distraction and entertainment.
[00:11:28.840] – Kriste
So, along those lines, I know you said for the past two or three years you’ve really been doing a lot of research. I know you’ve written papers and published in both clinical journals and I think also newspapers and other nonclinical publications on this relatively, and it is a relatively new epidemic of technology and smartphone addiction. Can you share maybe some of the numbers or some of the data that you have found or done original research around to help give us some sort of idea of, I guess, the gravity of the situation?
[00:12:06.790] – Dr. Gupta
The gravity of the situation has started finding its place in medical research in the last five years, Kriste, and most of the research has been focused on children, not so much on adults, like you said in the beginning. Are adults more guilty of this? Are we setting up a not so ideal example for our children? So what we have learnt from our research in children about screen time is that it impacts three to four different areas of health. Prominently. Number one, obesity. Number two, sleep disorders. Number three, mental health issues. And number four, distracted driving. So let me share some data with you. Did you know, Kriste, there are over 6 billion smartphone users worldwide? And that’s the population. The population of the world is about 7.5 billion. Which means that about 85% of the people in the world have access to a smartphone. Imagine the possibilities of what can be done with such wide region of technology. What great things can be achieved when we can all be truly connected and truly using technology to move humankind forward? But is that truly happening? Well, that’s a matter of perspective. So let’s talk about obesity. Recently, a study was published in NGM in which they projected that by year 2030, nearly one in two adults in the US will have obesity. So 50% of adults in the US will have obesity in only eight years from now. What about sleep? National Sleep Foundation conducts a Sleep in America poll in which they found that nine out of ten Americans reported using a technological device in the hour before bed. The more interactive the device was, the harder it is to fall asleep. The same survey also found that Americans feel sleepy on an average of three days a week, with many saying that it impacts their daily activities, mood, and productivity. The next health outcome, mental health. Daily screen time, more than 2 hours per day is associated with higher odds of anxiety, depression, and psychopathological symptoms. The rate of death by suicide in the last decade has increased by 30%. And social media has a big role to play in that. The last health Impact Kriste, which we see pretty much every day when we are on the roads. Distracted driving driver distraction was the cause for 70% crashes in a recent year here in the US. And if we all learn to drive without distraction, we might be able to avoid 4 million out of the 11 million crashes that occur in the US every year.
[00:15:05.430] – Kriste
I mean, those are staggering numbers. As you were talking, it reminded me of that movie The Social Network. I’m sure you’ve seen that. It’s frightening the way that we’re all being manipulated, intentionally manipulated by what we see on our phones and the algorithms that really drive what we see and the information we consume, and increasingly the misinformation that’s consumed. So it definitely makes sense.
[00:15:36.900] – Dr. Gupta
There are millions and billions of dollars, 52 that are being pumped into making the online content more and more addictive. The more we click on links on the internet, the richer someone somewhere in the world gets. The content developers know exactly how our brain works. What is the science behind it? What is the psychology behind it? And they have a very tight grip on our time and attention. Very special focus is paid to make the social media applications and other applications more addictive. Their browser versions are clunkier and they are not so user friendly, but the apps are very addictive.
[00:16:20.580] – Kriste
So how do we combat that? I’m just curious. I have to ask the question because as a marketer, and for any marketers listening to this podcast, for curious marketers, obviously advertisers marketers, we do want to get in front of people and we do want to influence people. And so, you know, this is a little bit there’s got to be millions and billions of dollars at stake. And I’m just curious what’s really at play here and how big of a hurdle are we facing in terms of trying to have a healthier relationship with our smartphones? And as you said earlier, if 85, 90% of the world could actually be connected rather than disconnected and fighting with each other. I’m just curious, in your research, what have you found along those lines? And are we doomed to the special interests?
[00:17:19.610] – Dr. Gupta
It sounds like we are doomed when I present the research finding in that the future seems bleak. Now, what is the biggest barrier that I’m facing in solving this problem of wireless mobile device dependency? There are two barriers. Number one, this issue is in our blind spot. Number two, the human tendency to resist change. Yes, the human tendency to resist change has been the biggest detractor in my mission. Kriste we have normalized our relationship with our devices to such an extent that we don’t think twice about it. I was recently talking to a parent about our event ReConnect Nashville. She asked me, what’s this event about? I said, It’s about screen time and the impact of excessive screen time on our health. She thought about it for a second and then she said, yeah, I understand, but my children don’t spend much time on screens. So I had to put on my coach hat. And I said, it’s not about children. Not just about children. It’s about adults too. And she turned to look at me as if I had grown three heads. It’s really hard to get buy-in from parents because in order to get their kids off devices, parents would need to get off their own devices and come up with device free activities. It’s hard to get buy-in from educational institutions because a lot of education, even at elementary level, has been outsourced to technology. Several school sports teams communicate with each other via social media, which means that even young students must have a social media account, which I find unacceptable on many levels. People hesitate to entertain the idea of life technology balance because they perceive that this might lead them to change their systems and processes in place, which they have become very comfortable with.
[00:19:29.250] – Kriste
And you talk about the addiction part of this. In your research, you have found that quite literally there’s some of the same dopamine triggers in smartphone addiction as there are with drugs or alcohol. Is that correct?
[00:19:47.010] – Dr. Gupta
That is absolutely correct. Kriste in the world of psychology, we have learned a couple of things. The first one is the behavior, the definition of behavior addiction. There are many definitions of behavior addiction that exists out there, but the bottom line of all of those definitions is unsuccessful attempt to curb the behavior. Unsuccessful attempt to curb the behavior. So if you think about it in terms of our interaction with our devices, we make a promise to ourselves. So just check social media for well, yeah, I’ll just check for ten minutes, and then 2 hours later…
[00:20:23.580] – Kriste
Literally 2 hours later.
[00:20:25.910] – Dr. Gupta
So that is a concern. And then there is something called the DSM-5 criteria that guides us or that guide psychologists and mental health professionals in diagnosing substance use disorders. In my research, we have found significant similarities in the DSM-5 criteria that are defined substance use disorder and problematic cellphone use.
[00:20:47.970] – Kriste
I mean, that’s pretty mind blowing if you think about it. And that’s a completely different, I guess, is that part of the conversation you are really trying to have through Phreedom and to help us all see what these devices are taking away from us and that we’re all somewhat addicted, if not majorly addictive. Addicted. Excuse me.
[00:21:15.790] – Dr. Gupta
There is a pattern of a relationship with our devices. There is a spectrum of behavior. On one end of the spectrum is wireless mobile device use, where we are able to use technology for our benefit, to increase our productivity and efficiency. In the next step in that spectrum is wireless mobile device overuse. And the next step is wireless mobile device dependency. And the last step is addiction. There are questionnaires and tests that exist in both medical and non-medical literature. Then I encourage people to take that might help them determine where they lie on that spectrum. Because acknowledging that a problem exists is always step one to finding a solution to that problem.
[00:22:05.340] – Kriste
I also find that just having the information and the data brings things into awareness. So my iPhone, it now serves me up with information about how many hours a day I’ve been on my phone or active on my phone. And then it’ll give me a day every day, a week over week. And I’m always just like flabbergasted by the numbers, you know, like that is so much time. It can be like a full work day. It’s like on my device. And when I stopped to think about that, it is shocking and it has helped me in some instances like, OK, I need to just put down my phone, get away, go ride my bike, go outside, go do something other than doom scrolling or whatever I may be doing on my phone. Or I tend to check a lot of emails. So if I get rid of the email thing, that would be a huge step for me. So I guess on the one hand maybe, you know, Apple is trying to help give us data for this challenge, but on the other hand, not so much. You mentioned the Nashville reconnect. I know you had your first ReConnect in Atlanta and then just last week here in Nashville, ReConnect, Nashville chapter. Can you tell us more about those events and the kinds of information that you’re bringing to those events? Tell us who’s in the audience. What is your goal for those events? I’m curious to know now that you have two under your belt, how those are working and where you see that going.
[00:23:43.000] – Dr. Gupta
ReConnect has been a dream project, Kriste, and it has turned out so phenomenally well. It is a unique event that is delivering transformational results. ReConnect is designed to help us dig deeper into the issue of wireless mobile device dependency. But its greater purpose is to help us reclaim our time and attention, help us reclaim our time and attention without giving up smartphones, without feeling deprived of the pleasures that the devices offer us. At ReConnect, I have the honor of having Tara Heaton as my cospeaker. She’s a communications and neuroscience expert and the founder of the renowned Talk to the Brain platform. Tara and I present signs and stories. We present data and emotions that resonate with people and provide them with food for thought in a very nonjudgmental way. This last weekend, we had our national chapter of ReConnect. We had a fascinating and absolutely engaged audience that included students and adults, entrepreneurs, grandparents, business owners. We have mental health professionals, ADHD, coaches, and educators. We discussed numerous strategies to reconnect with what truly matters. People left the event with smiles on their faces and deep meaning behind their eyes.
[00:25:19.720] – Kriste
Can you give us some examples of the kinds of things that you talk about? Or are there activities that you take your audience through? I’m curious what that looks like.
[00:25:31.080] – Dr. Gupta
And ReConnect. We dig deeper into three questions related to wireless mobile devices. The why, the how, and the what? Why are our devices or the content that we access on our devices addictive? We talk about the neuroscience behind it. Then we talk about, how does it affect our health and wellbeing. And it’s not just mental health. It’s physical health, emotional health, spiritual health. And the third and most important question, what can we do about it? What can we do to achieve live technology balance? Me and Terra, we empower the audience with tools. One of the tools is how to break the trigger loop, how to break the trigger loop of wireless mobile devices. And the other tool as to how to change the conditioning of our brain from escaping from things that we find boring and actually engaging with them. We go through several different strategies. I’ll give you three examples. Number one, turn off nonessential notifications. Turn off nonessential notifications. And there is a lot more to speak to that. But familiarizing yourself with the settings on your devices so that your device is not going bing, buzz, shine, beep.
[00:26:49.170] – Kriste
That’s one of my worst things. I think I’ve got everything turned on.
[00:26:53.250] – Dr. Gupta
Can you imagine? Kriste there are five different types of notifications for each app. There is the sound, there is the badge, the banner, the control center, the lock center, and the notification center. And why do we need five different ways of notifying us of one single app? Most of those are redundant. So if we take the time and effort to go through the settings and notifications and essentially turn everything off except the most essential things, that itself will calm our devices down and will calm our daily routines and our brains down, we will not be as distracted. So that is number one. Number two, I encourage people to again, go the ol0- fashioned route. And wear a wrist watch.
[00:27:41.290] – Kriste
What? Not an Apple Watch? Because I’ve been holding off on the Apple Watch thing which is kind of surprising to me because I do love technology. So recently I was like, you know what? I think I might just go ahead and get one of those Apple Watches finally. But now I’m like, okay, that’s probably not the best idea.
[00:28:03.640] – Dr. Gupta
Yes, absolutely. I mean, that’s your choice. I can only give it more.
[00:28:10.240] – Kriste
But literally, people with the Apple Watches, like, if I’m in their presence and they’re always looking down, I’m like, do you need to be somewhere? Because I think they’re looking at the time or like I’m boring them or something, and they’re like, oh, no, I was just getting a text or whatever. But it’s very distracting for the person as well as the person that they’re supposed to be sitting there having a conversation with.
[00:28:33.420] – Dr. Gupta
Yeah. Nothing tells you more that you are unwanted than being with someone who is not giving you attention. Full attention. Full, undivided attention. I always tell people partial presence is worse than absence. So being fully present, being fully engaged with the person you are talking to, look into their eyes, have a genuine conversation. And if there is something else that needs your attention in that moment, just excuse yourself. Do not let that other person standing there waiting for you to give them your attention back. So wearing a wrist watch helps because if we use our devices to check time, which could be about 50 times a day, we reach for our device to check the time, and in that process, we find notifications. This is what happens to me. I find notifications on the screen, and then I go into answering those notifications about 20 minutes later, I forget, why did I pick up my phone in the rush? That is trick number two. And then the third one. Another old fashioned way. Use an alarm clock, a good old fashioned alarm clock to set your alarm instead of using a smartphone to set your alarm.
[00:29:46.030] – Kriste
That’s crossing a line right there. That’s it. An old-fashioned alarm clock. Just the other day, I had this old-fashioned alarm clock in my garage. I’m like, why do I still have that? Like, who uses those anymore?
[00:30:00.860] – Dr. Gupta
[00:30:03.790] – Kriste
And is that because then you don’t have the, I guess the notion of reaching for your phone when you go to sleep to set it and then get maybe sucked into some wormhole and the same thing when you wake up.
[00:30:18.090] – Speaker 2
You said it exactly right, Kriste. It’s a good idea to put your devices away about 30 minutes before going to bed. Read a book, get settled into your bedtime routine. Just be with your own thoughts. That helps the stimulation calm down in the brain. The content that we access on our devices just before going to bed makes our mind hyper stimulated, which then makes it harder to fall asleep. Then the quality of sleep is not good. And the next day, we are fatigued and tired. And the reason why it is important to use the alarm clock for the morning is so that our devices are not the first thing we are touching when we wake up in the morning. I encourage my audience to take the first 30 minutes of the day to just be with your own thoughts. Just take a few big deep breaths, relax, ease into your day, drink some water, make your coffee, get rest for the day. Just imagine what your day is going to look like. What are you grateful for? Who you are going to hug today? All of this before we let the outside word come rushing in, firstly, into the morning, into our brain. Those are our precious personal, private minutes. 30 minutes in the morning. That’s all we are asking for before we let the outside world take over our brain and attention.
[00:31:49.900] – Kriste
This is really great advice. It’s making me think a lot about my own wireless mobile device addiction. And I have to ask you this question. The acronym for wireless mobile Device is WMD. And I’m guessing, but correct me if I’m wrong here, that’s by design, weapons of Mass Destruction. Is that something that you very consciously came up with?
[00:32:17.210] – Dr. Gupta
Yes. So the most common acronym for WMD is Weapons of Mass Destruction. The way I define WMD is weapons of mass distraction.
[00:32:32.590] – Kriste
I love it.
[00:32:34.060] – Dr. Gupta
The reason I called them WMD is because at some point, I think as humankind, we give way too much respect to our devices by calling them smart. So I refuse to put devices on a pedestal by calling them smart. I call them exactly what they are. Any device which is portable, that is mobile and uses wireless networks to send or receive information, falls under the category of WMD wireless mobile devices. So smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, iPads, laptops, video games, and for completion’s sake, Kriste, I’m going to throw in the modern TV in that mix as well, because modern TV operates more based off internet than the good old fashioned cable. So a lot of functionalities and the addictiveness and the features and the content that we access on TV is similar to WMD. So WMD encompasses all of these devices.
[00:33:31.240] – Speaker 1
Fascinating. So what is your ultimate goal with Phreedom?
[00:33:36.490] – Dr. Gupta
My goal with Phreedom is huge and it is an uphill task, Kriste, and I acknowledge two years into this process that it’s not going to be easy. But I’m here to stay. My goal is to start and continue the conversation about life-technology balance. Technology empowers us, but what we do with that power is what determines how we shape the world around us. You know how in that Spiderman movie they said, with great powers come great responsibilities. So we have to be very responsible, very mindful in our interactions with technology. Not all screen time needs to be looked down upon, like you mentioned earlier, that your Apples won’t tell you the amount of screen time. We have to be careful about how we judge ourselves when we look at that screen time because with recent changes in their settings, when I’m using the phone for navigation, it is including that in screen time. When I’m listening to a book on Audible while driving, that is also being included in screen time, right? So I don’t think that makes my book. So when parents of my patients ask me how much screen time is okay per day, first thing that amuses me is that they never asked me how much screen time is okay for adults, as if adults somehow have a free pass when it comes to screen time. So I tell them the issue is not how much time is being spent on devices. The issue is what else would be happening during that time. If we are spending, let’s say, about 3 hours of leisurely screen time outside of school work, outside of office work, leisurely screen time just dooming the internet. 3 hours per day, that amounts to about 21 hours per week. That amounts to about 1092 hours per year, which is the same as 68 days in a year, assuming that the person is sleeping for about 7 hours on those days. So just a little over two months per year spent on mindless Internet browsing. The goal with Phreedom is to advocate for moderation balance and real life engagement to help us all reconnect with what truly matters.
[00:36:05.610] – Kriste
I love that goal. And then, yeah, you’re right. I mean, it’s going to be an uphill battle because we just get more and more connected. I think you also bring up a really interesting point just now about there’s lots of things that are productive through our technology. I mean, we’re doing a podcast right now, so I certainly hope people are listening to the podcast and I definitely listen to a lot of, especially if I’m driving, you know, listen to podcasts, listen to books on audio. A lot of times I may even be watching, you know, entertaining shows on my phone rather than on my TV. So it’s a very interesting point on how we’re using our devices and what that screen time is used for. So obviously a big part of the conversation, I think as well. But what an amazing thing you’re doing and raising awareness and giving people actual tools to be able to better understand their relationship with technology. And I think you raise a great point about just being present in our lives and present in our conversations with our family and our friends. Certainly makes me think about a lot of times when I’m talking to my son, who’s 21 now, but I’ve definitely been very guilty of not being fully present in his presence and he has let me know it through the years for sure. But speaking of that kind of full circle, you mentioned your son when he was born. This is when this idea was born for you. So I wish you all the success and all the luck on this initiative on your journey. You’ve got this amazing practice model that you’re doing so well. I know we’ll benefit from your work. I appreciate you sharing your story with us today.
[00:38:03.430] – Dr. Gupta
Thank you very much. Kriste, thank you for having me on your show. I had a fantastic time chatting.
[00:38:10.080] – Kriste
Me too. Before we go, it really has been a true joy. I know people will be interested to know, where can I find out more? How can I learn more? How can I learn about the next reconnect? Maybe I want to go. Maybe I want to tell some friends about it. Tell our listeners how they can find you, how they can reach you, how they can follow you.
[00:38:32.650] – Dr. Gupta
Absolutely. The website for Phreedom is Phreedom.net, which is felt with a PH instead of an F. So it’s Phreedom – Phreedom.Net. We have a whole lot of resources on how to achieve life technology balance without giving up smartphones without feeling detrite. So feel free to visit the website. There are podcast interviews, there are blog articles that I’m sure you will find useful. You are also welcome to email us directly at connect@Phreedom.net. And for my KAP endocrine practice, please feel free to visit capendocrine.com. That is K-A-P endocrine.com. Thank you.
[00:39:23.620] – Kriste
That is wonderful. I will certainly include addresses and links in the show notes. I really appreciate your time, and I wish you all the best. That wraps up this episode of how it’s done. My guest today has been Dr. Nidhi Gupta, pediatric endocrinologist and founder of Phreedom, an initiative to understand the impact of smartphone addiction, break the cycle, and achieve life technology balance. Thank you so much, Dr. Nidhi Gupta.
[00:39:56.020] – Dr. Gupta
Thank you, Kriste.
[00:39:58.090] – Kriste
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for listening. We’re looking forward to keeping great conversations coming your way as we grow this podcast. There’s even more great content from our conversations on our blog. Be sure to check it out at growwithfuoco.com. That’s growwithfuoco.com. Stay tuned until next time, and no matter what, stay curious.
- Dr. Gupta’s LinkedIn
- KAP Pediatric Endocrinology website
- Phreedom website
- Email Dr. Gupta
- Pitfalls in the use of mobile wireless devices in healthcare: Distraction, errors, procrastination, and burnout (American Journal of Medicine Open)
- ReConnect Nashville Chapter
- ReConnect Atlanta Chapter
- WMD-related terms
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