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Fight digital addiction with a slower network connection

Published onJan 03, 2020
Fight digital addiction with a slower network connection

As I explained in the book, “friction”—complicated steps or technological problems in your way when you’re trying to complete an online task—can work in your favor when you’re feeling like you’re spending too much time online. Software developers work to eliminate friction, but we can use it to our advantage.

One simple, low-tech way of adding friction to break your internet addiction is using a slower connection. A slower connection might make binge-watching videos, playing graphics-intensive video games, or scrolling through sites with a lot of photos less satisfying and easier to put down—putting you on a path to break the dopamine trigger that keeps you addicted.

Here are some ways to do this (which will be of most use if you’re in a country where you already have high internet speeds):

  • If a wifi network you could join offers a 2G (or 2.4G) option as well as a 5G option, join the one with the lower number.

  • Make your phone use a 2G cellular data network:

    • On Android, you may be able to change this setting under Network Settings->Preferred Network Type.

    • Here’s where you can change this setting on iPhones.

  • Use your settings to limit the amount of wifi and cellular data you use. Here’s how to do that on Android and iPhone, using your data settings.

For more tips on detoxing from your internet addiction, check out Keep Calm and Log On!

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