Notifications, Notifications: Distracting Our Everyday Life

The digital age means we live in a world of instant notifications for just about everything. But is it getting too much?


Once upon a time, the only thing to pop up on your mobile phone screen was a text message – but with our tech world turning more portable, our smartphones are the window to our online world, now showing us everything instantly.

These days of the old excuse of ‘oh I didn’t get it’ or ‘no I didn’t see it’ no longer washes.


From text messages, tweets, and Facebook comments to multiple messaging agents such as Messenger, WhatsAppb and BBM all keep you connected to your favourite service and all offering push notifications for ‘right now’ viewing.

Your calendar, eBay, and PayPal apps show you reminders, outbid notices, and when you have received a payment. Even games will pop up telling you of new tracks, levels, and challenges that are available.

Now on Your Computer

Even if you turn your phone off, the advances in Mac OS X and other desktop operating systems means they include a Notification Centre so your social connections and messaging services pop up on your computer too, appear on screen briefly on your desktop before vanishing off to a designated panel for you to access when needed.


Most services will also send an email. So when someone comments on your Facebook post or retweets one of your tweets, you get a email to tell you that they have.


Now on Your Wrist

One step further is the new smartwatch craze. Now your phone is not the only thing keeping you connected to the online world.


Pairing your smartphone to your smartwatch means you can see notifications without even reaching for your phone. A quick glance at your wrist is all it takes to keep up with what your friends are up to.


So for me. I am sitting here writing this article, and my Mac, phone, and watch are going crazy with visual and audible notifications.

Facebook slides in from the side on my Mac, then pops up on screen on my iPhone, and a second later my wrist vibrates, and it pops up on my Pebble smartwatch. And when I open my Mail, a fourth notification will be there too.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, all these notifications come with a barrage of pops, chimes, swooshes, dings, and vibrations.

Stop It

Tech companies all fight for your screen time, shoving more and more information they think you want to see. Technology that is supposed to make your life easier is increasingly encroaching on your everyday life, distracting you from work and family life.

Okay, so I choose to have these all turned on. I could dispense with email notifications, and putting my phone on silent means it is just my wrist that notifies me. However, it is so easy to see how you can fall into this world of instant information without realising it.


I love my tech, and generally I love the way I can see what is happening in my tech life without having to visit each service or website, but sometimes I just like to turn everything off.

I close my Mac, I switch my phone to silent, and I turn off my Pebble watch.

Do it yourself. Watch some uninterrupted television or spend some time with your children.

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