Watch: Addicted to Your Devices?

About two years ago, some participants in my Science of Willpower course started to name “technology addiction” as their main willpower challenge. It’s only accelerated since then, as we’ve fallen more fully in love with our devices.

Last week I stopped by the Toronto studios of the CBC to give advice about how to gain more willpower over the siren songs of your cellphone, email, Facebook, or whatever tech-drug leaves you never satisfied but always seeking your next fix.

Watch the video below. You can also listen to the full radio interview I did with Spark host Nora Young here. Or check out two articles on this topic from the New York Times, which includes my comments as well as other experts and leaders in the tech world: The Workplace Benefits of Being Out of Touch and Silicon Valley Worries About Addiction to Devices.

Kelly McGonigal on Spark from Ryan Couldrey on Vimeo.

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5 Comments on “Watch: Addicted to Your Devices?”

  1. healthdemystified
    04/17/2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Wow, interesting stuff. I’ve been reading up on Roy Baumeister and Walter Mischel and their landmark studies on “self-control” and “willpower”…but, in this interview, you really expressed it more clearly than than any other expert I’ve heard in regards to self-regulation.

    Great stuff, Kelly!

    I think you nailed it when you said that our addiction to technology is mindless: Like you said, we don’t even realize that we’re “subconsciously” logging on to our Gmail for the 5th time in the last half hour. And, I totally relate with what you said about the “itch” that seems to be only relieved by compulsively checking our smart phones.

    Add to that the excess of information and distractions we have now in the information age, and we have REALLY GOT to start setting up those barriers you talk of.

    I want to let you know I just tweeted this to my audience. Well spoken


    Eric Wang, Pharm.D. Candidate 2012

  2. 04/23/2012 at 2:39 am #

    Technololgy may be somewhat addictive, but, new technoogy such as smartphones/tab computers can also afford new solutions to old problems of “everyday” addiction such as addiction to tobacco. There is a whole new genration of smartphone apps dedicated to smoking cessation that offer new alternatives to the traditional approaches that usually employ Nicotine Replacement Therapy or pharmaceutical drugs. My own mobile app, “Quit Smoking, Start Now,” utilizes some key tenets of the new science of willpower that Kelly McGonigal promotes in her book, and, is (in my opinion), the most powerful and the most comprehensive smoking cessation app available today, incorporating unique features not found anywhere else. More info on the app can be found on our website,

  3. 03/30/2013 at 7:32 am #

    The problem appears to be quite large. Read this:

  4. 03/09/2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Excellent Kelly, and very importantI

    I believe in not too distant future addiction to devices will cause much more serious harm to the society, than addiction to drugs.

    The reason… many more of us are using devices than drugs.

    Also the drugs we can reject, but devices are becoming integral part of life, without which we cannot function in the society. It’s a catch 22 situation.

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