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How can you break free from tech addiction?

5 min

How can you break free from tech addiction?

The hidden cost of gamification and how to reclaim our motivation and ability to change.

In the midst of our daily digital dance—emails sent, steps counted, likes accrued—have you ever stopped to question why these actions feel so rewarding? Why does getting a high score on a fitness app bring such a rush? Or on the other hand, why does breaking a streak on a language learning app feel so disheartening? You're not alone. Behind the screens, gamification and scoring mechanisms play a significant role, not just in captivating our attention but in adding unforeseen stress to our lives.

Think about the last time you felt a surge of pride from achieving a new badge in an app. Now, reflect on the pressure to maintain that streak or ranking. Does this pressure enhance your enjoyment, or does it add another (subtle) layer of stress to your already busy life? The truth is, while gamification can make boring tasks more engaging, its also competitive which becomes stressful. Particularly enhanced when our worth or progress is quantified by scores and leaderboards.

And what about our motivation? When rewards and recognition from apps become the primary goal, our intrinsic motivation—the joy of learning for learning's sake, of exercising for feeling good, of connecting for genuine relationships—starts to go away. Have you ever continued using an app more for the rewards than for the actual activity or benefit it provides? This shift from intrinsic to extrinsic motivation could potentially lead us to disengage from activities we once found meaningful.

So, how do we navigate the digital world in a way that enriches rather than depletes our well-being?

There's no doubt that Individual efforts to change our relationship with technology are crucial, but its worth recognising that a large portion of the responsibility falls on those building the tech. How can they redesign digital spaces to foster empowerment rather than dependency, to encourage intrinsic motivation over competitive stress?

That's where NOWATCHs Check-In feature comes in. By asking, "How do you feel?" when your body is experiencing stress, NOWATCH places the emphasis back on personal insight, encouraging you to “Check-in” with your mind and body when faced with a stressor, rather than giving you an arbitrary score. It's a radical departure from apps that rank and score your health metrics, aiming instead to foster intrinsic motivation and put you in the drivers seat of your health transformation, rather than through a competitive edge that often leads to stress and disengagement.

As we ponder the path forward, let's consider our role in this digital evolution. How can we, as users, demand more from the technologies that permeate our lives? How can we support and champion innovations that prioritise our mental health and intrinsic motivation?



The journey toward a healthier relationship with technology is both collective and individual. It begins with awareness, a willingness to question and challenge the status quo, and an openness to embracing technologies that truly empower us.

Coming soon: new app overview page

As NOWATCH prepares to unveil its new overview page, devoid of the typical gamification stressors, it aims to sets a new precedent for digital wellness tools. Joana, the Innovation Lead, encapsulates the mission to empower users to manage their health "in a stress-free manner," highlighting a shift away from points and leaderboards to non-judgmental, supportive data visualisations.

This vision for the future, where technology supports rather than dictates our well-being, is not just aspirational but essential. It challenges us to rethink our digital interactions and supports a movement towards apps and devices that respect our psychological needs and promote genuine self-improvement.



Brand Lead

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