Now in our generation, we are exposed to fast-developing technology that is rapidly digging into our mobile applications. Meanwhile, cycling is one of the top favoured leisure pursuit, exercise, and mode of transport in the world with the health benefits it provides and requires no accompany to enjoy. In Barratt’s article “Healthy Competition: A qualitative study investigating persuasive technologies and the gamification cycling,” he highlights the advantages and disadvantages of these advancing features of such mobile apps such as Strava, MapMyRide, Garmin Connect, etc. Considering Barratt’s article and personal experience, I believe modern-day programs in technology promotes competition among users and which most foster unhealthy physical and mental behaviours. As intriguing and convenient technology is, it overthrows the natural fun to the world and creates unnecessary competition.
Just as any other technological devices and programs, convenient, fun, and compelling features are purposely aimed by the creators to attract users to promote frequent use and potentially have us obsessed. With the number of technological materials we have current day along with widespread advertisements for the numerous apps out there, it is easy for us to be sucked in. Additionally, not only the apps themselves make addiction easy; many fitness apps nowadays are linked to other gears such as fitness watches (e.g; Apple Watches) and primarily promote healthy living altogether.
Providing other examples, social media apps and mobiles themselves ruin real-life experiences. Apps widely used by the teenage and adult population like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., foster unhealthy competition between users with features that account for quantitative validation; likes, views, and retweets. Users obsess about earning more “numbers” than the community over the value of simply sharing their posts with the public. Even simple applications such as cameras and video makers are commonly used at events such as live performances. Users of these apps focus on capturing memories through devices rather than experiencing them through their own eyes. As someone who follows fandoms, I witness realistic examples where fansites often try to capture the most stunning shots of celebrities at concerts so they can out compete other fansites on social media for popularity.
Like how Nelson and Dawson discussed in their article and relating to my past articles: competition generates excitement. Creators in the market know how to manipulate “competition” to see outcomes they desire. Programmers design features that produce competitive behaviour by which involves users obsessively engaging with the apps. As @eternity1870 said: “as long as competition exists, people will have the motivation to be involved” whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously. All of these examples, along with Barratt’s, alert us to focus on things outside of the virtual world
Although it is too late now to abandon these devices and apps with their dominating presence in today’s society, we must realize the enjoyment we can obtain in the absence of them to develop healthier habits and avoid unneeded competition.