How We are Getting Dumb By Using Too Much Whatsapp

The Research of an Armenian Scientist Lead to the Conclusion We Are Atrophying Our Skills.

Levi Borba
Be Unique
Published in
4 min readJul 20, 2020


Photo by Rachit Tank on Unsplash

The first step to solve a problem is to recognize it. And I discovered I had one when I installed an app called YourHour. This simple app will tell you how much you use your phone per day, and how many times you unlock it.

I installed it after reading in one of Cal Newport’s books about how an average citizen unlock his phone around 150 times per day. This number points to widespread obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is not that I didn’t believe Cal (A brilliant author, worth to check his thoughts about the concept of Deep Work).

I just did not believe I had this compulsive behavior myself.

To my surprise, the app showed me that I was also unlocking my phone near 160 times and using it more than 4 hours per day on average. That is when I decided it was enough.

I didn’t want to miss everything around me. The scenes, the people. After all, even my wife I met in public transport, when — fortunately — smartphones were still not a thing.

I was committed to the battle against phone addiction. The first step was to fight the productivity excuse.

The Productivity Excuse for Excessive Phone Use.

I need to use my phone to check my agenda! I need to see my bank transactions! What if my boss calls me?

Yes, work stuff is important, and it is ok to be accessible during emergencies. We get it.

But in reality, it is not that what makes us spend hours looking at our phones. You are probably checking your agenda or bank account a fraction of the time you spend endlessly scrolling your Facebook newsfeed or Instagram.

Most of the time, in my case, was consumed by Whatsapp (more than 2 hours per day) and Facebook (near 1.5 hours). Yourhour inform all those numbers, broken per app, in detail. By the way, I am not earning any commission from the app, and it is free to use.

As an Expat living thousands of kilometers from my family and most of my friends, I had a pretext to use so frequently Whatsapp and…