- American dream dying, but many see free market as solution: Poll
- Air Force base in South Carolina boots Nativity scene
- Israel poised for a $173M boost from the U.S. for missile defense
- Leon Panetta named as source of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ scriptwriter’s information
- Mandela service sign language interpreter: ‘He made up his own signs’
- Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
- Ben Affleck: Fundraising for Democrats started to ‘feel gross’
- Vladimir Putin orders military to boost presence in Arctic
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: ‘Lesbian capital’ of the Northeast
- Elian Gonzalez: It’s America’s fault that my mother died
When you just can’t stop yourself, an app can
‘Outsourcing self-control’ becomes technology trend in a world of temptations
NEW YORK | Dan Nainan can’t trust himself to work at his computer without clicking on distractions, so he uses an Internet-blocking program to shut down his Web access twice a day.
“I’m sorry, but try as I might, I could never, ever do this on my own,” said the New York City comedian who is struggling to finish a book. “I wish I could, but I just don’t have the discipline.”
Mr. Nainan’s practice of cutting off the Internet twice a day for two hours is one example of how Americans are trying to control their impulses using technology that steps in to enforce good behavior.
In this season of New Year’s resolutions, many tools are available to help people stay in line, including a GPS-enabled app that locks down texting once a car gets rolling and a program that curbs credit card spending. Another device monitors your workout and offers real-time voice feedback.
Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can’t manage our own desires?
“The thing is we’re becoming more aware of these behaviors and, as a result, we’re trying to seek help to circumvent some of our more base impulses,” Ms. Mack said. “We’re bombarded more and more with temptations on a regular basis, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to deal with that.”
Tools to cope with temptation are everywhere.
Some car owners are voluntarily using technology developed for convicted drunken drivers — ignition locks attached to in-car breathalyzers.
Shelley Snyder, marketing coordinator for Intoxalock, said about 1.5 percent of the company’s clients are voluntary and include parents imposing the setup on their young drivers.
“I know that isn’t a lot, but it is growing at a slow, steady pace,” she said.
One of Intoxalock’s competitors, Guardian Interlock Systems, said its figures are slightly higher: 5 percent to 7 percent of clients are drivers installing the equipment voluntarily, with about one-third of that intended for use by teens.
Also gaining ground are clients using the system permanently after they’ve completed court-ordered monitoring — about 1 percent of Guardian’s clients in 2010, compared with none the previous year.
“We hope not to see these people again,” said David Contreras, Guardian’s vice president of operations. “It’s the one product I’ve been associated with where I don’t want to sell it to you twice.”
If your drunken behavior tends to cause more remorse off the road than on, there’s an app for that as well.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- More than a quarter million sign up for Obamacare in November
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgement in Heller II
- Gov't Motors: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Human interest stories to feed interest, satisfy curiosity and see outside the box.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
News and views on the Civil War.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow