Shock yourself off Facebook!

Posted by: Maxine Brimmer (4 years ago)

Do you whittle away your free hours browsing around Facebook and procrastinating around the internet? Help might be at hand, but it seems the solution isn’t will power so much as electrical power.

A pair of PhD students at MIT have come up with the Pavlov Poke, a small device attached to your computer which administers a small electric shock when your browsing habits stray away from the productive. Robert Morris and Dan McDuff found that between the two of them they were wasting up to 50 hours a week on sites like Facebook, and that’s how the Pavlov Poke was conceived.

Named for famous physiologist Ivan Pavlov, the Pavlov Poke works by conditioning users against wasting their time on Facebook by using unpleasant (but not harmful) shocks to steer them away from procrastination. Whilst both Morris and McDuff insist that the project began as a job and that they have no plans to launch it commercially, they both agree that there is much to be said for the growing need for self-control in a world of so many distractions.

Whilst you may not poke yourself off Facebook with electric shocks any time soon, it is important to note that one recent study found out that social media such as Facebook may be as addictive as alcohol or cigarettes. Another unrelated study also suggested that Facebook can make users unhappy.

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