Digital Vice

By Samuele Anzellotti

There are many activities that we could carry out without necessarily using our phone: cooking, working out at the gym, doing volunteer work, spending time with friends, learning a new language, going to a concert or reading a book. But are we really ready to turn off our smartphones? In Digital Vice, over a period of 37 days, the minutes spent touching, unlocking and interacting with the phone are related to the quantity of pages I could have read. Having considered four different reading speeds that texts would entail, the pages were added up until a total of nine books was reached: a novel, philosophical texts, an exhibition catalog, and books on design.

Featured image of the project Digital Vice

Metaphor used:

In an attempt to consider the number of hours spent on the internet as hours spendable in offline activities, and among these having examined the reading of a book, the metaphor I used would be to consider time as pages of books. How many days of smartphone use would Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice correspond to?

Intended Meaning:

In 2022 in Italy we spent approximately 6 hours of our waking time connected to the internet, half of which connected through our smartphones. Personally, I check my phone 4 times an hour, counting an average of 16 over 24 time slots of daily use. We could define it as addiction, yet we cannot deny how the internet is increasingly useful to us, helping to facilitate many of our daily actions. How many of the hours spent on the internet are wasted time? Is highly persuasive design fueling our addiction to smartphones? Or do we simply need some extra power? And why not consider the environmental costs of the technological infrastructures that allow fast and uninterrupted connectivity today?


Smartphone usage in daily life, data collected from the Digital Wellbeing app for Android and found in the App Usage.