Sorry folks... Fifty Shades of Grey just got a whole lot duller - but that's actually a good thing.


Smartphones are increasingly perceived as the new cigarettes of society. Amongst youth, they're often referred to as the frenemy. And many of us have a complicated love/hate relationship with them. Because of this, increasing numbers of people are choosing to 'quit' smartphones, similar to the way people quit smoking in prior decades. Like quitting cigarettes, killing the smartphone addiction requires some nifty digital detox hacks.

One such trick is almost too simple to mention, but hey it works, so here goes nothing: "Going grey," or switching the screen to grayscale, a.k.a. black and white is, for now, one possible solution. In the New York Times  Nellie Bowles describes that the success of this trend has to do with the fact that the screen becomes far less attractive and appealing in grey as opposed to colour, thereby reducing the amount of time one is inclined to spend on it.

Bevil Conway, who works for the National Eye Institute, explains the science behind the switch:

"Color’s not a signal for detecting objects, it’s actually something much more fundamental: It’s for telling us what’s likely to be important. If you have lots of color and contrast then you’re under a constant state of attentional recruitment. Your attentional system is constantly going, 'Look look look over here."'

We all know the drill: You unlock your phone to check an important appointment and end up scrolling through Instagram because that pinkish-yellowish-rainbowish icon is just too irresistible! This makes sense. Donuts, unicorns and perfectly engineered colour-blocked-cocktails are simply not that photogenic in black and white. 


We find it troubling, to say the least that "hooked" smartphone users are resorting to options like going grey. But until tech companies figure out real solutions on how to walk the line between social responsibility and profits, then users will continue exploring such life hacks. In the meantime, the mom in us must bestow this little nugget of wisdom on our readers suffering from social media addiction: The real world, here and now, is in itself a big technicoloured dream, much more vibrant when NOT viewed through your screen.

We think that the Holistically Happy trend and the growing Sensory Fetishism trends provide a healthy antidote to the Inline trend. However, we expect that these three movements will have to adapt and develop a way to co-exist in our current hybrid reality.

Spotted on: Treehugger