Angry Birds Not a Time Waster
Fareed Zakaria thinks we're wasting too much time playing Angry Birds.
Fareed Zakaria notes of the Angry Birds phenomenon,
The world has wasted a total of 200,000 years playing the game – much of that in the last 12 months alone.
Just imagine what we could have accomplished if that time was spent productively.
But this misapprehends the nature of productivity. Yes, if people are spending six hours a day when they’re supposed to be working playing games on their phone, they’re being unproductive. But, presumably, most people who play games like Angry Birds on their phone do so in the way I do: killing a few minutes while waiting at the doctor’s office or some such. That time was previously mindnumbingly unproductive; now, it’s at least bearably spent.
Additionally, the notion that we should be spending all our time “being productive” isn’t based on the reality of the human brain. Most people perform better in complex mental tasks if they take frequent–but brief!–breaks from them. Spending three minutes playing a game every once in a while is almost surely better than starting at the computer screen all day.