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Could You Make It Through Dinner Without Checking Your Phone?

When Marc and Kara Lyons take their family out for a nice dinner, they typically hand their two sons cellphones to play games and watch YouTube videos. Sometimes, the parents grab the devices back to check their own email and text messages.But on a recent night at Hearth, an Italian-inspired restaurant in the East Village, the boys, 5 and 7, colored on blank white paper with crayons. Their parents discussed the highlights of their trip to New York from their home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to celebrate Mr. Lyons’s 40th birthday.The reason for the tech-free dinner? The cellphones were stashed in a small decorative box on their…

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Mind: Endless Gaming May Be a Bad Habit. That Doesn’t Make It a Mental Illness.

The World Health Organization last month added “internet gaming disorder” to its manual of psychiatric diagnoses, and the reaction was, shall we say, muted. At a time when millions of grown adults exchange one-liners with Siri or Alexa, the diagnosis seems years overdue, doesn’t it? Put down your phone and look around: If half the people you see walking down the street or riding the bus with you are face-deep in a small screen, then it’s not a wild leap to think that some percentage of us, particularly those younger and male, have fallen hard for “Fortnite” or “League of Legends” or “World of Warcraft” and cannot…

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Video Game Addiction Tries to Move From Basement to Doctor’s Office

Video games work hard to hook players. Designers use predictive algorithms and principles of behavioral economics to keep fans engaged. When new games are reviewed, the most flattering accolade might be “I can’t put it down.”Now, the World Health Organization is saying players can actually become addicted.On Monday, “gaming disorder” will appear in a new draft of the organization’s International Classification of Diseases, the highly regarded compendium of medical conditions.Concerns about the influence of video games are dovetailing with increasing scrutiny over the harmful aspects of technology, as consumers look for ways to scale back consumption of social media and online entertainment.The W.H.O. designation may help legitimize…

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Apple’s WWDC 2018: What to Watch For

Photo An Apple store in San Francisco. The company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference starts Monday in San Jose, Calif. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple kicks off its annual conference for developers on Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Here’s what to expect:■ It’s all about software, software, software. Apple used last year’s event to introduce its HomePod speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home. But this year, don’t expect news about new gadgets.■ Apple is set to address some of the tech backlash on issues such as data privacy and smartphone addiction, including announcing new tools for parents to monitor…

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Disruptions: Me and My Numb Thumb: A Tale of Tech, Texts and Tendons

SAN FRANCISCO — It took me a few months to accept that I had given myself tendinosis in my phone thumb.It is a depressingly modern condition in which the tendons around the thumb inflame as a result of repetitive strain — in my case because I had, for hours a day over years of a life, tapped that right-hand digit onto the glass of my smartphone.The condition sounds like the subject of a local television news trend story about teenagers whose thumbs seize up while they play video games. It was definitely not something I, a mature professional, should ever have. I began to call it my…

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