Slap This Big Red Button For An Instant Social Media Detox

Dangerous machines, like ones that can quickly reduce you to a fine red mist or a smoking cinder, tend to have a Big Red Button™ to immediately stop whatever the threat is. Well, if a more dangerous machine than social media has ever been invented, we’re not sure what it would be, which is why we’re glad this social media kill switch exists.

The idea behind [Gunter Froman]’s creation is to provide a physical interface to SocialsDetox, a service that blocks or throttles connectivity to certain apps and websites. SocialDetox blocks access using either DNS over HTTPS (DoH) or, for particularly pesky and addictive apps, a service-specific VPN. The service does require a subscription, the cost of which varies by the number of devices you want to protect, but the charges honestly seem pretty reasonable.

While SocialsDetox can be set up to block access on a regular schedule, say if you want to make the family dinner a social-free time, there may be occasions where killing social access needs to happen right now. This is where the Big Red Button comes into it, which is attached to a Wemos D1 Mini. Pressing the kill switch sends an API request to either enable or disable the service, giving you a likely much-needed break from the swirling vortex of hate and envy that we all can’t seem to live without. Except for Hackaday, of course — it’s totally not like that here.

The irony of using an IoT appliance to restrict access to social media is not lost on us, but you work with the tools you’ve got. And besides, we like the physical interface here, which sort of reminds us this fitting enclosure for a PiHole.

8 thoughts on “Slap This Big Red Button For An Instant Social Media Detox

  1. Seems much easier to just have everyone set their phones in say a bedroom, close the door, and go to supper :) … if this is an actual problem to solve to begin with. One of the wonderful things about texting and voice-mail, you can always get back to the person(s) later…. Or any of the social media sites that are out there (we don’t use any of them)…..

    1. I sort of agree with you but don’t forget, those platforms are specifically engineered to be powerfully addictive. There are reams of literature about it. It does seem goofy that services like that exist but they are actually treating real addiction. Similar to telling someone that smokes to just put the cigarettes in another room. Doesn’t work. I’m quite old enough that when I was younger people smoked much more regularly. Many smokers would wake up and right there first thing in the morning light up. Guess what I see a lot of people doing now first thing when they wake up? Grab the ol cellphone that sleeps right there in the bedside table and open up social networks (I refuse to refer to them as “media.” New devices, age old problem.

      1. Hard for me to ‘understand’ the addiction of ‘always’ connected to social networks. But I suppose it could be true. Just like I don’t really understand drugs, alcohol, and tobacco addiction as they never tempted me in the least. So hard for me to ’empathize’ with those that are. I know my first boss was a chain smoker, but finally got over it with the the ‘patch’/’gum’ method when company went non-smoking back then. We employees were all the better for it…

        With my family, the only time the cell phone comes out (at dinner or visiting) is if we have a question to verify validity :) . One of those ‘I heard this’ conversations :) .

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