Your local newspaper "insisted"? :D I am pretty sure you can turn that off as well, if you wish. No application can have more power over your phone than yourself.
I see you don't want to turn off all the alerts from your phone. But then. it's not that you don't have the option to not get distracted if they distract you, it's that you don't want to turn what distract you off. That's different than blaming the notification, or the smartphone for causing you to distract. If you really need to focus on some work, for instance, you could set your phone to be silent for a couple of hours and then check your notifications whenever you take your coffee break, or when you feel like it. That's what I do, and it works very well for me. I am the one who has the power over my phone and the notifications. I make it work according to my needs. You don't need to change your notifications one by one every time. I find the 'silent' button very useful. I am pretty sure your phone has a 'silent' button. -Susan