‘Digital Minimalism’: How To Hang Up On Your Phone Addiction
February 07, 2019 Jeremy Hobson Serena McMahon
Cal Newport, author of the new book “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” and an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, argues that phone use is getting in the way of too much of our lives.
more on contemplative computing in this IMS blog
This Is Your Brain Off Facebook
Planning on quitting the social platform? A major new study offers a glimpse of what unplugging might do for your life. (Spoiler: It’s not so bad.)
Benedict Carey, Jan 30, 2019
This Is Your Brain Off Facebook by BENEDICT CAREY
So what happens if you actually do quit? A new study, the most comprehensive to date, offers a preview.
Well before news broke that Facebook had shared users’ data without consent, scientists and habitual users debated how the platform had changed the experience of daily life.
the use of Facebook and other social media is linked to mental distress, especially in adolescents.
Others have likened habitual Facebook use to a mental disorder, comparing it to drug addiction and even publishing magnetic-resonance images of what Facebook addiction “looks like in the brain.”
When Facebook has published its own analyses to test such claims, the company has been roundly criticized.
For abstainers, breaking up with Facebook freed up about an hour a day, on average, and more than twice that for the heaviest users.
research led by Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has found that high levels of passive browsing on social media predict lowered moods, compared to more active engagement.
more on Facebook in this IMS blog
Digital Text is Changing How Kids Read—Just Not in the Way That You Think
Holly Korbey, Aug 21, 2018
According to San Jose State University researcher Ziming Lu, this is typical “screen-based reading behavior,” with more time spent browsing, scanning and skimming than in-depth reading. As reading experiences move online, experts have been exploring how reading from a screen may be changing our brains. Reading expert Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid, has voiced concerns that digital reading will negatively affect the brain’s ability to read deeply for sophisticated understanding, something that Nicholas Carr also explored in his book, The Shallows. Teachers are trying to steer students toward digital reading strategies that practice deep reading, and nine out of ten parents say that having their children read paper books is important to them.
“Digital reading is good in some ways, and bad in others,” he said: in other words, it’s complicated.
According to Julie Coiro, a reading researcher at the University of Rhode Island, moving from digital to paper and back again is only a piece of the attention puzzle: the larger and more pressing issue is how reading online is taxing kids’ attention. Online reading, Coiro noticed, complicates the comprehension process “a million-fold.”
Each time a student reads online content, Coiro said, they are faced with almost limitless input and decisions, including images, video and multiple hyperlinks that lead to even more information. As kids navigate a website, they must constantly ask themselves: is this the information I’m looking for?
Teens worry they use phones too much
Andrew M. Seaman
Roughly half of U.S. teens say they spend too much time on their cellphones, according to research from Pew. About the same proportion of teens report taking steps to limit their use of the devices. Another survey found that about two-thirds of parents also worry their children spend too much time in front of screens; nearly 60% of parents report setting screen time restrictions for their children. The findings come as some technology companies introduce features to cut back on phone addiction.
Amid roiling debates about the impact of screen time on teenagers, roughly half of those ages 13 to 17 are themselves worried they spend too much time on their cellphones. Some 52% of U.S. teens report taking steps to cut back on their mobile phone use, and similar shares have tried to limit their use of social media (57%) or video games (58%), a new Pew Research Center survey finds.
Overall, 56% of teens associate the absence of their cellphone with at least one of these three emotions: loneliness, being upset or feeling anxious. Additionally, girls are more likely than boys to feel anxious or lonely without their cellphone.
The vast majority of teens in the United States have access to a smartphone, and 45% are online on a near constant basis. The ubiquity of social media and cellphones and other devices in teens’ lives has fueled heated discussions over the effects of excessive screen time and parents’ role in limiting teens’ screen exposure. In recent months, many major technology companies, including Google and Apple, have announced new products aimed at helping adults and teens monitor and manage their online usage.
Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to say they spend too much time on social media (47% vs. 35%).
Meanwhile, 31% of teens say they lose focus in class because they are checking their cellphone – though just 8% say this often happens to them, and 38% say it never does.
Girls are more likely than boys to express feelings of anxiety (by a 49% to 35% margin) and loneliness (by a 32% to 20% margin) when they do not have their phone with them.
more on contemplative computing in this iMS blog
Methods activate ‘same brain mechanisms as cocaine’ and leads to users experiencing ‘phantom’ notification buzzing, experts warn
Social media platforms are using the same techniques as gambling firms to create psychological dependencies and ingrain their products in the lives of their users, experts warn.
atasha Schüll, the author of Addiction by Design, which reported how slot machines and other systems are designed to lock users into a cycle of addiction.
Whether it’s Snapchat streaks, Facebook photo-scrolling, or playing CandyCrush, Schüll explained, you get drawn into “ludic loops” or repeated cycles of uncertainty, anticipation and feedback — and the rewards are just enough to keep you going.
Like gambling, which physically alters the brain’s structure and makes people more susceptible to depression and anxiety, social media use has been linked to depression and its potential to have an adverse psychological impact on users cannot be overlooked or underestimated.
Tech insiders have previously said “our minds can be hijacked” and that Silicon Valley is addicting us to our phones, while some have confessed they ban their kids from using social media.
However, the number of monthly active users of Facebook hit 2.13 billion earlier this year, up 14% from a year ago. Despite the furore around its data privacy issues, the social media monolith posted record revenues for the first quarter of 2018, making $11.97bn, up 49% on last year.
more on addiction in this IMS blog
Social Media Use in 2018
A majority of Americans use Facebook and YouTube, but young adults are especially heavy users of Snapchat and Instagram
early 2018 is defined by a mix of long-standing trends and newly emerging narratives
Facebook and YouTube dominate this landscape, as notable majorities of U.S. adults use each of these sites. At the same time, younger Americans (especially those ages 18 to 24) stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users
The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.
a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites, including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.
- Pinterest remains substantially more popular with women (41% of whom say they use the site) than with men (16%).
- LinkedIn remains especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
- The messaging service WhatsApp is popular in Latin America, and this popularity also extends to Latinos in the United States – 49% of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.
more on social media use in this IMS blog
Students and Social Media: How Much is Too Much?
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018 | 1:00 PM CENTRAL | 60 MINUTES
Instant communication with one another (and the world) has tremendous benefits. At the same time, it has serious drawbacks that tend to offset those advantages. The evidence is mounting that students’ overreliance on their cherished devices is interfering with their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, ultimately impacting their emotional health, mental health, and academic performance.
How can your institution assist students in the digitally-obsessed information age?
Register today for the Magna Online Seminar, Students and Social Media: How Much is Too Much?, presented by Aaron Hughey, EdD. You’ll explore ways to develop and implement a blueprint for effectively assisting students who are experiencing emotional and mental challenges due to their overindulgence in social media.
Through the evidence-based best practices and insights gleaned through this seminar, you’ll be able to respond more effectively to the needs of students who are experiencing emotional and mental health challenges due to their overinvolvement with social media.
Upon completion of this seminar, you’ll be able to:
- Understand how today’s students are qualitatively different from their predecessors 15-20 years ago
- Articulate why technology has both benefits and challenges
- Describe the prevalence of emotional and mental issues among today’s college students
- Describe the emerging relationship between overinvolvement with social media and emotional issues
- Educate students, faculty, staff, and student affairs professionals regarding social media and how overinvolvement can precipitate stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicide and violence
- Recognize basic symptomology and warning signs associated with overinvolvement with social media, as well as response techniques
- Characteristics of today’s college students and the similarities/differences from previous generations
- How technology has affected the way students learn
- Emotional and mental issues among today’s college student population
- The increase in addiction disorders in today’s college students
- Overinvolvement with social media and emotional and mental health issues
- Social media and stress, anxiety, depression, violence, and suicide
- Emotional states and their connection to social media
- Symptomology and warning signs
- Intervention techniques
This seminar is designed for anyone at any institution who is responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of college students, especially faculty, administrators, and staff of departments that provide direct services to students, including college counseling centers, student health centers, career and academic advising services, housing and residence hall professionals and paraprofessionals, student activities and organizations, academic support services, and programs and services for at-risk students.
more on social media and students in this IMS blog