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
How to Break Up With Your Phone
more on “disconnect” and contemplative computing in this IMS blog
Smartphone Detox: How To Power Down In A Wired World
February 12, 20185:03 AM ET
says David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut:When we hear a ding or little ditty alerting us to a new text, email or Facebook post, cells in our brains likely release dopamine — one of the chemical transmitters in the brain’s reward circuitry. That dopamine makes us feel pleasure
“It’s a spectrum disorder,” says Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, who studies addiction. “There are mild, moderate and extreme forms.” And for many people, there’s no problem at all.
Signs you might be experiencing problematic use, Lembke says, include these:
- Interacting with the device keeps you up late or otherwise interferes with your sleep.
- It reduces the time you have to be with friends or family.
- It interferes with your ability to finish work or homework.
- It causes you to be rude, even subconsciously. “For instance,” Lembke asks, “are you in the middle of having a conversation with someone and just dropping down and scrolling through your phone?” That’s a bad sign.
- It’s squelching your creativity. “I think that’s really what people don’t realize with their smartphone usage,” Lembke says. “It can really deprive you of a kind of seamless flow of creative thought that generates from your own brain.”
Consider a digital detox one day a week
Tiffany Shlain, a San Francisco Bay Area filmmaker, and her family power down all their devices every Friday evening, for a 24-hour period.
“It’s something we look forward to each week,” Shlain says. She and her husband, Ken Goldberg, a professor in the field of robotics at the University of California, Berkeley, are very tech savvy.
A recent study of high school students, published in the journal Emotion, found that too much time spent on digital devices is linked to lower self-esteem and a decrease in well-being.
more on contemplative computing in this IMS blog
Yes, Quitting Facebook May Make You Happier
Published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking and highlighted by the canny and pseudonymous Neuroskeptic, Danish researcher Morten Tromholt recruited 1,095 participants (by way of Facebook, naturally) and put them into two groups. One pledged to not sign onto the social network for a full week (87 percent made it) and a control group used the platform the same way as they always did.
more on mindfulness, contemplative practices, contemplative computing, disconnect in this IMS blog
The death of the digital native: four provocations from Digifest speaker, Dr Donna Lanclos
educators need to figure out what they need to do. Are you trying to have a conversation? Are you simply trying to transmit information? Or are you, in fact, trying to have students create something?
Answer those pedagogical questions first and then – and only then – will you be able to connect people to the kinds of technologies that can do that thing.
The ‘digital native’ is a generational metaphor. It’s a linguistic metaphor. It’s a ridiculous metaphor. It’s the notion that there is a particular generation of people who are fundamentally unknowable and incomprehensible.
There are policy implications: if your university philosophy is grounded in assumptions around digital natives, education and technology, you’re presupposing you don’t have to teach the students how to use tech for their education. And, furthermore, it will never be possible to teach that faculty how to use that technology, either on their own behalf or for their students.
A very different paradigm is ‘visitor and resident‘. Instead of talking about these essentialised categories of native and immigrant, we should be talking about modes of behaviour because, in fact, some people do an awful lot of stuff with technology in some parts of their lives and then not so much in other parts.
How much of your university practice is behind closed doors? This is traditional, of course, gatekeeping our institutions of higher education, keeping the gates in the walled campuses closed. So much of the pedagogy as well as the content of the university is locked away. That has implications not just for potential students but also from a policy perspective – if part of the problem in higher education policy is of non-university people not understanding the work of the university, being open would have really great potential to mitigate that lack of understanding.
I would like to see our universities modelling themselves more closely on what we should be looking for in society generally: networked, open, transparent, providing the opportunity for people to create things that they wouldn’t create all by themselves.
I understand the rationale for gatekeeping, I just don’t think that there’s as much potential with a gatekept system as there is with an open one.
There are two huge problems with the notion of “student expectations”: firstly, the sense that, with the UK’s new fee model, students’ ideas of what higher education should be now weigh much more heavily in the institutions’ educational planning. Secondly, institutions in part think their role is to make their students “employable” because some politician somewhere has said the university is there to get them jobs.
Students coming into higher education don’t know much about what higher education can be. So if we allow student expectations to set the standard for what we should be doing, we create an amazingly low bar.
The point of any educational system is not to provide citizens with jobs. That’s the role of the economy.
Universities are not vocational
Institutions can approach educational technology in two very different ways. They can have a learning technology division that is basically in charge of acquiring and maintaining educational technology. Or they can provide spaces to develop pedagogy and then think about the role of technology within that pedagogy.