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It’s not just how we use them that’s the problem

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Screens, apps and social media platforms are designed to be addictive.

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in the last few years Former Technical Employees and Officers Companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google have warned the public that they are focused on making certain platforms and devices as addictive as possible. The reason is that the more addictive a platform or device, the more profit associated with advertising and direct purchases.

There has long been an adage about the negative effects of technology. It’s like this: That’s how we use it. And while not all devices and platforms are made to be addictive, and how you use each one is an important question, the reality is that technology companies are making We spend billions of dollars each year working with social emotion experts in creating products that have the potential to become the most addictive products we’ve ever known.

Three main processes that create addiction

tech companies uses an addictive strategy Mimicking a mechanism similar to that of painkillers — this is not promising given that we are in the midst of a crisis right now. opioid epidemic.

As an example, technology companies routinely create what are called “pain relief apps.” This app focuses on his three main processes designed to manipulate our behavior in addictive ways.

first, repeat trigger It is used to direct our attention to something. This trigger could be the sound of your phone, or a reminder popping up on a particular app or platform.

Second, triggers are linked to the core motive It’s something we all have, like the fear of missing out (FOMO) or the joy we feel. When our phone rings, we are motivated to seek pleasure and respond immediately to avoid pain.

Third, action It’s simple, fun, and/or reassuring. This is by clicking the “Like” button or sending a simple text. As in the addictive world, in the tech developer world too, simple actions leading to greater sustained actions are a surefire way to hook someone up. That’s why many smokers say that small habits like opening and preparing a cigarette are reinforced even before they light it.

This is why our devices and social media are especially addictive. They are designed to be like this. Both use simple triggers that prey on core emotions such as fear, loneliness, and the desire for instant gratification. They are minimal (e.g., you don’t have to see or talk to people directly) and reward those who use them the most, such as increased Facebook friends and online ratings.

All the while, through the use of AI, tech developers are learning more and more about the unique aspects of each of us and what further drives and motivates us. We use this information to deliver ongoing personalized messages and advertisements to further increase your need for this particular type of drug.

All this leads us to one important and unavoidable truth.

The question is not just how the technology itself is used. It’s the technology itself.

To be clear, I am accusing all tech companies and platforms of being evil or unhealthy in the same way that I accuse all alcohol and junk food of being maladaptive and indulgent. not.

Rather, what I am saying is that when commodities like mobile devices and apps are created primarily to benefit the companies behind them at the expense of users, we have to agree with the resulting situation. is that there is The reason greed is evil is not because money is inherently evil. Because the way money is spent creates an unfair situation.

This is where we are now with technology devices. But despite the difficulties, the good news is that we humans (and parents!) have the power to counter these forces, given a few considerations.

we need to educate ourselves

It is important to educate ourselves and our children to understand the mechanisms used here and exercise a healthy degree of caution regarding the use of these devices and platforms. No matter how good our intentions may be, the factors that prey on our underlying desires and subconscious minds need to show that they are a real threat.

You need to set clear boundaries

It’s important to set clear boundaries for how you use technology and not deviate from them. One example of an important boundary is not allowing young people (and all of us, really) to bring devices into our bedrooms, especially at night. This particular behavior is not only associated with many negative consequences, but it also acts as a precursor to addiction as it does not provide the isolation from devices and platforms necessary for healthy use.

we must protect the youth

Research shows that teens who start drinking by age 14 are 7x more likely They are more likely to develop alcohol abuse/dependence than those who wait until they are 21. We need to heed this message when it comes to technology use. less likely to become unacceptable.

The hope for all of us is to take advantage of leaving platforms and devices in their place through the lifestyles we have cultivated. Whether you’re letting people know you’re sick or making Saturday a “social media-free day,” you can develop habits and practices that can help minimize your risk of addiction. , while remaining vigilant about the forces of evil at play.


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