It would be hard to argue that something serious is not going on here. Why is it that so many people feel "addicted" to their devices? Some researchers argue it's not necessarily us, but our devices. While others put the ownership on the individual. Device use is much more complicated than we once thought. And it's important to understand that when it comes to child development, children's brains just aren't capable of handling the "persuasive design" of technology. They are yet to develop impulse control, executive functioning and critical thinking. What is Persuasive Technology? Who is BJ Fogg? We recommend that every parent educate themselves on the power of technology so we can better teach our children how to safely use it in a way that keeps them in control and protects their health.
To learn more about addiction, media overuse and persuasive design, check out these resources.
common sense media
Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.
We highly recommend you follow Common Sense Media and visit their site for answers to all your tech related questions. Below is a collection of articles about tech addiction.
Center on media and child health
The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) is an academic research center whose mission is to educate and empower children and those who care for them to create and consume media in ways that optimize children’s health and development. Founded in 2003 by pediatrician, father, and former Hollywood filmmaker Michael Rich, CMCH focuses on media as a powerful environmental health influence, like the air we breathe and the water we drink. We seek to understand the positive and negative health impacts media can have and find ways of making media the most positive possible influence in children’s lives.
This website is loaded with useful information, including "Ask the Mediatrician," which we find particularly useful, as well as Tip Sheets. These articles address "Problematic Interactive Media Use:"
Here are a few highly recommended interviews with Dr. Michael Rich, the Mediatrician.
Richard Freed, PhD, Author "Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age"
Dr. Richard Freed is a clinical psychologist who has becoming increasingly more involved in treating and researching technology effects of children. His website contains a wealth of information, including a blog, articles and exerts from his books, "Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age." Below are some useful links to his site:
Victoria Dunckley, PhD, Author: Reset Your Child's Brain
Dr. Victoria Dunckley is a clinical psychologist and a leading research in the area of media and it's effects on children, particularly those with disorders, such as Autism and ADHD. Because tech addiction physiologically mimics substance abuse vs. behavioral addiction, she recommends an electronic fast to help reset children's brains. To learn more, pick up her book Reset Your Child's Brain or take a look at the following interviews:
Center for Humane Technology
Center for Humane Technology is "a world-class team of deeply concerned former tech insiders and CEOs intimately understands the culture, business incentives, design techniques, and organizational structures driving how technology hijacks our minds.
Their easy to read and easy to navigate website explains how society is being "hijacked" by technology.
This page is particularly useful in how to "Take Control of Your Phone."
Tristan is a former silicon valley insider and the cofounder and executive director of Humane Technology. Listen to Tristan Harris' Ted talk here:
And his most popular interview: What is Technology doing to us?
Families Managing Media
Families Managing Media has collected research conducted by some of the top researcher in the field and presented it in a way that is easy for parents to understand. They include a checklist to help parents understand the degree of video game misuse and a list of solutions.
BJ Fogg, PhD
Dr. BJ Fogg is a behavioral scientist at Stanford University who runs a research lab. He also teaches his models and methods to graduate students. Taken directly from his site:
"On the industry side, I train innovators to use my work so they can create solutions that influence behavior. The focus areas include health, financial wellbeing, learning, productivity, and more. I wrote a seminal book, Persuasive Technology, about how computers can be designed to influence attitudes and behaviors."
To learn more about how Fogg "influences behavior," take a look at the Fogg Method.
These articles explore how the Fogg Method can be used by individuals to effectuate positive change in their own lives and how the methods are being used to influence behavior on technology platforms. We challenge parents to think about how technology companies are using psychology and neuroscience to keep people using technology so they can sell our attention and our data to advertisers. We already know that children have not developed critical thinking skills necessary to understand the persuasive nature of advertising, let alone the implications of persuasive technology.
Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling 'insecure' and 'worthless': Leaked documents said to describe how the social network shares psychological insights on young people with advertisers