Social Action

 

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Submission form and guidelines for WISE’s “Unedited Voices”

Click here: submission-form-uv-18

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“Blessing of the Devices: Technology and Turmoil”

“Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.

“In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.

In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.

“What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.”

By Professor Jean Twenge, Psychology Department, San Diego State University. 

https://theconversation.com/with-teen-mental-health-deteriorating-over-five-years-theres-a-likely-culprit-86996

“A former Facebook executive has said he feels “tremendous guilt” over his work on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”, joining a growing chorus of critics of the social media giant.

“Chamath Palihapitiya, who was vice-president for user growth at Facebook before he left the company in 2011, said: “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.”

“The remarks, which were made at a Stanford Business School event in November, were just surfaced by tech website the Verge on Monday.

“This is not about Russian ads,” he added. “This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”

Palihapitiya’s comments last month were made a day after Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, criticized the way that the company “exploit[s] a vulnerability in human psychology” by creating a “social-validation feedback loop” during an interview at an Axios event.

“Parker had said that he was “something of a conscientious objector” to using social media, a stance echoed by Palihapitiya who said that he was now hoping to use the money he made at Facebook to do good in the world.

“I can’t control them,” Palihapitiya said of his former employer. “I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit.”

“He also called on his audience to “soul-search” about their own relationship to social media. “Your behaviors, you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed,” he said. “It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you’re going to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.” Chamath Palihapitiya, Former Facebook Exec On Social Media,  https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/11/facebook-former-executive-ripping-society-apart

Pledge from the Blessing of the Devices service: devicepledgeblessing-2