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Tagmental health

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Zuck and Co Are Under Fire (Again)

Meta targeted teens, according to internal company emails

Is there any company out there who has hurt young people more than Mark Zuckerberg’s gargantuan Meta empire? A host of lawsuits and a damning report from the New York Times tells us that the massive parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp willingly pursued its addictive business model despite the evident damage its products were doing to users, particularly kids. Who remembers when Facebook launched and its promises of a more connected world? Who remembers the optimists hailing the internet as the next step in human connectivity? A mere twenty years later and the technology lords are facing an overdue reckoning. Natasha Singer writes, The state lawsuits against Meta reflect mounting concerns that teenagers and children on social media Read More ›

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Beyond Social Media’s Impact on Mental Health

Social media addiction can harm more than our moods

A young writer, herself a member of Gen Z, has dared to point out the obvious about social media. Sure, it’s verifiably making us sad and anxious, but it goes beyond that: it’s turning us into bad people. Freya India, a columnist at Quillette and a new contributor to Jonathan Haidt’s Substack After Babel, notes that while it’s important to talk about social media and mental health, it’s just as vital to talk about what this stuff is doing to our character. She writes, Our loss of empathy, our lack of regard for others, our neurotic obsession with our own image — it’s taking a toll. Maybe subconsciously. But I think deep down we know it. We know when people are using Read More ›

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Helpful Video Maps Out Gen Z Mental Health Crisis

The glow of the screen is swallowing a generation, and it needs to stop

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s new book The Anxious Generation topped the New York Times bestsellers’ chart two weeks in a row, and has been stirring up a lot of commentary in the meantime. Haidt’s basic thesis is that we have drastically overprotected children in the real world and woefully under-protected them in the virtual world. A new video helpfully lines out this argument, and shows why today’s generation, more than the Millennials who preceded them, struggle so intensely with anxiety, depression, and loneliness. In a recent interview, author and public intellectual Andy Crouch said that while he doesn’t know if it can be backed up neurologically, there is something about the “glow” of screens that wakens something primordial in the Read More ›

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Group of young children holding smartphones and hiding faces, gen Alpha

How to Protect Children in the Digital Age

We must empower parents to help their children navigate the digital landscape.
It has become apparent to many across our country that if we truly care about the futures of the next generation, we must act now to find a solution that will reduce the negative impacts of social media while keeping the positives intact.  Read More ›
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Human Subject Moves Computer Mouse with Neuralink Chip

So Big Tech companies might know your inner thoughts, now. What could possibly go wrong?
Recent history tells us that corporations may be eager to get the upper hand and use it as an excuse to violate privacy even more than they already have. Read More ›
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U.S. Drops in Happiness Poll

A year ago the U.S. was 15th in the world. Now it's 23rd. What happened?
Increases in loneliness tell part of the story, also overall decline in social cohesion and for Gen Z, meteoric increases in internet and social media use. Read More ›
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Too Much Focus on Mental Health?

Is our fixation on wellbeing making us miserable?

“We have to deal with the cancer that is mental health.” So tweeted former presidential nominee Nikki Haley back in January. Most people knew what she meant, which was that we have to take mental health seriously and do our best to foster positive mental health. From the way she phrased it, though, you’re tempted to think that “mental health” itself is, well, what she said it is: a “cancer.” The emphasis on mental health and therapy is widespread. In many ways, it is good and proper to encourage people to be more open about their mental struggles and to get help for what they’re going through. The amount of trauma, abuse, and other mental disorders that people hide is Read More ›

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Jean Twenge: Gen Z Isn’t Reading

Zoomers were born into smartphones, not Shakespeare
As we are being hypnotized by fifteen-second soundbites, crafting the ability to attend to longer works of art will only become a rarer, but more valuable, skillset. Read More ›
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Andrew McDiarmid on Teens and Smartphones

We can mitigate the mental health crisis, but we have to act now.
Noted social psychologist Jonathan Haidt notes that the mental health epidemic among teenagers, particular teen girls, really began around 2012 or so. Read More ›
Teenage boy in a bedroom listening to music through his smartphone

New Report: Parents, Don’t Give Your Kids Smartphones

This has become a national health crisis.
Haidt writes in The Atlantic that smartphones ought to be banned from schools because "they impede learning, stunt relationships, and lessen belonging." Read More ›
young  unhappy woman suffering from depression, and stress

Is This a Moral Reckoning? 41 States Sue Meta for Knowingly Addicting Young Users

The lawsuit claims that Meta's platforms are harming its young users. The data backs it up.
The lawsuit coincides with a new article from Jean Twenge, known for researching "Gen-Z" and their painful relationship with addictive digital media. Read More ›
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Homogeneity via Instagram and the Internet

Spending too much time online shapes our personality and outlook perhaps more than we'd like to admit.
Unplugging from the matrix may bring us back to a sense of individual identity and purpose. Read More ›
Hands of a male photographer holding a digital camera taking pictures of a idyllic landscape with a lake and mountains while the picture shows at the display

Two Notable Reads: Children and Tech and the Illusions of Photography

How much should kids be online? And is taking pictures taking us out of real life?
Teenagers' mental health has been on the decline over the last decade, particularly among teen girls. Idealized images can be fodder for the social comparison game. Read More ›
Young Asian man sitting on stairs outside reading a book

Why You Should Read More Fiction

The mental benefits for reading good stories are many.

When looking for “solutions” to today’s mental health crisis in the United States, particularly among the millions of men who are checking out of society, reading fiction may not immediately come to mind. However, a new article from Psychology Today argues that reading fiction is “essential” for today’s men. The author of the article, psychologist Jett Stone, focuses on men in part because today’s literary market is largely geared towards women, and fiction and femininity are often closely associated. Nonetheless, he believes that reading fiction can benefit both women and men. He writes, Recent research indicates that reading fiction fosters critical thinking by presenting ideas subtly and in more roundabout ways than nonfiction. One study of adolescents found that frequent fiction readers possessed more Read More ›

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The Benefits of Ditching Social Media

Tech writer Cal Newport explains why boredom is actually a good thing

Cal Newport ascended into the limelight upon his viral Ted Talk in which he called people to ditch social media. In this video from last year, Newport rehashes some of the main benefits of not having social media. Boredom is on the list, interestingly; Newport notes that most people no longer have moments of boredom, and as a consequence, don’t have any space in their lives to reflect, think, and work through their emotions. Andrew McDiarmid, a contributor at Mind Matters, has written on this in the past. He notes, Mind wandering, or stream of consciousness thought, gives us several mental gains, including the ability to consider obstacles to future goals, generate novel, creative thoughts, and place our experiences in meaningful Read More ›

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This Country Just Legalized Euthanasia

The law isn't even limited to those who are terminally ill

Alas. The president of Portugal just signed into law a bill legalizing euthanasia by lethal injection. It is not limited to the terminally ill — which is at least honest, since that is not what euthanasia/assisted suicide is really all about. From the Reuters story: The law specifies that people would be allowed to request assistance in dying in cases when they are “in a situation of intense suffering, with definitive injury of extreme gravity or serious and incurable disease.” It establishes a two-month gap between accepting a request and the actual procedure and makes psychological support mandatory. Strict guidelines and all that jazz. Not only are they unlikely to be strictly enforced but will soon be redefined from protections to barriers, Read More ›

Closed up image of a Female using TikTok application on a smartphone in home. 5 September, 2022. ChiangMai, Thailand.

TikTok is Storing Data in China, Contrary to Former Claims

TikTok CEO said user data isn't stored in China. Turns out it is.

Many online creators and entrepreneurs give sensitive data to TikTok, the China-owned social media app, so they can do business on the platform. That includes social security numbers. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew told Congress earlier this year that users’ data was stored outside of China in places such as Virginia and Singapore. Apparently, however, that is an inaccurate claim. According to a report from Forbes, TikTok has indeed been storing sensitive data on Chinese servers, where employees there can access it. Alexandra S. Levine reports, A trove of records obtained by Forbes from multiple sources across different parts of the company reveals that highly sensitive financial and personal information about those prized users and third parties has been stored in China. Read More ›

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Social Media is Hurting Kids. Does Big Tech Care?

Body image issues, low self-esteem, and social comparison are all typical outcomes of excessive social media use among teens and children

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a warning in a briefing this week on the negative impact of social media on kids, particularly teenage girls. Murthy called tech companies to provide “safeguards” to protect children who are at a critical stage in brain development. Early exposure to social media, numerous studies show, are correlated with anxiety and depression in young people. Murthy said, “We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address.” Social media could harm youth mental health, U.S. Surgeon General warns | Reuters Problems like body image issues, low self-esteem, and social comparison are all Read More ›

Young woman using smart phone

TikToxic: The Popular App is Feeding Teens a “Diet of Darkness”

Apart from the debate over espionage and data privacy, TikTok is a highly addictive app

TikTok has gained a fair bit of fierce criticism over the last few months; the China-owned social media app is the most popular on the market, with tens of millions of users and downloads. That includes, of course, teenagers. Apart from the debate over espionage and data privacy, TikTok is a highly addictive app. We covered more on that here, but recent studies show that it’s not just the amount of time spent on the app that is troubling, but the specific kinds of content young people are ingesting every day. Julie Jargon writes in the Wall Street Journal, Data privacy, though, might be less worrisome than the power of TikTok’s algorithm. Especially if you’re a parent. A recent study found that Read More ›

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Dealing with Social Anxiety: Set Some Goals

Without an overarching goal, we can't effectively practice the practical steps that can get us over social anxiety

It’s no secret that rates of anxiety and depression have risen drastically in the modern American context. A cacophony of factors is to blame–everything from the decline of faith, loss of community, and digital media addiction. And for many, even when the possibility of social interaction arrives, the anxiety kicks in and leaves them feeling immobile and paralyzed. So, what can we do to practice confidence and ease in public situations? A new article at Psyche goes into depth on practical steps people can take to overcome social anxiety. The first recommendation is goal-setting. What’s your vision? What are the goalposts you’re shooting for in life? Fallon Goodman writes, Without an overarching goal, we can’t effectively practice the steps that Read More ›