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https://medium.com/@richardnfreed/the-tech-industrys-psychological-war-on-kids-c452870464ce

Richard Freed

Child and adolescent psychologist, and the author of “Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age”

Mar 11, 2018

The Tech Industry’s War on Kids

How psychology is being used as a weapon against children

“We called the police because she wrecked her room and hit her mom… all because we took her phone,” Kelly’s father explained. He said that when the police arrived that evening, Kelly was distraught and told an officer that she wanted to kill herself. So an ambulance was called, and the 15-year-old was strapped to a gurney, taken to a psychiatric hospital, and monitored for safety before being released. Days after being hospitalized, Kelly was brought to my office by her parents who wanted to get help for their troubled girl.

Kelly’s parents spoke first. They said that their daughter’s hospitalization was the culmination of a yearlong downward spiral spurred by her phone obsession. Kelly had been refusing to spend time with her family or focus on school. Instead, she favored living her life on social media. A previously happy girl and strong student, Kelly had grown angry, sullen, and was now bringing home report cards with sinking grades. Kelly’s parents had tried many times in prior months to set limits on their daughter’s phone use, but she had become increasingly defiant and deceitful, even sneaking on her phone at all hours of the night.

When Kelly’s latest report card revealed a number of failing grades, her parents felt compelled to act. They told Kelly early in the afternoon on the day the police were called that she would need to turn in her phone by 9 p.m. But when the time came, Kelly refused, and a pushing match ensued between her and her parents, concluding in the violent tantrum that led the girl to be hospitalized.

I asked Kelly, who was sitting in a corner, to help me understand her perspective on that evening. She didn’t respond and instead glared at her parents. But then, surprising everyone in the room, she cried, “They took my f***ing phone!” Attempting to engage Kelly in conversation, I asked her what she liked about her phone and social media. “They make me happy,” she replied.

The Undoing of Families

As Kelly and her family continued their appointments with me in the coming months, two concerns dominated our meetings. The first was that Kelly’s unhealthy attachment to her phone continued, causing almost constant tension at home. The second concern emerged during my meetings with Kelly’s parents alone. Even though they were loving and involved parents, Kelly’s mom couldn’t help feeling that they’d failed their daughter and must have done something terribly wrong that led to her problems.

My practice as a child and adolescent psychologist is filled with families like Kelly’s. These parents say their kids’ extreme overuse of phones, video games, and social media is the most difficult parenting issue they faceand, in many cases, is tearing the family apart. Preteen and teen girls refuse to get off their phones, even though it’s remarkably clear that the devices are making them miserable. I also see far too many boys whose gaming obsessions lead them to forgo interest in school, extracurricular activities, and anything else productive. Some of these boys, as they reach their later teens, use their large bodies to terrorize parents who attempt to set gaming limits. A common thread running through many of these cases is parent guilt, as so many are certain they did something to put their kids on a destructive path.

What none of these parents understand is that their children’s and teens’ destructive obsession with technology is the predictable consequence of a virtually unrecognized merger between the tech industry and psychology. This alliance pairs the consumer tech industry’s immense wealth with the most sophisticated psychological research, making it possible to develop social media, video games, and phones with drug-like power to seduce young users.

These parents have no idea that lurking behind their kids’ screens and phones are a multitude of psychologists, neuroscientists, and social science experts who use their knowledge of psychological vulnerabilities to devise products that capture kids’ attention for the sake of industry profit. What these parents and most of the world have yet to grasp is that psychologya discipline that we associate with healingis now being used as a weapon against children.

“Machines Designed to Change Humans”

Nestled in an unremarkable building on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, is the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, founded in 1998. The lab’s creator, Dr. B.J. Fogg, is a psychologist and the father of persuasive technology, a discipline in which digital machines and appsincluding smartphones, social media, and video gamesare configured to alter human thoughts and behaviors. As the lab’s website boldly proclaims: “Machines designed to change humans.”

Fogg speaks openly of the ability to use smartphones and other digital devices to change our ideas and actions: “We can now create machines that can change what people think and what people do, and the machines can do that autonomously.” Called “the millionaire maker,” Fogg has groomed former students who have used his methods to develop technologies that now consume kids’ lives. As he recently touted on his personal website, “My students often do groundbreaking projects, and they continue having impact in the real world after they leave Stanford… For example, Instagram has influenced the behavior of over 800 million people. The co-founder was a student of mine.”

Intriguingly, there are signs that Fogg is feeling the heat from recent scrutiny of the use of digital devices to alter behavior. His boast about Instagram, which was present on his website as late as January of 2018, has been removed. Fogg’s website also has lately undergone a substantial makeover, as he now seems to go out of his way to suggest his work has benevolent aims, commenting, “I teach good people how behavior works so they can create products & services that benefit everyday people around the world.” Likewise, the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab website optimistically claims, “Persuasive technologies can bring about positive changes in many domains, including health, business, safety, and education. We also believe that new advances in technology can help promote world peace in 30 years.”

While Fogg emphasizes persuasive design’s sunny future, he is quite indifferent to the disturbing reality now: that hidden influence techniques are being used by the tech industry to hook and exploit users for profit. His enthusiastic vision also conveniently neglects to include how this generation of children and teens, with their highly malleable minds, is being manipulated and hurt by forces unseen.

Weaponizing Persuasion

If you haven’t heard of persuasive technology, that’s no accidenttech corporations would prefer it to remain in the shadows, as most of us don’t want to be controlled and have a special aversion to kids being manipulated for profit. Persuasive technology (also called persuasive design) works by deliberately creating digital environments that users feel fulfill their basic human drivesto be social or obtain goalsbetter than real-world alternatives. Kids spend countless hours in social media and video game environments in pursuit of likes, “friends,” game points, and levelsbecause it’s stimulating, they believe that this makes them happy and successful, and they find it easier than doing the difficult but developmentally important activities of childhood.

While persuasion techniques work well on adults, they are particularly effective at influencing the still-maturing child and teen brain. “Video games, better than anything else in our culture, deliver rewards to people, especially teenage boys,” says Fogg. “Teenage boys are wired to seek competency. To master our world and get better at stuff. Video games, in dishing out rewards, can convey to people that their competency is growing, you can get better at something second by second.” And it’s persuasive design that’s helped convince this generation of boys they are gaining “competency” by spending countless hours on game sites, when the sad reality is they are locked away in their rooms gaming, ignoring school, and not developing the real-world competencies that colleges and employers demand.

Likewise, social media companies use persuasive design to prey on the age-appropriate desire for preteen and teen kids, especially girls, to be socially successful. This drive is built into our DNA, since real-world relational skills have fostered human evolution. The Huffington Post article, “What Really Happens On a Teen Girl’s iPhone” describes the life of 14-year-old Casey from Millburn, New Jersey. With 580 friends on Instagram and 1,110 on Facebook, she’s preoccupied with the number of “likes” her Facebook profile picture receives compared with her peers. As she says, “If you don’t get 100 ‘likes,’ you make other people share it so you get 100…. Or else you just get upset. Everyone wants to get the most ‘likes.’ It’s like a popularity contest.”

Article author Bianca Bosker says that there are costs to Casey’s phone obsession, noting that the “girl’s phone, be it Facebook, Instagram or iMessage, is constantly pulling her away from her homework, sleep, or conversations with her family.” Casey says she wishes she could put her phone down. But she can’t. “I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just… because,” she says. “It’s not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why. I need to. Facebook takes up my whole life.”

Important Questions Are Simply Not Asked

B.J. Fogg may not be a household name, but Fortune Magazine calls him a “New Guru You Should Know,” and his research is driving a worldwide legion of user experience (UX) designers who utilize and expand upon his models of persuasive design. As Forbes Magazine writer Anthony Wing Kosner notes, “No one has perhaps been as influential on the current generation of user experience (UX) designers as Stanford researcher B.J. Fogg.”

UX designers come from many disciplines, including psychology as well as brain and computer sciences. However, the core of some UX research is about using psychology to take advantage of our human vulnerabilities. That’s particularly pernicious when the targets are children. As Fogg is quoted in Kosner’s Forbes article, “Facebook, Twitter, Google, you name it, these companies have been using computers to influence our behavior.” However, the driving force behind behavior change isn’t computers. “The missing link isn’t the technology, it’s psychology,” says Fogg.

UX researchers not only often follow Fogg’s design model, but some may also share his apparent tendency to overlook the broader implications of persuasive design. They focus on the task at hand, building digital machines and apps that better demand users’ attention, compel users to return again and again, and grow businesses’ bottom line. Less considered can be how the world’s children are affected by thousands of UX designers working simultaneously to pull them onto a multitude of digital devices and products at the expense of real life.

According to B.J. Fogg, the “Fogg Behavior Model” is a well-tested method to change behavior and, in its simplified form, involves three primary factors: motivation, ability, and triggers. Describing how his formula is effective at getting people to use a social network, the psychologist says in an academic paper that a key motivator is users’ desire for “social acceptance,” although he says an even more powerful motivator is the desire “to avoid being socially rejected.” Regarding ability, Fogg suggests that digital products should be made so that users don’t have to “think hard.” Hence, social networks are designed for ease of use. Finally, Fogg says that potential users need to be triggered to use a site. This is accomplished by a myriad of digital tricks, including the sending of incessant notifications urging users to view friends’ pictures, telling them they are missing out while not on the social network, or suggesting that they checkyet againto see if anyone liked their post or photo.

Fogg’s formula is the blueprint for building multibillion dollar social media and gaming companies. However, moral questions about the impact of turning persuasive techniques on children and teens are not being asked. For example, should the fear of social rejection be used to compel kids to compulsively use social media? Is it okay to lure kids away from school tasks that demand a strong mental effort so they can spend their lives on social networks or playing video games that don’t make them think much at all? And is it okay to incessantly trigger kids to use revenue-producing digital products at the expense of engaging with family and other important real-life activities?

Brain Hacking

Persuasive technologies work because of their apparent triggering of the release of dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter involved in reward, attention, and addiction. In the Venice region of Los Angeles, now dubbed “Silicon Beach,” the startup Dopamine Labs boasts about its use of persuasive techniques to increase profits: “Connect your app to our Persuasive AI [Artificial Intelligence] and lift your engagement and revenue up to 30% by giving your users our perfect bursts of dopamine,” and “A burst of Dopamine doesn’t just feel good: it’s proven to re-wire user behavior and habits.”

Ramsay Brown, the founder of Dopamine Labs, says in a KQED Science article, “We have now developed a rigorous technology of the human mind, and that is both exciting and terrifying. We have the ability to twiddle some knobs in a machine learning dashboard we build, and around the world hundreds of thousands of people are going to quietly change their behavior in ways that, unbeknownst to them, feel second-nature but are really by design.” Programmers call this “brain hacking,” as it compels users to spend more time on sites even though they mistakenly believe it’s strictly due to their own conscious choices.

Social networks and video games use the trusted brain-manipulation technique of variable reward (think slot machine). Users never know when they will get the next “like” or game reward, and it’s delivered at the perfect time to foster maximal stimulation and keep them on the site. Banks of computers employ AI to “learn” which of a countless number of persuasive design elements will keep users hooked. A persuasion profile of a particular user’s unique vulnerabilities is developed in real time and exploited to keep users on the site and make them return again and again for longer periods of time. This drives up profits for consumer internet companies whose revenue is based on how much their products are used.

Clandestine techniques that manipulate users to fulfill a profit motive are regarded by programmers as “dark design.” Why would firms resort to such tactics? As former tech executive Bill Davidow says in his Atlantic article“Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction,” “The leaders of Internet companies face an interesting, if also morally questionable, imperative: either they hijack neuroscience to gain market share and make large profits, or they let competitors do that and run away with the market.”

There are few industries as cutthroat and unregulated as Silicon Valley. Social media and video game companies believe they are compelled to use persuasive technology in the arms race for attention, profits, and survival. Children’s well-being is not part of the decision calculus.

A Peek Behind the Curtain

While social media and video game companies have been surprisingly successful at hiding their use of persuasive design from the public, one breakthrough occurred in 2017 when Facebook documents were leaked to The Australian. The internal report crafted by Facebook executives showed the social network boasting to advertisers that by monitoring posts, interactions, and photos in real time, the network is able to track when teens feel “insecure,” “worthless,” “stressed,” “useless” and a “failure.” Why would the social network do this? The report also bragged about Facebook’s ability to micro-target ads down to “moments when young people need a confidence boost.”

Persuasive technology’s use of digital media to target children, deploying the weapon of psychological manipulation at just the right moment, is what makes it so powerful. These design techniques provide tech corporations a window into kids’ hearts and minds to measure their particular vulnerabilities, which can then be used to control their behavior as consumers. This isn’t some strange future… this is now. Facebook claimed the leaked report was misrepresented in the press. But when child advocates called on the social network to release it, the company refused to do so, preferring to keep the techniques it uses to influence kids shrouded in secrecy.

Digital Pied Pipers

The official tech industry line is that persuasive technologies are used to make products more engaging and enjoyable. But the revelations of industry insiders can reveal darker motives. Video game developer John Hopson, who has a Ph.D. in behavioral and brain science, wrote the paper “Behavioral Game Design.” He describes the use of design features to alter video game player behavior, sounding much like an experimenter running lab animals through their paces, answering questions such as: “How do we make players maintain a high, consistent rate of activity?” and “How to make players play forever.”

Revealing the hard science behind persuasive technology, Hopson says, “This is not to say that players are the same as rats, but that there are general rules of learning which apply equally to both.” After penning the paper, Hopson was hired by Microsoft, where he helped lead the development of the Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming system. He also assisted in the development of Xbox games popular with kids, including those in the Halo series. The parents I work with simply have no idea about the immense amount of financial and psychological firepower aimed at their children to keep them playing video games “forever.”

Another persuasive technology expert is Bill Fulton, a game designer who trained in cognitive and quantitative psychology. He started Microsoft’s Games User-Research group before founding his own consulting agency. Fulton is transparent about the power of persuasive design and the intent of the gaming industry, disclosing in Big Four Accounting Firm PwC’s tech business journal: “If game designers are going to pull a person away from every other voluntary social activity or hobby or pastime, they’re going to have to engage that person at a very deep level in every possible way they can.”

This is a major effect of persuasive design today: building video games and social media products so compelling that they pull users away from the real world to spend their lives in for-profit domains. But to engage in a pursuit at the expense of important real-world activities is a core element of addiction. And there is increasing evidence that persuasive design has now become so potent that it is capable of contributing to video game and internet addictionsdiagnoses that are officially recognized in China, South Korea, and Japan, and which are under consideration in the U.S.

Not only does persuasive design appear to drive kids’ addictions to devices, but knowledge of addiction is used to make persuasive design more effective at hijacking the mind. As Dopamine Labs’ Ramsay Brown acknowledges in an episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, “Since we’ve figured to some extent how these pieces of the brain that handle addiction are working, people have figured out how to juice them further and how to bake that information into apps.”

Stealing from Childhood

The creation of digital products with drug-like effects that are able to “pull a person away” from engaging in real-life activities is the reason why persuasive technology is profoundly destructive. Today, persuasive design is likely distracting adults from driving safely, productive work, and engaging with their own childrenall matters which need urgent attention. Still, because the child and adolescent brain is more easily controlled than the adult mind, the use of persuasive design is having a much more hurtful impact on kids.

Persuasive technologies are reshaping childhood, luring kids away from family and schoolwork to spend more and more of their lives sitting before screens and phones. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, younger U.S. children now spend 5 ½ hours each day with entertainment technologies, including video games, social media, and online videos. Even more, the average teen now spends an incredible 8 hours each day playing with screens and phones. Productive uses of technologywhere persuasive design is much less a factorare almost an afterthought, as U.S. kids only spend 16 minutes each day using the computer at home for school.

Quietly, using screens and phones for entertainment has become thedominant activity of childhood. Younger kids spend more time engaging with entertainment screens than they do in school, and teens spend even more time playing with screens and phones than they do sleeping. The result is apparent in restaurants, the car sitting next to you at the stoplight, and even many classrooms: Attesting to the success of persuasive technology, kids are so taken with their phones and other devices that they have turned their backs to the world around them. Hiding in bedrooms on devices, or consumed by their phones in the presence of family, many children are missing out on real-life engagement with family and schoolthe two cornerstones of childhood that lead them to grow up happy and successful. Even during the few moments kids have away from their devices, they are often preoccupied with one thought: getting back on them.

In addition to the displacement of healthy childhood activities, persuasive technologies are pulling kids into often toxic digital environments. A too frequent experience for many is being cyberbullied, which increases their risk of skipping school and considering suicide. And there is growing recognition of the negative impact of FOMO, or the fear of missing out, as kids spend their social media lives watching a parade of peers who look to be having a great time without them, feeding their feelings of loneliness and being less than.

A Wired Generation Falling Apart

The combined effects of the displacement of vital childhood activities and exposure to unhealthy online environments is wrecking a generation. In her recent Atlantic article, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?,” Dr. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, describes how long hours spent on smartphones and social media are driving teen girls in the U.S. to experience high rates of depression and suicidal behaviors.

And as the typical age when kids get their first smartphone has fallen to 10, it’s no surprise to see serious psychiatric problemsonce the domain of teensnow enveloping young kids. Self-inflicted injuries, such as cutting, that are serious enough to require treatment in an emergency room, have increased dramatically in 10- to 14-year-old girls, up 19% per year since 2009.

While girls are pulled onto smartphones and social media, boys are more likely to be seduced into the world of video gaming, often at the expense of a focus on school. High amounts of gaming are linked to lower grades, so with boys gaming more than girls, it’s no surprise to see this generation of boys struggling to make it to college: a full 57% of college admissions are granted to young women compared with only 43% to young men. And, as boys transition to manhood, they can’t shake their gaming habits. Economists working with the National Bureau of Economic Research recently demonstrated how many young U.S. men are choosing to play video games rather than join the workforce.

As a child and adolescent psychologist myself, the inevitable conclusion is both embarrassing and heartbreaking. The destructive forces of psychology deployed by the tech industry are making a greater impact on kids than the positive uses of psychology by mental health providers and child advocates. Put plainly, the science of psychology is hurting kids more than helping them.

The Awakening

Hope for this wired generation has seemed dim until recently, when a surprising group has come forward to criticize the tech industry’s use of psychological manipulation: tech executives. Tristan Harris, formerly a design ethicist at Google, has led the way by unmasking the industry’s use of persuasive design. Interviewed in The Economist’s 1843 magazine, he says, “The job of these companies is to hook people, and they do that by hijacking our psychological vulnerabilities.”

Another tech exec raising red flags about his tech industry’s use of mind manipulation is former Facebook president Sean Parker. Interviewed in Axios, he discloses: “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them… was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” He also said that Facebook exploits “vulnerability in human psychology” and remarked, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

A theme advanced by these tech execs is that the industry is unfairly using persuasive technology to gain a profit advantage. “Consumer internet businesses are about exploiting psychology,” Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook VP says in a talk ironically given at B.J. Fogg’s Stanford University. “We want to psychologically figure out how to manipulate you as fast as possible and then give you back that dopamine hit.”

Having children of their own can change tech execs’ perspective. Tony Fadell, formerly at Apple, is considered the father of the iPad and also of much of the iPhone. He is also the founder and current CEO of Nest. “A lot of the designers and coders who were in their 20s when we were creating these things didn’t have kids. Now they have kids,” Fadell remarks, while speaking at the Design Museum in London. “And they see what’s going on, and they say, ‘Wait a second.’ And they start to rethink their design decisions.”

Marc Benioff, CEO of the cloud computing company Salesforce, is one of the voices calling for the regulation of social media companies because of their potential to addict children. He says that just as the cigarette industry has been regulated, so too should social media companies. “I think that, for sure, technology has addictive qualities that we have to address, and that product designers are working to make those products more addictive, and we need to rein that back as much as possible,” Benioff told CNBC in January, 2018, while in Davos, Switzerland, site of the World Economic Forum.

Benioff says that parents should do their part to limit their kids’ devices, yet expressed, “If there’s an unfair advantage or things that are out there that are not understood by parents, then the government’s got to come forward and illuminate that.” Since millions of parents, for example the parents of my patient Kelly, have absolutely no idea that devices are used to hijack their children’s minds and lives, regulation of such practices is the right thing to do.

Another improbable group to speak out on behalf of children is tech investors. Major Apple stockholdersthe hedge fund Jana Partners and California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which collectively own $2 billion in the firm’s stockhave recently raised concerns that persuasive design is contributing to kids’ suffering. In an open letter to Apple, the investors, teaming up with leading child technology experts, detailed evidence that kids’ overuse of phones and devices is leading to their increased risk of depression and suicide risk factors. Specifically calling out the destructive impact of persuasive technology, the letter reads: “It is also no secret that social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are a primary gateway are usually designed to be as addictive and time-consuming as possible.”

Going Lower

How has the consumer tech industry responded to these calls for change? By going even lower. Facebook recently launched Messenger Kids, a social media app that will reach kids as young as five years old. Suggestive that harmful persuasive design is now honing in on very young children is the declarationof Messenger Kids Art Director, Shiu Pei Luu, “We want to help foster communication [on Facebook] and make that the most exciting thing you want to be doing.”

Facebook’s narrow-minded vision of childhood is reflective of how out of touch the social network and other consumer tech companies are with the needs of an increasingly troubled generation. The most “exciting thing” for young children should be spending time with family, playing outside, engaging in creative play, and other vital developmental experiencesnot being drawn into the social media vortex on phones or tablets. Moreover, Facebook Messenger Kids is giving an early start to the wired life on social media that we know poses risks of depression and suicide-related behavior for older children.

In response to the release of Facebook’s Messenger Kids, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) sent Facebook a letter signed by numerous health advocates calling on the company to pull the plug on the app. Facebook has yet to respond to the letter and instead continues to aggressively market Messenger Kids for young children.

The Silence of a Profession

While tech execs and investors are speaking out against the tech industry’s psychological manipulation of children, the American Psychological Association (APA)which is tasked with protecting children and families from harmful psychological practiceshas been essentially silent on the matter. This is not suggestive of malice; instead, the APA leadershipmuch like parentsis likely unaware of the tech industry’s distorted use of psychology. Nonetheless, there is irony, as psychologists and their powerful tools are guided by ethics, while tech execs and investors are not.

The Ethics Code of the APA, U.S psychology’s chief professional organization, is quite clear: “Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm.” Moreover, APA Ethical Standards require the profession to make efforts to correct the “misuse” of the work of psychologists, which would include the application of B.J. Fogg’s persuasive technologies to influence children against their best interests. The code even provides special protection to kids because their developmental “vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making.”

Manipulating children for profit without their own or parents’ consent, and driving kids to spend more time on devices that contribute to emotional and academic problems is the embodiment of unethical psychological practice. Silicon Valley corporations and the investment firms that support them are heavily populated by highly privileged white men who use concealed mind-bending techniques to control the lives of defenseless kids. Addressing this inequity is Tristan Harris, who says, “Never before in history have basically 50 mostly men, mostly 20–35, mostly white engineer designer types within 50 miles of where we are right now [Silicon Valley], had control of what a billion people think and do.” Harris was recounting an excerpt of a presentation he made while at Google during an interview with journalist Kara Swisher for Recode Decode in February of 2017.

Some may argue that it’s the parents’ responsibility to protect their children from tech industry deception. However, parents have no idea of the powerful forces aligned against them, nor do they know how technologies are developed with drug-like effects to capture kids’ minds. Parents simply can’t protect their children or teens from something that’s concealed and unknown to them.

Others will claim that nothing should be done because the intention behind persuasive design is to build better products, not manipulate kids. In fact, for those working in the user experience and persuasion fields, I’m sure there is no intent to harm children. The negative consequences of persuasive technology have been for the most part accidental, an unfortunate byproduct of an exceptionally competitive design process. However, similar circumstances exist in the cigarette industry, as tobacco companies have as their intention profiting from the sale of their product, not hurting children. Nonetheless, because cigarettes and persuasive design predictably harm children, actions should be taken to protect kids from their effects.

A Conscience in an Age of Machines

Since its inception, the field of persuasive technology has operated in a moral vacuum. The resulting tragedy is not surprising.

In truth, the harmful potential of using persuasive design has long been recognized. Fogg, himself, says in a 1999 journal article, “Persuasive computers can also be used for destructive purposes; the dark side of changing attitudes and behaviors leads toward manipulation and coercion.” And in a 1998 academic paper, Fogg describes what should happen if things go wrong, saying, if persuasive technologies are “deemed harmful or questionable in some regard, a researcher should then either take social action or advocate that others do so.”

More recently, Fogg has actually acknowledged the ill effects of persuasive design. Interviewed by Ian Leslie in 2016 for The Economist’s 1843 Magazine, Fogg says, “I look at some of my former students and I wonder if they’re really trying to make the world better, or just make money.” And in 2017 when Fogg was interviewed by 032c Magazine, he acknowledged, “You look around the restaurants and pretty much everyone has their phone on the table and they’re just being constantly drawn away from the live face-to-face interactionI do think that’s a bad thing.” Nonetheless, Fogg hasn’t taken meaningful action to help those hurt by the field he fathered. Nor have those in positions of power, with the recent exception of tech execs coming forward, done anything to limit the manipulative and coercive use of digital machines against children and teens.

So, how can children be protected from the tech industry’s use of persuasive design? I suggest turning to President John F. Kennedy’s prescient guidance: He said that technology “has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man.” I believe that the psychology profession, with its understanding of the mind and ethics code as guidance, can step forward to become a conscience guiding how tech corporations interact with children and teens.

The APA should begin by demanding that the tech industry’s behavioral manipulation techniques be brought out of the shadows and exposed to the light of public awareness. Changes should be made in the APA’s Ethics Code to specifically prevent psychologists from manipulating children using digital machines, especially if such influence is known to pose risks to their well-being. Moreover, the APA should follow its Ethical Standards by making strong efforts to correct the misuse of psychological persuasion by the tech industry and by user experience designers outside the field of psychology.

There is more the psychology profession can and should do to protect children and rectify the harm being done to kids. It should join with tech executives who are demanding that persuasive design in kids’ tech products be regulated. The APA also should make its powerful voice heard amongst the growing chorus calling out tech companies that intentionally exploit children’s vulnerabilities. And the APA must make stronger and bolder efforts to educate parents, schools, and fellow child advocates about the harms of kids’ overuse of digital devices.

With each passing day, new and more influential persuasive technologies are being deployed to better take advantage of children’s and teens’ inherent limitations. The psychology profession must insist in this new age that its tools be used to improve rather than hinder children’s health and well-being. By making a strong statement against the exploitive use of persuasive design, the APA and the psychology profession can help provide the conscience needed to guide us in this age of dangerously powerful digital machines.


科技产业对儿童的战争

心理学是如何被用作对付儿童的武器的?

 

我们打电话给警察,因为她弄坏了她的房间,还打了她的妈妈都是因为我们拿了她的手机,”  Kelly的爸爸解释道. 他说警察到来的那个晚上,Kelly已经心神错乱,并且告诉一名警官说她想自杀. 因此他们叫来了救护车, 这个15岁的女孩被绑在了轮床上, 被带到了精神病院,并且在被释放前都进行安全监控.住院几天后, Kelly被她的父母带到了我的办公室,他们想为他们陷入困境的女孩寻求帮助

Kelly的父母先开口说话了. 他们说, 他们女儿的住院治疗是她手机痴迷引发的长达一年的恶性循环的结果. Kelly曾一直拒绝与家人共度时光,或者专注于学校. 相反的, 她喜欢在社交媒体上过自己的生活. 曾经是一个快乐的女孩,坚强的学生, Kelly现在已经变得易怒,沉闷,还带着下降的成绩单回家.Kelly的父母在前几个月已经试过很多次限制他们女儿使用手机的次数,但是她越来越挑衅和欺骗,甚至整晚都在偷看手机。

Kelly最近的成绩单显示她那些不及格的成绩的时候,她的父母感觉到不得不采取行动了.他们在当天下午早些的时候告诉Kelly, 他们已经叫了警察,她需要在晚上9点前把手机上交. 但是时间到了的时候, Kelly拒绝了, 她和父母之间发生了一些推搡,在暴力事件之后, 女孩被送进了医院。

 

 Kelly的妈妈忍不住觉得他们让女儿失望了

   我问坐在角落里的Kelly, 请她帮我理解她关于那个晚上(发生的事情)的看法. 她没有回答我,相反的,她瞪着她的父母. 但接着, 让房间里每个人都很意外的是,她哭诉道,” 他们抢走了我该死的手机!试图让Kelly参与对话, 我问她喜欢她手机和社交媒体里的哪些东西.”它们让我觉得很快乐.”她回答道。

 

家人的不作为

随着接下来几个月, Kelly和她的家人与我持续的约见, 两个问题主导了我们的会面. 第一个是Kelly对手机不健康的依恋继续存在,在家里造成了几乎持续的紧张氛围. 第二个问题出现在我和凯利的父母单独见面的时候. 尽管他们是有爱和参与的父母,凯利的母亲却忍不住觉得他们辜负了他们的女儿,并且一定是做了一些非常错误的事情导致了她的问题。

在我作为一个儿童和青少年心理学家的实践里,非常多是像凯利这样的家庭. 这些父母说他们的孩子过度使用手机,视频游戏和社交媒体是他们面临的最困难的育儿问题-而且,在很多情况下,这些正在拆散他们的家庭. 十几岁的孩子和青少年女孩拒绝离开手机,尽管很明显这些设备让他们痛苦不堪.我也看到了太多的男孩子痴迷游戏,导致他们放弃对学校,课外活动和其他任何有益的事物的兴趣. 其中一些男孩,因为他们到了十几岁的青少年,使用他们的强大的身躯来恐吓那些试图设定游戏限制的父母. 贯穿其中许多案件的一个共同点是父母的负罪感,因为很多人认为肯定是他们做了一些事情让他们的孩子走上了破坏性的道路。

 

这些父母都不明白的是,他们的孩子和青少年对科技的破坏性的痴迷,是科技行业与心理学之间几乎未被承认的合并的可预见的结果. 这一联盟将消费科技行业的巨额财富与最复杂的心理学研究结合起来, 这使得开发具有类似毒品效力的社交媒体、视频游戏和手机的成为可能,从而诱惑年轻用户。

 

这些父母并不知道,潜伏在他们孩子的屏幕和手机背后的是众多的心理学家,神经科学家和社会科学专家,他们利用他们心理脆弱性知识来设计产品,吸引孩子的注意力,以牟取行业利益. 这些父母和世界上大多数人还没有掌握的是,心理学——一种我们将其与治疗联系在一起的学科——现在正被用作对付儿童的武器。

 

机器被设计用来改变人类

坐落在加州帕洛阿尔托斯坦福大学校园里的一栋不起眼的建筑里,是斯坦福大学的劝导技术实验室,成立于1998年。该实验室的创建者, B.J. Fogg博士是一位心理学家,也是劝导技术之父,在这个学科中,数字机器和应用程序——包括智能手机、社交媒体和视频游戏——被配置为改变人类的思想和行为。正如该实验室的网站大胆宣称的那样:机器被设计用来改变人类。

Fogg公开表示,有能力使用智能手机和其他数字设备来改变我们的想法和行动:我们现在可以创造出能够改变人们的想法和人们的行为的机器,而机器可以自主地做到这一点。”“被称为百万富翁制造者,Fogg先生培养了以前的学生,他们用他的方法开发了现在消耗孩子们生活的技术。正如他最近在他的个人网站上所吹嘘的那样,我的学生经常做开创性的项目,他们在离开斯坦福后继续在现实世界中产生影响……例如,Instagram已经影响了超过8亿人的行为。这位联合创始人是我的学生。

 

有趣的是,有迹象表明,Fogg正感受到来自最近对使用数字设备改变行为的审查的热度。他对Instagram的吹嘘言论,在他的网站上显示直到20181月,已经被删除。Fogg的网站最近也经历了一次实质性的改变,因为他现在似乎在暗示他的工作有慈善的目的,他说:我教好人行为是如何产生作用的,这样他们就可以创造出能让世界各地的人们受益的产品和服务。同样,斯坦福大学说服技术实验室网站乐观地宣称,说服性技术可以在许多领域带来积极的变化,包括健康、商业、安全和教育。我们还相信,技术的新进步能在30年内促进世界和平。

尽管Fogg强调劝导式设计的光明未来,但他对现在令人不安的现实却漠不关心:技术行业正在利用隐藏的影响技术来吸引和利用用户牟利。他的热情愿景也很容易地忽略了这一代的孩子和青少年,他们有着高度可塑性的思想,被不可见的力量所操纵和伤害。

 

武器化说服

如果你还没有听说过有说服力的技术,那就不是偶然的——科技公司宁愿它呆在阴影里,因为我们大多数人都不想被控制,并且对孩子们被操纵以获取利润有一种特殊的厌恶感。说服性技术(也被称为劝导式设计)是通过故意创造数字环境来实现的,用户觉得可以满足他们基本的人类欲望——社交或获得目标——比现实世界的选择要好。孩子们在社交媒体和视频游戏环境中花费了无数的时间来追求朋友游戏点等级”——因为这是一种刺激,他们相信这能让他们快乐和成功,而且他们发现这比做那些困难但重要的童年活动要容易得多。

 

被社会排斥的恐惧是否应该被用来强迫孩子们强制性地使用社交媒体?

 虽然说服技巧在成人身上效果很好,但它们在影响仍然成熟的儿童和青少年大脑方面特别有效。电子游戏比我们文化中的任何东西都要好,它能给人们带来回报,尤其是青少年。Fogg 十几岁的男孩天生就会寻求能力。去掌握我们的世界,在事物上做得更好。电子游戏,在分发奖励的时候,可以向人们传达他们的能力在增长,每一秒你都在变得更好。这是一种说服性的设计,它帮助说服了这一代的男孩,他们通过在游戏网站上花费无数的时间来获得能力,而可悲的现实是,他们被锁在房间里玩游戏,无视学校,不发展大学和雇主所要求的现实世界的能力。

同样地,社交媒体公司使用有说服力的设计来满足对青春期前和十几岁的孩子,尤其是女孩来,对在社会上取得成功的愿望。这种驱动被植入我们的DNA中,因为现实世界的关系技能促进了人类的进化。赫芬顿邮报的一篇文章在一个少女的iPhone上发生了什么,描述了来自新泽西州米尔本的14岁的凯西的生活。她在Instagram上有580个好友,在Facebook上有1,110名好友,与她的同龄人相比,她专注于自己的Facebook个人主页上的,。就像她说的,如果你没有得到100个赞,你让别人分享,你就会得到100个。否则你就会心烦。每个人都想得到最多的。这就像一场人气竞赛。

文章作者Bianca Bosker说,凯西对手机的痴迷是有代价的,指出,女孩的手机,无论是FacebookInstagram还是iMessage,都在不断地把她从家庭作业、睡眠或与家人的谈话中拉出来。凯西说,她希望她能放下电话。但她做不到。我会在早上醒来,然后去Facebook…因为,” 她说,“这不是我想要这样或者不想要这样。我只是继续。我,就好像,是被迫去做的。我不知道为什么。我需要这样做。Facebook占据了我的整个人生。

 

很重要的却没有被问到的问题

Fogg可能不是一个家喻户晓的名字,但是财富杂志称他为你应该知道的新导师,他的研究正在推动世界范围内的用户体验(UX)设计师,他们利用并扩展他的劝导式设计模型。正如福布斯杂志作家Anthony Wing Kosner所指出的,在当前这一代用户体验(UX)设计师中,没有人能像斯坦福大学的研究员B.J. Fogg那样有影响力。

用户体验设计师来自许多学科,包括心理学、大脑和计算机科学。然而,一些UX研究的核心是利用心理学来利用我们人类的弱点。当目标是孩子时,这尤其有害。正如Kosner在福布斯的文章中所引用,“FacebookTwitter,谷歌,凡是你能说出来的,这些公司一直在用电脑来影响我们的行为。”“然而,行为改变背后的驱动力不是电脑。缺失的环节不是技术,而是心理学,Fogg说。

用户体验研究人员不仅经常关注Fogg的设计模型,而且有些人可能也会认同他明显的倾向,即忽视了劝导式设计的广泛影响。他们专注于手头的任务,打造能更好地吸引用户注意力的数字机器和应用,迫使用户一次又一次地返回,并发展企业的底线。更少被考虑的可能是,世界上的孩子们是如何受到成千上万的用户体验设计师的影响,他们同时工作,以牺牲现实生活为代价,将他们拉到大量的数字设备和产品上。

根据B.J.Fogg的说法,“Fogg行为模型是一种经过良好测试的改变行为的方法,它的简化形式包含三个主要因素:动机、能力和触发因素。这位心理学家在一篇学术论文中说,他的公式是如何有效地让人们使用社交网络的。他说,一个关键的激励因素是用户对社会接受的渴望,尽管他说,一个更强大的动机是避免被社会排斥。关于能力,Fogg建议,应该制作数字产品,这样用户就不必辛苦思考。因此,社交网络是为便于使用而设计的。最后,Fogg说,潜在用户需要被触发去使用一个网站。这是通过无数的数字技巧,包括不断的发送通知敦促用户查看朋友的照片,告诉他们不再社交网络的时候会错过什么,或者建议他们检查是的再次--看是否有人喜欢他们的文章或照片。

Fogg的公式是建立价值数十亿美元的社交媒体和游戏公司的蓝图。然而,关于将说服性技术转变为对儿童和青少年的影响的道德问题却没有被问及。例如,对社会排斥的恐惧是否会被用来强迫孩子们强制性地使用社交媒体?把孩子们从需要脑力劳动的学校任务中引诱出来,这样他们就可以在社交网络上度过他们的生活,或者玩一些完全不需要他们思考的视频游戏,这样做是可以的吗?而且,不停地让孩子们使用产生收益的数字产品,而牺牲了与家庭和其他重要的现实生活活动的关系,这是可以的吗?

 

大脑黑客

说服性技术之所以有效,是因为它们明显引发了多巴胺的释放,多巴胺是一种强大的涉及奖励,注意力和上瘾的神经递质。洛杉矶的威尼斯地区,现在被称为硅海滩,启动多巴胺实验室吹嘘其使用有说服力的技术来增加利润:“将你的应用连接到我们有说服力的人工智能上,通过给你的用户提供完美的多巴胺,将你的参与度和收入提升到30%“ 还有多巴胺的爆发不仅仅让人感觉良好:它被证明可以重新连接用户的行为和习惯。

多巴胺实验室的创始人拉姆齐布朗在一篇科学论文中说,我们现在已经开发出了一种人类思维的严格技术,这既令人兴奋又令人恐惧。我们有能力在我们构建的机器学习控制面板中转动一些旋钮,在世界各地,成千上万的人会悄悄地改变他们的行为方式,他们不知道的是,他们感觉自己是第二天性,但实际上是通过设计来实现的。 程序员们称其为大脑黑客,因为它迫使用户花更多的时间在网站上,尽管他们错误地认为这是由于他们自己的有意识选择。

 

这些设计技术为科技公司提供了一个窗口,让他们了解孩子的内心和想法。

 社交网络和视频游戏使用的是可信赖的大脑操纵技术,即变量奖励(想想老虎机)。用户永远不知道他们什么时候会得到下一个喜欢或游戏奖励,而且它是在完美的时候提供的,以培养最大的刺激,并将它们保存在网站上。计算机的银行雇佣人工智能来学习,无数的有说服力的设计元素会让用户着迷。对特定用户的独特漏洞的说服性配置是实时开发的,并利用它来让用户停留在站点上,并让他们在更长的时间内反复返回。这将推高消费者互联网公司的利润,这些公司的收入是基于他们的产品的使用程度。

操纵用户以实现盈利动机的秘密技术被程序员视为黑暗的设计。为什么公司会采取这样的策略?大西洋前技术执行官比尔达维多在他的文章说道利用网络成瘾的神经科学,”“互联网公司的领导人面对一个有趣的,(如果也是被道德所质疑的),不可避免的问题:要么他们劫持神经科学来获得市场份额和巨额利润,或者他们让竞争对手去做,并带着市场份额逃跑。

很少有像硅谷那样残酷和不受监管的行业。社交媒体和视频游戏公司认为,他们被迫在军备竞赛中使用有说服力的技术来获得关注、利润和生存。孩子们的幸福不是决策结构的一部分。

 

帷幕背后的窥视

尽管社交媒体和视频游戏公司出人意料地成功地将其使用的说服性设计从公众中隐藏起来,但在2017年,当Facebook的文件被泄露给了澳大利亚人时,出现了一个重大的突破。Facebook高管精心制作的内部报告显示,社交网络向广告商吹嘘,通过实时监控帖子、互动和照片,网络能够追踪青少年感到不安全毫无价值压力无用失败的情况。为什么社交网络会这么做?该报告还吹嘘说,Facebook有能力将广告细分为年轻人需要信心提升的时刻

说服性技术使用数字媒体来瞄准儿童,在适当的时候部署心理操纵的武器,这就是它如此强大的原因。这些设计技术为科技公司提供了一扇窗口,让他们了解孩子的内心和想法,以衡量他们的特殊弱点,然后就可以用来控制他们作为消费者的行为。这不是什么奇怪的未来这就是现在。Facebook声称,泄露的报告在媒体上被歪曲了。但是,当儿童权益倡导者呼吁社会网络公开它时,该公司拒绝这样做,而是倾向于保留他们所用的技术来影响被秘密笼罩着的孩子们。

官方的技术产业线是,有说服力的技术被用来使产品更吸引人、更有趣。但业内人士的爆料可能揭示出更黑暗的动机。视频游戏开发者John Hopson,他拥有行为和大脑科学的博士学位,他写了一篇论文行为游戏设计。他描述了使用设计功能来改变视频游戏玩家的行为,听起来就像一个实验员通过他们的补发来操作实验动物,回答诸如:我们如何让玩家保持高效、一致的活动率?以及如何让玩家永远玩下去

揭示说服技术背后的硬科学,霍普森说:这并不是说球员和老鼠是一样的,而是有普遍的学习规则,这两种规则都是一样的。在写完这篇论文后,霍普森被微软聘用,在那里他帮助领导了Xbox Live的开发,这是微软的在线游戏系统。他还协助开发了深受孩子们欢迎的Xbox游戏,包括《光晕系列》游戏。与我一起工作的父母根本不知道,(商家的火力瞄准他们的孩子)需要大量的金钱和精力,以让他们的孩子永远玩电子游戏。

另一位有说服力的技术专家是比尔富尔顿,他是一名游戏设计师,曾接受过认知和定量心理学的培训。在创立自己的咨询公司之前,他创立了微软的游戏用户研究小组。富尔顿是公开了说服性设计的力量和游戏产业的目的,披露在四大会计师事务所普华永道科技商业日报:“如果游戏设计者要拉一个人远离其他自愿社会活动,爱好或者消遣, 们将不得不尽可能地以非常深刻的方式让那个人参与其中。

这是今天劝导式设计的一个主要影响:制作视频游戏和社交媒体产品,如此引人注目,以至于他们把用户从现实世界中拉出来,把他们的生命花在营利性领域。但是,以牺牲重要的现实世界活动为代价来进行追求是上瘾的一个核心要素。越来越多的证据表明,有说服力的设计已经变得如此强大,以至于它能够为视频游戏和网络成瘾做出贡献-- 这些诊断在中国,韩国和日本得到官方认可,且美国正在考虑中。

劝导式设计不仅会让孩子们对设备上瘾,而且还会利用上瘾的知识使劝导式设计更有效地劫持大脑。正如多巴胺实验室的Ramsay Brown在哥伦比亚广播公司的60分钟节目中所承认的那样,由于我们已经在某种程度上意识到,这些处理成瘾问题的大脑是如何运作的,人们已经找到了如何进一步提高它们的能量,以及如何将这些信息植入应用中的方法。

 

从童年开始盗走

创造具有类似药物效果的数字产品,能够把一个人拉走,使其无法参与现实生活中的活动,这就是为什么有说服力的技术具有深远的破坏性的原因。今天,有说服力的设计可能会让成年人分心,让他们远离安全驾驶、高效的工作,和自己的孩子接触——所有这些都需要紧急关注。尽管如此,由于儿童和青少年的大脑比成年人的大脑更容易控制,所以使用劝导式设计对孩子的有害影响更大。

说服性技术正在重塑童年,引诱孩子远离家庭和家庭作业,在屏幕和手机前花费越来越多的时间。根据凯萨家庭基金会的一份报告,美国的年轻孩子们每天要花5个半小时的时间来娱乐科技,包括视频游戏、社交媒体和在线视频。更重要的是,现在的青少年平均每天要花8个小时在屏幕前和手机上。技术的有效利用——在这里说服性设计是一个很微小的因素——几乎是一个事后的添加的说辞,因为美国孩子每天只花16分钟在家里用电脑学习。

拥有自己的孩子可以改变科技行业高管的偏见

不知不觉地,用屏幕和手机来娱乐已经成为儿童时期的主要活动。年轻的孩子花更多的时间在娱乐屏幕上,而不是在学校里,青少年花在屏幕和手机上的时间比睡觉的时间要长。这样的情形明显的表现在餐馆里,停在你旁边的车辆上,甚至很多教室里:都证明了说服性技术的成功,孩子们被他们的手机和其他设备所吸引,他们已经把周围的世界扔到了他们的背后。躲在卧室里,或者在家人的陪伴下仍然沉浸在手机里,许多孩子都错过了与家庭和学校接轨的现实生活——这是让他们童年的两大基石,使孩子能快乐顺利地成长。即使是在孩子们远离他们的设备的那几分钟里,他们也常常会全神贯注于一个想法:重新回到手机旁。

除了取代健康的童年活动之外,有说服力的技术正在把孩子们拉进有毒的数字环境中。对许多人来说,过于频繁的被网络欺凌的经历,增加了他们逃学和自杀念头的风险。越来越多的人开始意识到FOMO的负面影响,或者害怕错过,因为孩子们在社交媒体上的生活是看着一群在没有他们(父母)的情况下玩得很开心的人,这在他们内心注满了孤独感和不足感。

 

有线的一代分崩离析

重要的童年活动的转移和对不健康的网络环境的暴露,这一综合影响正在破坏一代人的生活。在她最近的大西洋文章中,智能手机是否摧毁了一代人?美国圣地亚哥州立大学的心理学教授让特文格博士描述了花费长时间在智能手机和社交媒体上,是如何促使美国的少女们经历了高频率抑郁和自杀行为。

当孩子们第一次使用智能手机的年龄已经下降到10岁时,看到严重的精神问题已经不奇怪了——曾经是青少年的领域——现在已经包围了年幼的孩子。自2009年以来,1014岁的女孩中,每年有高达19%的比例的女孩因自残而受伤,严重到需要在急诊室接受治疗。

当女孩们被吸引到智能手机和社交媒体上时,男孩们更有可能被引诱到视频游戏的世界里,而这往往是以牺牲学校学习为代价的。大量的游戏与较低的学习分数有关,所以男孩比女孩玩得更多,看到这一代的男孩在努力挣扎考上大学,就并不奇怪了:57%的大学录取是给年轻女性的,相比之下,年轻男性只有43%。而且,随着男孩们逐渐走向成年,他们无法摆脱自己的玩游戏的习惯。与美国国家经济研究局合作的经济学家最近证实,有多少美国年轻人选择玩电子游戏,而不是加入劳动大军。

作为一个儿童和青少年心理学家,不可避免的结论既令人尴尬,又令人心碎。科技行业所采用的心理学破坏性力量对孩子的影响,比心理健康提供者和儿童倡导人士对心理学积极使用产生的影响更大。简单地说,心理学科学对孩子的伤害大于对他们的帮助。

 

觉醒

直到最近,这个有线时代的希望似乎有了一丝暗淡的光亮,一个令人惊喜的团体站出来批评科技行业对心理操纵的使用:科技行业的高管们。曾在谷歌担任设计伦理学家的特里斯坦哈里斯,通过揭露该行业对劝导式设计的使用,引领了这一过程。在经济学人1843年的杂志采访中,他说,这些公司的工作是吸引人们,他们通过劫持我们的心理弱点来做到这一点。

这些科技高管提出的一个主题是,该行业不公平地使用说服技术来获得利润优势。消费者互联网企业是在利用心理学,Facebook副总裁Chamath PalihapitiyaB.J. Fogg斯坦福大学的讽刺演讲中说。我们想要从心理上知道如何尽快地控制你,然后再给回你多巴胺的刺激。

拥有自己的孩子可以改变科技行业高管的视角。曾供职于苹果公司的Tony Fadell,被认为是iPad之父,也是iPhone的鼻祖。他还是Nest的创始人和现任CEO很多20多岁的设计师和程序员在创造这些东西的时候都没有孩子。现在他们有了孩子,” Fadell在伦敦的设计博物馆演讲时说。他们看到了发生了什么,他们说,等一下。’ 他们开始重新思考他们的设计决策。

马克本尼奥夫是云计算公司Salesforce的首席执行官,他是呼吁对社交媒体公司进行监管的声音之一,因为它们有可能让儿童上瘾。他说,就像香烟行业受到监管一样,社交媒体公司也应该受到监管。我想,可以肯定的是,我们必须解决技术令人上瘾的特质,产品设计师正在努力让这些产品更让人上瘾,我们需要尽可能的去控制这些产品,”贝尼奥夫于20181,在瑞士达沃斯举行的世界经济论坛时告诉CNBC

Benioff说父母应该尽自己的一份力量来限制孩子们使用设备,但也表示,如果有不当之利,或者是父母不理解的东西,那么政府就必须站出来阐明这一点。因为数以百万计的父母,例如我的患者凯利的父母,完全不知道这些设备被用来绑架孩子的思想和生活,对这种做法的监管是正确的。

 

父母根本无法保护他们的孩子或青少年免受隐匿的或者他们所未知的事物的伤害

 另一个代表儿童发言的不太可能的群体是科技投资者。苹果公司的主要股东——对冲基金Jana Partners和加州州立教师退休系统——共同拥有20亿美元的公司股票——最近引起了人们的担忧,即劝导式设计是造成孩子们的痛苦的原因之一。在一封致苹果的公开信中,投资者与领先的儿童技术专家合作,详细证明了孩子过度使用手机和设备会增加患抑郁症和自杀的风险。信中特别指出了说服性技术的破坏性影响,信中写道:“iPhoneiPad作为主要门户的社交媒体网站和应用程序通常被设计成让人上瘾和耗时,这也不是什么秘密。

 

更年幼化

消费科技行业如何应对这些要求变革的呼声?通过使产品更年幼化Facebook最近推出了Messenger Kids,这是一款5岁孩子都可以使用的社交媒体应用。暗示有害的说服性设计现在正在对非常年幼的孩子进行磨练, 这是Messenger Kids总监,Shiu Pei Luu的宣言我们想要帮助促进Facebook上的交流,让这成为你想要做的最令人兴奋的事情。

Facebook对童年的狭隘观念反映出,社交网络和其他消费科技公司是如何与日益困扰的一代的需求脱节的。对于小孩子来说,最令人兴奋的事情应该是和家人在一起,在户外玩耍,参与创造性游戏,以及其他重要的发展经历——而不是被卷入手机或平板电脑的社交媒体漩涡中。此外,Facebook Messenger Kids在社交媒体上早早就开始了有线生活,我们知道这些社交媒体会给年龄较大的孩子带来抑郁和与自杀相关行为的风险。

为了响应FacebookMessenger Kids发布,非商业化童年的运动(CCFC)Facebook发送了一封由许多健康倡导者签名的信,呼吁该公司取消该应用程序。Facebook尚未回复这封信,而是继续积极地为年幼的孩子推销Messenger Kids

 

 

一种职业的沉默

尽管科技行业的高管和投资者公开反对科技行业对儿童的心理操纵,但美国心理学会(APA——负责保护儿童和家庭免受有害心理行为的影响——在这件事上基本上保持沉默。这并不是恶意的暗示;相反,美国心理协会的领导层——很像那些家长——很可能没有意识到科技行业对心理学的扭曲使用。尽管如此,具有讽刺意味的是,心理学家和他们强大的工具都是以道德为指导,而科技行业的高管和投资者则不然。

美国心理学的首席专业组织APA的道德准则非常明确:心理学家努力让那些和他们一起工作的人受益,并小心翼翼地不伤害他们。此外,美国心理协会的道德标准要求这个行业努力纠正心理学家的误用,其中包括运用B.J.福克的说服技术来影响孩子们的最佳利益。这段代码甚至为孩子们提供了特殊的保护,因为他们有发展性的弱点削弱了自主决策

在没有得到父母同意的情况下操纵孩子的利益,并驱使孩子们花更多的时间在那些导致情感和学术问题的设备上,这是不道德的心理实践的体现。硅谷的公司和支持他们的投资公司都是由高度特权的白人男性组成的,他们使用隐蔽的精神扭曲技术来控制毫无防备的孩子们的生活。强调这一不平等问题的是特里斯坦哈里斯,他说:历史上从未有过50个主要是男性,主要是2035岁的人,大部分是白人工程师,在我们现在的硅谷50英里范围内,控制着10亿人的想法和行动。哈里斯在20172月接受记者Kara Swisher采访Recode Decode期间,讲述了他在Google期间所做的演讲摘录。

一些人可能会说,保护他们的孩子免受科技行业的欺骗应该是父母的责任。然而,父母们并不知道这些与他们对抗的强大的力量,也不知道技术是如何用毒品般的效果来捕捉孩子们的思想的。父母根本无法保护他们的孩子或青少年免受那些隐藏和未知的事物的伤害。

另一些人则声称,不应该采取任何行动,因为说服性设计背后的意图是建立更好的产品,而不是操纵孩子。事实上,对于那些在用户体验和说服领域工作的人来说,我敢肯定他们没有伤害孩子的意图。说服性技术的负面影响在很大程度上是偶然的,这是一个异常竞争的设计过程中不幸的副产品。然而,烟草行业也存在类似的情况,因为烟草公司有意从销售产品中获利,而不是伤害儿童。尽管如此,由于香烟和劝导式设计可以预见到伤害儿童,应该采取行动保护孩子免受其影响。

 

机器时代的良知

自成立以来,说服性技术领域一直处于道德真空中。由此产生的悲剧并不令人意外。

事实上,使用劝导式设计的有害潜能早已被意识到。福克本人在1999年的一篇期刊文章中说,说服性计算机也可以用于破坏性的目的;改变态度和行为的阴暗面导致了操纵和胁迫。1998年的一篇学术论文中,福克描述了如果事情出了差错,应该会发生什么。他说,如果有说服力的技术在某些方面被认为是有害的或者可疑的的,那么研究人员就应该采取社会行动,或者提倡其他人这样做。

最近,福克先生已经承认了劝导式设计的不良影响。在经济学人1843杂志上,伊恩莱斯利在2016年采访了他,福克说:我看着我以前的一些学生,我想知道他们是不是真的想让这个世界变得更好,或者只是为了赚钱。在2017年,当福克接受032c杂志采访时,他承认,你环顾四周,几乎每个人都把手机放在桌子上,他们只是不断地远离面对面的交流——我确实认为这是件坏事。尽管如此,福克并没有采取有意义的行动来帮助那些被他的成果所伤害的人。最近除了技术高管的之外,那些有权力地位的人也没有采取任何措施来限制对儿童和青少年使用数字机器的操纵和强制性使用。

那么,如何保护儿童不受科技行业使用说服性设计的影响呢?我建议转向约翰肯尼迪总统的先见之明:他说,技术它本身没有道德心。它是否会成为一种好的或者坏的力量,取决于人。 我相信,心理学专业,以其对精神和道德准则的理解为指导,可以向前迈进,成为一种道德指导,指导科技公司如何与儿童和青少年互动。

美国心理协会应该首先要求科技行业的行为操纵技术从阴影中走出来,并暴露在公众意识的光芒之下。在美国心理协会的道德规范中,应该做出一些改变,以防止心理学家使用数字机器来操纵孩子,特别是如果这种影响被认为会对他们的健康造成威胁的话。此外,美国心理协会应该遵循其道德标准,努力纠正科技行业和心理学领域之外的用户体验设计师滥用心理说服的行为。

 

心理学专业可以而且应该做更多的事情来保护孩子,挽救对孩子们造成的伤害。它应该与那些技术高管们联合起来,他们要求对儿童科技产品中有说服力的设计进行监管的。美国心理协会也应该在越来越多的呼吁中发出强有力的声音,召唤那些有意利用儿童弱点的科技公司。美国心理协会必须做出更有力、更大胆的努力,教育家长、学校和儿童权益倡导者,让他们了解孩子过度使用数字设备的危害。

随着时间的推移,新的、更有影响力的说服技术正在被部署,以更好地利用儿童和青少年的固有限制。在这个新时代,心理学专业必须坚持使用它的工具来改善而不是阻碍儿童的健康和福祉。通过发表一份强有力的声明来反对使用说服性设计,美国心理协会和心理学专业可以帮助提供我们在这个危险的强大的数字机器时代指导我们所需的良知。

 


 

A STUDY OF THE TRANSLATION OF THE GREEK WORD “ψυχή” (“psuche”) (soul) 
 

         INTO THE CHINESE NEW TESTAMENT AND ITS ITS IMPORTANCETANCETANCE 中文新约圣经

 

 

download PDF for article here

 


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力和平

只有两件事情是生命当中最为重要的
 
2 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE

也许您已经拥有,或者正在追求,这个世界所能够给您的最大的财富,使得您能够畅游世界,并且作任何的您想要做的事情,但是,朋友,您知道吗?只有两件事情是生命当中最为重要的:

You may have all the riches of the world and travel and do as you please, but only these two things are most important in life:

1)您需要信靠主耶稣基督,使你的罪得到赦免,并且获得永恒的救恩(这是一份免费的礼物)。您需要确实的知道,在将来的新天新地当中,您需要拥有那宝贵的永恒之生命,而不要因为自己的原罪和不信上帝,而到火湖当中去经受永远的痛苦。

1)  To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to have your sins forgiven and for the free gift of eternal salvation.  You want to be sure you have eternal life in the new heaven and earth that is coming and not to suffer for all eternity in the Lake of Fire for your sins and unbelief.

God says,    耶稣说了 Acts 16:30f  使徒行传16:30f

What must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

我当怎样行才能得救。他们说,当信主耶稣,你和你一家都必得救。

2)如果您已经是基督徒了,您必须努力追求,使自己能够在“天国”里面有份。天国就是指基督在地上做王的那一千年,亦即千禧年的统治。是否能够进入天国,则是取决于您所作的一切行为和工作,乃是要在基督的审判台前被审察的。只有那些忠心的信徒才有资格进入天国,而那些不忠心的信徒将会在千禧年期间遭受巨大的亏损。(具体情况,请参阅本网站的“干粮”部分的那些文章。)

2)  As a Christian, you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven which is the Millennial reign of Christ on earth for 1000 years.  This entering into the Kingdom of Heaven is based on your works which will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Only faithful believers will enter, unfaithful believers will suffer for the 1000 years. (Read the books on the "Solid Food" section of this website.)

God says, 耶稣说了2 Cor 5:10哥林多后书5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
因为我们众人,必要在基督台前显露出来,叫各人按着本身所行的,或善或恶受报。

Matthew 7:21吗太福音7:21

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

凡称呼我主阿,主阿的人,不能都进天国。惟独遵行我天父旨意的人,才能进去。


直等到我们众人在真道上同归于一,认识神的儿子,
得以长大成人,满有基督长成的身量。   4:13

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man , unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"
Ephesians 4:13    King James Version


惟独长大成人的,才能吃乾粮,他们的心窍,
习练得通达,就能分辨好歹了。希 5:14

"But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age (but solid food is for the mature), even those who by reason of use (by practice) have their senses exercised (trained) to discern both good and evil."
Hebrews 5:14    King James Version


本网站【长大的人】之目的:

The Purpose of www.zhangdaderen.com:

帮助基督徒成长以至成熟,正如以弗所书4:13所教导的。

To help Christians grow to maturity as Ephesians 4:13 teaches.

为此,我们提供下列的途径,来帮助基督徒之成长:

Method to help Christians grow to maturity:

1) 阐述基督教信仰的基要真理和原则,正如彼得前书2:2  所述,这些乃是"纯净的灵奶"

1) Presenting basic Christian truths & principles, 1 Peter 2:2, "pure milk of the Word."

2) 深入探讨"那个信心"(以弗所书4:13),以及"天国的道理"(马太福音13:19),并"干粮"(希伯来书5:14),若是没有 这些的真理和原则, 没有人能够进入成熟的地步#27493;。

2) Focusing on "the faith," Ephesians 4:13, and "the Word of the Kingdom," Matthew 13:19, and "solid food," Hebrews 5:14, that without these truths and principles, one will never grow to maturity.

Faith   Hope  Love


For questions or comments write to heping@zhangdaderen.com

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