Attention engineering and the addictive power of social media

By Michelle Polglase on 4/27/18 3:03 PM

Many social media platforms hire 'attention engineers', who use gambling principles to try and make these platforms as addictive as possible, with the goal of maximising the profit that can be extracted from your attention and data. Manipulative design tactics snatch your attention in small bites throughout the day, with dopamine driving that addiction by delivering a small "high" for each notification, message or like. Our society is effectively putting highly addictive "drugs" into the hands of increasingly younger children, and schools are picking up the pieces.

The impact on young people in particular, who are saturated with this technology, is significant for several reasons. This continual stimulation is all new for our brains from an evolutionary perspective, with potentially wide ranging cognitive consequences. Extensive device use can have a negative impact on our ability to think, remember, pay attention and regulate emotion. 

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Identifying at-risk students

By Michelle Polglase on 3/16/18 3:25 PM

The boundary of the school ground is no longer defined for our digital natives, with online and physical worlds merging. Physical behaviour is easily observable, with schools providing support as required if a student is seen to be aggressive or depressed. And now, online behaviour can in some instances provide insights or warning flags that a student may be at risk.

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Student welfare, mental health, and school responsibility

By Michelle Polglase on 2/26/18 12:09 PM

The recently announced Ministerial enquiry into mental health is well timed, with what has been labelled a 'mental health crisis' affecting increasingly younger teenagers and children throughout the country.

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