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Media Manipulation

January 15, 2018

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

As most of you know, I’m very pro-social media, BUT I’m also always preaching the message between balance, or the yin and yang of its use. Many social media platforms, by design, are developed to take advantage of the dopamine loop that is purposely designed to make us “short-term focused”, thus driving the need to continually seek feedback online. This psychological power can often be used for good, BUT it can also be used for bad and create unhealthy addictions, or manipulate our beliefs to support a non-factually correct truth. As CNN says, “it can make us believe that an apple is actually a banana”

This is an important reason why parental participation, communication and overwatch/monitoring of our kids is so important. Unlike most adults, tween and teen brains are not fully developed enough to sometimes see the digital forest through the online trees or to understand or recognize when they are being digitally manipulated. To do this, however, parents need to be educated as well, and this is something we do in our presentations and on our website and social media pages.

It’s not just about the challenges of online sexual exploitation and/or our kids’ digital dossiers, it also about educating and protecting our them from those online power players who will use social media to psychologically influence and manipulate “free will” and “choice”, via this dopamine loop, to control short-term focus for financial or political gain. The mantra of some online vendors, “hook them young enough, and we can psychologically control free will and choice for financial or even political gain”.

I’m old enough to remember the TV show, “The Outer Limits”, and here’s the opening sequence of every episode that was aired on TV:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=8CtjhWhw2I8%3Fautoplay%3D0%26mute%3D0%26controls%3D0%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fmanage.wix.com%26playsinline%3D1%26showinfo%3D0%26rel%3D0%26iv_load_policy%3D3%26modestbranding%3D1%26enablejsapi%3D1%26widgetid%3D1

Who knew that a fictional broadcast from a TV show 58 years ago, would have “real” relevance in today’s online digital media world. Throughout this YouTube video, whenever they use the words “The Outer Limits”, replace it with “the internet” or “social media”. It was a message that we adults wrote off as fictional entertainment, BUT in my opinion, rings true today with some online vendors.

Again, I love social media, in fact I am using it right now to share this posting, but as Ben Parker stated in Spiderman The Movie, “With Great Power Comes Even Greater Responsibility” Some vendors, in my opinion, turn a blind eye to this principle, thus why digital literacy education is so important to help us, and our kids, identify this type of unscrupulous psychological manipulation.

Remember, Knowledge and the Understanding and Application of That Knowledge is Power

Digital Food for Thought

Darren Laur

The White Hatter

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