Digital Addiction Game Plan: Get Those Kiddies When Young

April 6, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumbNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I enjoy research which provides roadmaps for confused digital Hummer drivers. The Hummer weighs more than four tons and costs about the same as one GMLRS rocket. Digital weapons are more effective and less expensive. One does give up a bit of shock and awe, however. Life is full of trade offs.

The information in “Teens on Screens: Life Online for Children and Young Adults Revealed” is interesting. The analytics wizards have figure out how to hook a young person on zippy new media. I noted this insight:

Children are gravitating to ‘dramatic’ online videos which appear designed to maximize stimulation but require minimal effort and focus…

How does one craft a magnetic video:

Gossip, conflict, controversy, extreme challenges and high stakes – often involving large sums of money – are recurring themes. ‘Commentary’ and ‘reaction’ video formats, particularly those stirring up rivalry between influencers while encouraging viewers to pick sides, were also appealing to participants. These videos, popularized by the likes of Mr Beast, Infinite and JackSucksAtStuff, are often short-form, with a distinct, stimulating, editing style, designed to create maximum dramatic effect. This involves heavy use of choppy, ‘jump-cut’ edits, rapidly changing camera angles, special effects, animations and fast-paced speech.

One interesting item in the article’s summary of the research concerned “split screening.” The term means that one watches more than one short-form video at the same time. (As a dinobaby, I have to work hard to get one thing done. Two things simultaneously. Ho ho ho.)

What can an enterprising person interested in weaponizing information do? Here are some ideas:

  • Undermine certain values
  • Present shaped information
  • Take time from less exciting pursuits like homework and reading books
  • Having self-esteem building experiences.

Who cares? Advertisers, those hostile to the interests of the US, groomers, and probably several other cohorts.

I have to stop now. I need to watch multiple TikToks.

Stephen E Arnold, April 6, 2023


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