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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

YouTube - Thomas Frank

He acknowledges benefits of social media- but suggests some tips for harm reduction. He is not an addiction expert however I like his suggestions. See full details below.

1. Silence/Remove notifications- Dopamine rush when you receive these.  Nothing wrong with looking at apps/posts, but when looking at something in response to a notification ,you establish a craving for it, a habit so when they come in future- you will have fewer mental defenses for avoiding them. They will interrupt your important activities such as work, school, and family etc. Referred to Pavlov’s dog – classical conditioning theory. For media- brain gets dopamine rush and looks for this rush in future from same source.

2. Home Screen- remove social media apps from it. We scroll through them more readily when accessible ( accessibility contributing to use). Suggests bury apps inside a folder. Create 2nd page of apps, so that person has to look for it, more intentional than automatic. If you have i-phone- you will have to turn off Siri as well.  With phone- more pervasive as it in in our possession all the time. Constant , easy access.  If only accessing apps on computer – it’s a little less accessible. You have to make a more conscious effort to access the apps. Some apps like -snapchat- may not be available on the computer. Can post pictures using desktop – on computer.

3. Only use at a specific time of the day. Use a website and app blocking tool, can help. The reward is using time in other ways that are meaningful. ( Suggests APP- Freedom- helpful tool to block sites)

4. Apps are collections of useful features. So for the less useful ones, like newsfeeds can turn those off, and keep the ones that will be helpful- like messenger. The Todobook- APP , can block most media newsfeeds, but also remind you of things you need to do instead.

5. 'Justify a Benefit Approach' can be detrimental. People will justify using any app, if it has even a minut benefit, without considering drawbacks. People can ignore the negative effect, when justifying something.

6. Re-Assess. Do I really need all the apps I have on my phone. Move them, delete them etc.

7. Try a 30 day media detox. Delete social media apps on phone, and difficult to access them. We are highly influenced by our environment, so minimize the temptation. Then Slowly re-introduce media – since you are now using time more wisely, you can make better choices of media that benefits you but causes less time wasting.  ( I think- with some effort, and prep, even trying a few days or a week will give someone an idea of how much it impacts their life)

8. When returning to media- choose different apps that help you be creative versus watching passively. For example, Math / Science enrichment tool called Brilliant is an app that helps people really search for solutions to problems that challenge you. Will help you in everyday life. ( I think this was a promotion for his app.)

He referenced author:  Deep Work -Cal Newport. Book about being productive ( chapter – quit social media)

Thomas Frank hosts many videos on various topics related to tech/media/studying/productivity and so on. He is not an addiction expert and has referred to an author for some of his comments. Simply- he has had a successful technology career. He creates youtube videos to help people be productive with technology in many life areas.

3 Points about Relevance:

1. Many articles, videos, blogs, podcasts exist on the topic of social media. Many are about the negative consequences- and for psycho-ed purposes, this is helpful to discuss with clients.

2. Continue with peer reviewed clinically sound studies need to be completed as this tech trend is integral to our lives and these study outcomes justify funding for programs to help those who are addicted. As with gambling, the expanse of people who will be addicted in future will continue to grow, and so will the need for professional support availability. More studies equals more clinical agreements of what/how/when tech/gaming/social media is classified as addictive.

3. I could be wrong as I have not looked this up until this course. More harm reduction information needs to be accessible to the public in various formats – as tech/social media is prevalent in there lives. Topics that also touch on common themes like FOMO can be informative. Information should not just be accessible because they were referred to a professional because of mental health concerns and problematic behaviour.

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