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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.

The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma argues that the social media platforms we use to stay connected are making us miserable, disconnected, and potentially having a much wider impact on the socio-political landscape.

The documentary received both praise for its engaging content but also received its fair share of criticism for perhaps being, at times, unbalanced in its views (and for not including individuals who have been campaigning for humane and ethical technology long before the documentary came along.)

Some GGTU team members watched the documentary earlier this year and got together to discuss our thoughts on it (always a blast to get together virtually to discuss interesting topics!)

As someone interested in digital wellbeing and tech use, I've been reading a lot about this topic. I recently recommended 'The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains' in a previous post and last week I finished reading 'Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now' by Jaron Lanier who is one of the Silicon Valley experts in The Social Dilemma.


This book is pretty short, very informative and Lanier has a great sense of humour, which always helps when discussing a serious topic like how big tech companies are using and exploiting our data! It was pretty eye-opening even though somewhere in the back of my mind I was well aware of how sophisticated and closely guarded these algorithms are.

I'm not necessarily anti-social media, having grown up most of my adult life with the presence of Facebook, but the book prompted me to delete my remaining social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram). It's been thirty days and I can honestly say the impact on my focus and mood has been really noticeable. I've done stints before off social media before, but after over a year of intense screentime and doom-scrolling perhaps I needed it more than previous times. I'd highly recommend the book to anyone looking to try a social media pause/exit, while it may not provide the 'how' it certainly gives great reasons for 'why'.

I'm curious to know how you might handle your own tech use habits? Do you think in the future that social media platforms will see users leaving as we become wiser to some of the negative impacts they can cause?


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Interesting post! I will check out this book. Although I know I'm not personally ready to delete all my social media, I have consciously reduced engagement with platforms such as Facebook over time and also have felt the benefits. I have my doubts that we will see a social media-free future, especially as we navigate through a new reality where a continued or new pandemic(s) may threaten ability to gather and travel for long stretches of time. Social media provides easy ways of staying 'connected'. That said, much is shifting as many social media users are migrating to new and different types of platforms, and as widespread appetite for better privacy controls is growing.

I'm wondering what some of the arguments in the book are?

I'm in a weird boat, where, I never got popular social media like FaceBook growing up (despite the peer pressure to do so) but grew up with everyone around me having it. I always felt that, even a decade ago, it was odd to put up your communications with everyone to see it vs. individualized messaging or communities (like specialized forums). I felt that amongst different friend groups, family members or work colleagues - they knew me in different ways or were interested in different things and to have a crafted version that appealed to everyone didn't sound appealing. I also could see that people were on it all the time, and just didn't want to end up spending my time like that (as I think I have the personality to get easily drawn into it - even without people working on it to bring people in).

@Registered Member - the arguments aren't necessarily what you might expect (like improved wellbeing, sleep, etc.) the book focusses more on the impact of those algorithms on our ability to have empathy with others or be critical of news sources (argument #3 - 'social media is making you into an a**; #4 - 'social media is undermining the truth; #9 'social media is making politics impossible'). The author is a computer scientist and futurist so I think he's really arguing about how these kinds of tech could be designed in a much more humane way... they're just not lol. I'm so interested in how people like yourself, who've managed to avoid some of the big SM platforms, view how other people use it - I definitely notice people around me on their phones differently when I'm not on mine half as much!

@Registered Member - I think you'd love this book TM! It follows similar themes to the 'I, Human' documentary. He puts forward some great arguments for how tech could be designed so it works *for* our needs without sucking us into some of the things we don't want (i.e., he praises LinkedIn for being one of the rare platforms trying to achieve this!). Totally agree re: better privacy, I think that's a big priority for everyone as well as safeguarding children which some platforms are missing the mark on.

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