The Tech Industry’s Psychological War on Kids – Richard Freed
How psychology is being used as a weapon against children “We called the police because she wrecked her room and hit her mom… all because we took her phone,” Kelly’s father explained. He said that when the police arrived that evening, Kelly was distraught and told an officer that she wanted to kill herself. So an ambulance was called, and the 15-year-old was strapped to a gurney, taken to a psychiatric hospital, and monitored for safety before being released. Days after being hospitalized, Kelly was brought to my office by her parents who wanted to get help for their troubled girl.
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The Perception of Control
Every day, at the street by my house, I press the “walk” button, and I wait. Each time, as soon as the traffic cycle is complete, I get the walk signal. On a whim, one day I didn’t press the button… but at the end of the traffic cycle, I got the walk signal. The button I press every day has absolutely no impact on when the light will change. Is it still worth having the button?
Leveraging Mental Models in UX Design
Users know how your product works and how to use it even before you design it. At least, they should. Designers want to be exciting and original, but users will always approach new products and features based on what they’ve used before (it’s called a “mental model”) and for this reason, designers should work with user expectations.
Designing A Fantastic UX With Psychology
Humans only have limited mental capacity and no-one is ever operating at 100%. We are all influenced by the world around us and by how our minds work. As designers we need to be able to understand this and design for it.
How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist
I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as Google’s Design Ethicist caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked. When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want you to show you where it might do the opposite. Where does technology exploit our minds weaknesses? I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.
Google’s Plan To Make Tech Less Addictive
We know that our smartphones are making us unhappy. At its annual developer’s conference this week, Google revealed that 70% of its users actually want help balancing their digital lives. What’s not so clear is what the smartphone manufacturers of the world should do about it. After all, it’s in their business interests to make their phones as engaging–or addictive–as possible. Yet at I/O, Google introduced a clever and aggressive response to its own habit-forming products. It’s a broad initiative called Digital Wellbeing that CEO Sundar Pichai says will ultimately affect every Google product. “It’s clear that technology can be a powerful force, but it’s equally clear that we can’t just be wide-eyed about [it],” said Pichai on stage at Google’s I/O conference. “We feel a deep sense of responsibility to get this right.”