Silicon Valley Warns That Their Products Are Addictive

Industry representatives have long coached their employees on the addictive properties of mobile devices. Now they are warning the public that there can be too much of a good thing. 

What's the Latest Development?


Silicon Valley is becoming increasingly aware of the potentially dangerous psychological effects their products have on end users, and now the industry is publicly advising those users to go online in moderation. "The concern, voiced in conferences and in recent interviews with many top executives of technology companies, is that the lure of constant stimulation—the pervasive demand of pings, rings and updates—is creating a profound physical craving that can hurt productivity and personal interactions." Exercises like yoga and mindful meditation have been promoted as ways of calming and centering tech-heavy individuals. 

What's the Big Idea?

The extent to which paying constant attention to a mobile device is a threat to your mental and physical well-being remains an under-studied field in the psychological sciences. In the upcoming version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, however, which is widely viewed as the authority on mental illnesses, 'Internet use disorder' will be featured in its appendix, "an indication researchers believe something is going on but that requires further study to be deemed an official condition." Michelle Gale, former head of learning and development at Twitter, said she regularly coached the company's engineers and executives that their gadgets had addictive properties.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Why a great education means engaging with controversy

Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
  • If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
  • Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less