13 Comments
founding

I've realized that social media is like junk food for your brain. The apps are designed to create FOMO, encourage you to buy things you don't need and shape your thoughts on matters that you have zero control over. 20 years from now, social media will be viewed like cigarettes, glamorous in the early days and deathly in the end.

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Michael, I agree with you that smartphones and social media probably are driving mental health problems, especially in young people, and that it is no accident that teenage mental health issues surged beginning around 2012, when smartphone use became ubiquitous. But, that also is roughly the same timeline that saw a surge in the phenomenon of helicopter parenting and an emphasis on protecting youth via safe spaces, trigger warnings, etc. Something I really love about your book The Comfort Crisis is its emphasis on exposing yourself to things that are hard. For the most part, you were talking about physical challenges, but I think it's undeniable that over the last 20 years, there has been a concerted and sustained movement to "protect" people from anything that is psychologically uncomfortable, and I personally think it is at least partially responsible for the fragility we see all around us, particularly in teenagers. A generation that has been perhaps the most protected and comforted in US history paradoxically--or not so paradoxically--has the highest rates ever observed of severe anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, etc.

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Ive been off all social media (except youtube - does that count? probably) for 10 years now and have never looked back. I was very addicted in the algorithm in highschool so I always tell myself I've had enough social media for a lifetime

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Thanks for speaking out about this issue, Michael!

My son is 17 and has no interest in getting a smartphone—has never had one. His plan is to get a flip phone when he heads off to University in the fall. He watches YouTube (mostly history content, current events, or silly animal videos), but he is not on any other social media. He’d much rather be outdoors hiking or in the garden, reading, writing, or gaming with friends.

I’m happy he has made this choice, but I know parents are in a difficult situation when so much of teen social life takes place online. As a society we need to figure out ways to connect teens again in real life—outside of school and adult organized activities. I’m fascinated by statistics around driving and how fewer teens are getting their license—they have less and less motivation to connect in person when their lives take place online.

I know my son is an N of 1 and has not had a traditional upbringing, but he gives me hope that with supportive adults and some good old fashioned rebellion (as young people are so good at) a shift can occur for this generation.

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Love this! Raising 3 kids who are all in “pre-phone” age has me scared of what’s to come!

In the webinar you did before launching Scarcity Brain, you mentioned a screen time app that let’s you set a delay before the app opens… do mind sharing that again?

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Great one Michael! I needed this! Funny besucase i was just thinking a 2% Facebook group would be cool!

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founding

I'll continue to hit the bypass key on Smartphone ownership

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