The Science of Compulsive Online Behavior | Mary Aiken

Do you know that the average person checks
their cell phone 200 times a day. And when actually they come home from work
cell phone checking increases. So why is that? People talk about internet addiction. Let me explain the science behind it. Very bold ratio and intermittent reinforcement
aspects of technology. What does that mean? It means that technology and the internet
particularly is like a giant slot machine. Every so often you hit something great. You find a great link, a great website. Every so often you get a brilliant email praise
from your boss. Or that text that you’ve been waiting for. And that is far more addictive than if every
piece of communication was positive or if every piece was negative. So technology can actually target our developmental
Achilles heel. It can elicit negative behavior. People call it internet addiction. I’m not somebody who believes in internet
addiction. Why? You cannot be addicted to air. You cannot be addicted to water. Technology is here to stay. You would not be able to live or get a job
or survive without at some stage engaging with technology. I’m a cyberpsychologist. I couldn’t do my job without access to the
internet. So the thing is it’s to learn to modify
our behavior. Addiction applies an abstinence model. You cannot in this day and age abstain from
technology. So I prefer to think of it in terms of adoptive
behavior. Technology is a blip in terms of an anthropological
evolutionary spectrum and it has happened so quick that we as humans are struggling
to keep up with what it offers and how our behavior is evolving. And the negative behaviors that we see at
the moment I like to think of them as being maladaptive behaviors or cyber maladaptive
behaviors. And the good news about that is that you can
do something. Just like learning to stop biting your nails
when you’re nervous you can learn to control your use of technology. Technology is here to serve us, not for us
to become a slave to it.

64 thoughts on “The Science of Compulsive Online Behavior | Mary Aiken

  1. "Addiction is an abstinence behaviour"

    What? Some people have a food addiction…should they cut out food entirely? It's about moderation not abstinence. You can have an internet addiction.

  2. I say who cares. If your phone addiction isnt negatively effecting your life then be on your phone all you want. Lol we act like the average person doesnt waste hours watching tv.

  3. I wish this video has included some tips for how to adapt and better control this behavior, but overall I love the video and its sentiment.

  4. Great article on the subject that expands on why it's addictive and ties in the work of BF Skinner

  5. 200 years ago, the average person pounded butter 400 times a day, the average person also began using normal shoes. What is your point?

  6. Technology is entertainment. 200 times a day doesn't seem that bad when you consider most of it is the modern day equivalent of channel surfing.

    Addiction is an unhealthy desire to check you phone, when say in the middle of a conversation with someone, or while your in a meeting at work. Most people know they shouldn't do it, so they don't.

    Spending 2 or 3 hours on your phone, is no different than spending 2 or 3 hours surfing crap TV, or playing a computer game. In my opinion anyway.

  7. I'm sure she's a smart person, but she made so many wrong points. "You cannot be addicted to technology- you cannot be addicted to air, or water.", "You cannot abstain from technology in this day and age." You can be addicted to it, just as you can be addicted to sex, or junk food; you cannot be addicted to air, or water, because they are basic necessities for life, whereas Facebook, sex, and potato chips are not. If you "cannot abstain", from it, then what of the Amish of Pennsylvania? Or tribes in Zimbabwe? or farmers in Chile (my original comment had "Uruguay", which I will concede in my mistake, and change)? I can assure you that none of them have much, if any interaction with the technology referenced here.

  8. ao it mean sex is also a need we can't survive so masturbstion is also a maladaptive behaviour we have to modify our behaviours that's what u r trying to say ……

  9. ao it mean sex is also a need we can't survive so masturbstion is also a maladaptive behaviour we have to modify our behaviours that's what u r trying to say ……

  10. who the he'll say sex is not a basic need u can't sirvive without sex will die as u cannot live alone it's similar but agreed u can survive without facebook and technology

  11. The reason we check our phones so much is because they're efficient ways to work towards various goals throughout the day. I'm addicted to life, and my phone enables me to chat with friends, examine a to-do list, talk to girls i want to fuck at the weekend, set alarms to ensure i get stuff done on time, make financial transactions and look at political news on facebook or laugh at memes. This isn't some public health scare its fucking brilliant.

  12. addiction: noun
    the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to
    something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as
    narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

    I'm quite certain I am addicted to air and water as ceasing my regular consumption of them would likely cause me severe trauma. Regardless, the internet is entirely dissimilar from both air and water, just as being poorly adjusted to technology and being addicted to the internet are completely distinct problems. Internet has a culture. People get addicted to internet culture in very much the same way they do to religion or material wealth.

  13. Nicholas Carr also writes of this in "The Shallows". Technology, for many people, makes them less patient, more easily distracted, etc. Carr writes that it rewires our brains to crave the stimulus of the Internet rather than real life.

  14. The average person speaks 16,000 words per day. Are we addicted?

    Humans are social creatures. The awesome thing about instantaneous, long-distance communication is that people can be social and not be around people at the same time.

    Furthermore, before cell phones and video games, people watched TV. Before TV, there was radio. Before radio, there were novels and newspapers. Before that, people embroidered or some shit. Introverts have been staying inside and avoiding other people ever since we invented shelter.

  15. Alan Moore – writer of graphic novels such as Watchmen, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell – manages to make a living without having the internet. He described the internet as "a fusty atmosphere of interconnected back-bedrooms."

  16. 200 times a day? More like 2-5 times for me. Excluding sleep time 200 means checking your phone every 4.8 minutes non-stop. I call bull**!

  17. ya love this channel for the most part they are already open to much of what has already been learned. as mary states anthropological research has much to shed on quite a few subjects. one of the most interesting i came upon in my youth was the wholly fictional yet decisively poetic stories written by one carlos castaneda. it was something i had been researching on my own in my neighborhood when i accidentally came upon his works which helped shed light on the pursuit i had undertaken. certainly got me interested in learning more from philosophy as originally i was more of a science geek and into neurochemistry and behaviour.

  18. When i come home from work my cellphone checks go to near zero. I used it to tell time and to entertain me during my 15 min breaks.

  19. i do not personally own or use a phone of any kind, nor a touchscreen ARM computer of any kind. I have a headless ARM linux computer that can in theory run android apps natively, and I have a touchscreen PC with a cellular modem, but it has a data-only plan and is very large, so I must carry it around and open it each time I want to use it. Whenever I am in a place with an opportunity, of course I use a laptop, and use a workstation at home. however, several years ago, in around 2006-2008 or thereabouts, I did a social experiment where I did not use any electronic device for a period of approximately 12-14 months with no breaks, in order to see if it was possible. I had to have friends or assistants use urgent emails, calls or accounts related to work or other life business during this time, and dropped everything else that couldn't be done by mail or in person. One thing I did notice was that I had to spend a ludicrous amount on gas, other fares and a fat roll of forever stamps during the period. On the other hand, I read more books, magazines and especially the paper during this period, and found myself picking up a paper often on the more frequent trips I had to make. I was eventually glad to use the internet again if for no other reason because I ended up spending way, way more in total extra or increased stuff that year than the grand or so a year I did on internet around the mid 2000s. Today, I use everything again, but I still do not have phone service or cable TV service of any kind – nor do I use Netflix or something of that sort. For those things I think they are just unique to my lifestyle and I wouldn't necessarily recommend them to anyone else.

  20. 200 times… yeah right. 24 hours minus sleep, eating driving leaves you checking your phone every 3min. and that's average? gimme a break. stupid click bait.

  21. Please…
    Books, once were an addiction by such standards.
    Newspapers. Radio. Television. Telephone.
    It's not the smartphone, it's not the internet.. It's us. We love information. We love getting as much of it as we can. We've been "slaves" to information for a looooong time. Regardless of the subjective classifications of what that information is (good/bad, useful/meaningless), the fact is that we are simply dependent on taking in and processing information, and using it to make our incessant hunger for knowledge more readily satiable. Until we just want more, and the cycle continues.

  22. Yep. Couldn't take this dumb broad seriously after she says "you can't be addicted to technology." As a "cyber psychologist" she should know that.

  23. Thats wrong … you are not the slave of technology. The unconscious mind dont know what technology is and project an addiction to a stuff, to secure the person not to deal with supressed negative emotions. This can be everything.
    Superficial explenations of a complex psychological mechanism is stupid.

  24. You need air and water to live. You can live with limited access to the Internet. She fails to see the difference between someone that spends 23 hours a day on the Internet vs someone that uses it for only email and recipes.

    There are people that have died from being in the computer too long.

  25. The average person looks at their cell phone 200 times per day?! are you insane? If you put that into perspective. I only check my phone 6-9 times a day.

  26. So basically, technology is essential to us, yet we can't seem to use it healthily. Yes. obviously if you're checking your phone 200 times a day, you're going to be doing it compulsively, for rewarding stimuli, despite potentially adverse consequences – which is the textbook definition of an addiction. how many accidents occur every day because of texting? How many people a day piss you off by checking their f*cking phone while they're talking to you? how do your kids feel when you're hanging out with them – and can't get off your f*cking phone? etc.. to deny the adverse consequences of tech addiction is delusional.

  27. After I got a watch with the date, I probably check my phone about 10 times per 24hrs.
    Before that, maybe 30-40 times.
    I call shenanigans on that research.

  28. Liken technology as a need to something like transportation, not absolute needs like air, water etc. Huge difference.

  29. You can be on your phone most of the day if you want. . Just don't binge on low value things. What is of value is determined in part by the individual and part by facts of what is actually good/healthy or bad/unhealthy. I would not suggest being on Facebook, watching cats, or Netflix all day. The decision is up to the individual though. For me personally. I don't use my phone as often anymore, but I am on the internet a lot. I just use it for self development, learning purposes, & to have fun. . but I mean I have fun learning and self developing so I'm always having fun. . . instead of only when I find a random cool video/post. Much love ya'll

  30. Well if i got this correctly than all she does is crunching on definitions. Because she doesnt deny that there is misuse and overuse of the internet and technology. That overuse many people are a slave of is what most people call addiction. So yeah, maybe its not a addiction by her definition, but really who cares about definitions in everday live. We have people that overuse some technologies and thats a problem, the problem is not how we call this.
    Also i think her comparision is awful. Because you cant survive without water and air, no animal can. But everyone could survive without the internet, we did for ages. In addition the most misuse of technology arent technologies that help us survive and earn a living but things like texting, social networks and gaming. No one needs that to survive, even in todays live. So thats not a valid point to make.

  31. Riddle me this then, why does China/Korea have internet addiction rehab facilities? Seems like it's a pretty real problem.

  32. 200 times a day, say a 16h day, that's 12,5 times an hour… so once every 4,8 minutes. I'm calling bull. Give me a source… How did they come up with that number. Does reading 2 e-mails count has 2 "checks"… What counts has one instance of "checking the phone"? Does looking at the time count? What was the sample population? Bored teenage high school students? Does using the phone for work count? A journalist or politician would likely spend more time on the phone, because it's an essential work tool, not because they are addicted to click-bait.

  33. deeply uninsightful…I guess I lost on the 'slot machine' just now! The most asinine part of this video is when she seemed to compare the internet to air and water.

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