Electronic Etiquette and Conscious Computing in the Digital Age


DG head shots 111We as a society have not as of yet decided how to deal with the incursion of portable digital technologies into our everyday public life. I believe that we are only beginning to address the intrusion these devices create in public places and spaces, and we are just starting to develop new social norms on how and when we use them. The problem with all these portable technologies is that the freedom and opportunity they afford to us in unfettered access, creates the public statement that: “Where I am and what I am doing now is not where I actually am or want to be”. A rather odd feeling is communicated indirectly when we are in a public space, but connected elsewhere. I believe this unconsciously violates psycho-biological safety and survival mechanisms and produces a feeling of ill-at-ease when around people in the public electronic netherworld (e.g. we cannot fully be prepared and safe if we can’t really be clear what someone is dong in a public space).  These technologies shift time and space and in so doing covey a rather mixed message to our real-time social world…..that […]

By |May 8th, 2013|Dr. Dave's Blog|Comments Off on Electronic Etiquette and Conscious Computing in the Digital Age

How to be Smarter than your Smartphone….

The first part of reclaiming real-time living is to take control of your phone use.

Try to do other things besides mindlessly and automatically staring into and surfing your phone.

The beeps and buzzes your phone emits are indicators to your nervous system that a possible reward (Dopamine) is around the corner.  Conscious use is your only antidote. Become aware of the neurochemical habit that has you conditioned to reflexively look at your phone and consciously resist that habit.

When you notice you are using your phone in an unconscious way do something different. Read a book, take a walk, talk to real person stand/sitting next to you. Untether that automatic twitch to check your texts or email for the 79th time that day…this will help to create new neurological pathways for your habit which may take a month or two.

Yes, there is an OFF button on your Smartphone! Begin to take control of your use and that means turning your phone off for a while.

By |May 8th, 2013|Dr. Dave's Blog|Comments Off on How to be Smarter than your Smartphone….

How Can You Be Addicted to the Internet and Digital Media?

The concept of being addicted to a digital media device is relatively new but there is little question as to whether Internet use can be addictive. A study conducted by Dr. Kimberly Young in 1997 found that excessive use of the Internet for non-academic and non-professional reasons was associated with detrimental effects to academic and professional performance. My own original study, conducted in cooperation with ABC News in 1999, found that approximately 6% of those who use the Internet seem to do so compulsively, often to a point of serious negative consequences.   We found that there were several key factors that seem to contribute to becoming addicted to these technologies. They are: accessibility, affordability, time distortion, interactivity, anonymity and pleasurable stimulation. This is in addition to the potent presence of a variable ratio reinforcement schedule.

Most pleasurable activities and certain substances that produce pleasure effects, e.g. elevations in the neurotransmitter dopamine, tend to be repeated. The repetition of pleasurable behaviors exists despite any potential negative consequences, and is well established in the literature. What we find with Internet addiction particularly, is that it seems to mimic the same phenomenon that occurs with addiction to gambling. All Internet addictions seem to follow […]

By |April 19th, 2013|Dr. Dave's Blog|1 Comment

Violent Video Games: The Cultural Ethic of Violence

Violent Reaction
We seem to love violence in our culture. We entertain with it. We advertise with it on the news. We act almost as if violence is desirable—but of course it isn’t. We play video games that teach us how to improve our killing skills. In a digital world clamoring to obtain our moment of focused attention, it seems that only the extreme rises to the top of our consciousness. What of the fact that Americans seem to have a love/hate affair with violence? After all, our country was founded on violent political overthrow and our constitution (as we are hearing all too often these days) guarantees the right for all of us to bear arms. It’s downright American to be a little violent…so it seems.

Violence as Part of Who We Are
There are undoubtedly primitive psychobiological and genetic roots to our attraction to violence. Violence and survival are most certainly linked in our brief rise to modern civilization. What must be asked now is whether we have outgrown our animalistic affinity and attraction to the aggressive part of our humanity. But more recently, violence has been become socially normalized. It has become acceptable, and even commonplace. We have so habituated […]

By |April 17th, 2013|Dr. Dave's Blog|Comments Off on Violent Video Games: The Cultural Ethic of Violence

Smartphones, Not So Smart People

We all love our Smartphones. The problem is that we are not so smart when we use them. They condition us unconsciously to respond to all the bells and beeps with never ending attention; all this leads to overuse, elevated levels of stress hormones, and leaves us near-addicted and tied to our phones like a virtual ball and chain. Consider putting your phone down for a few hours, leave it home when you go out for dinner, and really try not sleep with it under your pillow! The Idea is to recover some tech down time and to rediscover the world without being so virtually connected. Plug Back into Life!

By |April 17th, 2013|Dr. Dave's Blog|1 Comment

Technology and Reality. Movie Review: “Reality Show”,

I recently had the opportunity to preview Adam Rifkin’s new film that will be   premiering at the SXSW Film Festival on March 8, 2013. I’m not starting this commentary by stating that I had the pleasure of viewing this movie, as  pleasure is not quite the right word. Rather, I liken what Rifkin has so cleverly done with this film to movies by David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino in that that it packs a lot of message into a powerful, albeit disturbing, visually-injected package. Indeed, like all medicines that have a potential positive effect, the message Rifkin delivers here is the allure and potential destructive force of  unbridled media technology; and how the promise of ratings and success distort the judgment Rifkin’s character (Mickey Wagner) played ably by himself.

We painfully watch Wagner loose his tenuous grasp on any moral compass in order to satisfy the shadowy Network’s’ quest for more stimulating content. Like in “Natural Born Killers”, the film is just plausible enough to cross into the realm of possibility.  Although in essence it is a satire, it kind of grabs you with the feeling “Oh no, that couldn’t really happen, could it?”

The intrusion, accessibility, and moral-bending power of digital media technology […]

By |March 5th, 2013|Dr. Dave's Blog|Comments Off on Technology and Reality. Movie Review: “Reality Show”,