Can we inoculate children from addiction?
I’m a teacher.
I’ve coached parents on how to deal with YouTube: Ban it or make alterations to make it less addictive and mentally damaging.
Today I taught one of my regular students and I found she’s developed some symptoms of Instant Gratification Syndrome. I found she’s been left alone with the phone for hours. The parent hadn’t followed my advice. I’d sent them easy to digest information about exactly the reasons why and countermeasures to address the damage once addiction has set in. She didn’t listen. Now I have to pick up the pieces. I understand the pressure is 24/7 for YouTube but I’m still livid. If there wasn’t a social connection to her I’d chastise the parent.
The last time we had a really serious case of this we had to put that child in the afternoon session with a severely autistic student because he was that much trouble. He was trying to communicate through YouTube mime culture but no-one around him had seen enough YouTube to be able to relate to him.
As we know, the algorithm rewards the most memorable videos. Just like advertising it’s a great source for mnemonic study. Video makers will take things that they know children already know and disturb them as much as possible with it. You will recognize many of the familiar mnemonic techniques in kid’s YouTube videos but unlike education there seems to be little purpose or direction. Thankfully, since Elsagate, the methods are less sexualised but horror is still in use.
I have integrated some of the tricks the YouTube videos use in my teaching. For example, the mystery box ‘What’s Inside?’ and anthropomorphising everything. However, I always wonder what is the line of what is acceptable. I could imagine a teacher being pressured to get grades pushing the boundary, especially to compete with YouTube. I notice that Disney seem to get away with more than I’d dare.
From the everyday pressures of YouTube all the way up to the notion of MKUltra, how can we protect our children from mnemonic abuse?
Unsure of what exactly to do, I’ve started coaching kids as young as 5 about memory in earnest. I theorize that if they understand the mental technology and can actually use it themselves then they should be empowered to defend themselves. However, the risk is that with this power comes corruption. And besides, it seems like no one has taught this stuff to kids and really documented it AFAIK. I’ve noticed that they have a natural affinity for it but some more than others. The ones who have seen the most mnemonic material are better at creating it. In the case of the child I mentioned earlier he was also one of the most creative and smart, actually. It’s just that this came with a heavy price. I suspect that there might be an upside to the downside in dark videos in the same way the kids who play computer games seem to be both smarter and with a shorter attention span.
If this thread doesn’t inspire debate I don’t know what will!