Screenagers Tech Talk Tuesday

Below is the May 14th article.

SUBJECT: Sharing, Not Scaring, is Key to Managing Screen Time

Scare tactics, so popular in our society, do not work. We often give information to others hoping to elicit fear with the goal of changing behavior. Think for example of schools teaching kids about cyberbullying and sexting and having police officers deliver the message. It is clear that the teens should be scared, really scared, of consequences, but does it stop them from posting mean comments or from sending compromising pictures of themselves?

Unfortunately, scare tactics for long term behavior change have proven not to be very effective. Let me give one example.  Massive public health campaigns designed to combat smoking that showed images of damaged lungs and testimonials from people who were diagnosed with lung cancer from smoking were meant to scare us into not smoking.

It turns out that those campaigns had surprisingly little impact on behavior decisions. What eventually turned the tide for cutting smoking rates were two main tactics: substantially raising the cost of cigarettes and placing strong limits on the places where people could smoke. Of course, continuing to educate about the ill effects of tobacco is important but if we had just focused on using scare tactics we would not have made the major progress we see today.

Scare tactics can work better for short term behavior change—but the main point for today is to exam a better tactic than scare tactics which I call “Share Tactics."

Learn More About SHARE TACTICS here