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Youth, Mental Health & Tech Campaign
We demand a stop to addictive design features — Also known as the social slot machine.
Ninety-five percent of teens in the US have or have access to a smartphone, while ninety percent have a desktop or laptop computer and eighty-three percent have a gaming console, a survey from the Pew Research Institute found.
The data also found that roughly one in six teens describe their use of two platforms — YouTube and TikTok — as “almost constant.”
In May 2023, the US Surgeon General issued a stark health advisory that underscores the impact of social media on the mental well-being of children and adolescents. While conceding the need for further research to fully understand its influence, the Surgeon General left no room for ambiguity: urgent action is needed to protect our youth.
Much of today’s technology uses data against young people to keep them trapped in a perpetual cycle of infinite scrolling and constant engagement — negatively impacting their mental and physical health.
Addictive designs are features or aspects of a product intended to hook users' attention so that they spend as much time using the products as possible. Common examples of these in digital products include the “‘pull-to-refresh” page reload, which mirrors casino slot machines, or the “like button,” which gives the brain a dopamine surge.
We know that addictive tech isn't inevitable.
We know manipulative tech isn’t inevitable.
Addictive and manipulative tech results from an extractive business model and design decisions made on behalf of young people and those responsible for them — without them.
Together, we demand transparency and accountability from tech industry leaders to drive change now.
What it could look like to ban addictive design features:
- Platforms should turn off/limit autoplay and infinite scroll features aimed to addict young users.
- Platforms should turn off manipulative notifications and nudges aimed at increasing young user engagement by default
- Platforms should turn off public engagement metrics (e.g., like counts, follower counts, and comment counts) by default.
- Platforms should not hyper-personalize algorithms by default or allow users to turn off hyper-personalized algorithms.
Listen to stakeholders across youth advocacy and impact organizations demanding a say as we work to protect kids online.