Why do kids get hooked on devices? The answer is persuasive design.

I’m a child and adolescent psychologist who writes about persuasive design from the psychology-child health side. I have co-written a letter to the American Psychological Association (APA) signed by more than 200 psychologists, including leaders in the field such as Drs. Jean Twenge and Sherry Turkle, asking that the APA address psychologists creating digital products that increase kids’ screen time which then poses risks to their health. I have recently co-written a Psychology Today article reaching out to a broader audience concerned about persuasive design’s impact on kids. It would be great to partner with those on the tech side, and happy to hear ideas about how to do so. Best, Richard Freed


I think it’s a great idea. As a single mom, web developer and Boy scout leader, I can say for a fact that kids are addicted to electronics. There seems to be a significant shift somewhere between those born in 2004 and 2002. Both age groups, as of today, have had a smart phone for about 4 years, but the younger kids are significantly more attached to their phone. We’ve had troubles coming up with a healthy cell phone policy for our camping trips. Basically, we allow daily use during designated times, on short weekend trips, but take them away on longer trips. This is because we have to deal with withdrawal after about 24 hours and it’s not worth the struggle on short trips. That and it’s the only way to get them out camping! On linger trips, it’s good for them to take a break from their electronics.

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Thank you for your message, and appreciate your perspective coming from all the things that you do. I think you understand this a lot more than many others, and I’m interested in helping parents, teachers, health care providers recognize the impacts of persuasive design, especially on kids. I would like to bring those in psychology together with those on the tech side. Happy to hear if you have more ideas. Richard

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Hi @Richard, @lisatwin1, great ideas. Would you two be interested in joining the Campaigners team, and - with others - start an initiative around this theme? I am setting up a Community website (only landing page ready) where we could crowdsource a great set of information pages…


Sorry, took me a minute to get back with you, haven’t quite figured out this site yet. I am interested in your work and I would like to be considered to be part of the Campaigners team. Best, Richard

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Great to hear @Richard! I’ll add you to the Campaigners group right away! Btw, did you see my post about The Vortex I posted today? It’s on-topic to this thread, interesting article.