Reboot in the News
News coverage, Reboot writings, and mentions of our work from around the globe.
It turns out that cultivating critical thinking skills can be difficult, even though many educators believe “that’s the point of what we’re training our students to be able to do,” says Ben Motz, a research scientist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University.
Perhaps education has been missing a key ingredient when it comes to teaching students to detect faulty reasoning: practice. That’s the hypothesis that Motz and other psychology researchers from Indiana University tested in a study, funded by the Reboot Foundation, whose findings they believe point to a promising method for strengthening critical-thinking muscles.
Taking a social media sabbatical has given me a healthier perspective already. It’s made me a lot more aware of the time I spent online – sometimes with total strangers – rather than having deeper, more meaningful conversations with my husband and daughter. They’ve both told me more than once in recent years that it seems I care more about Instagram or Facebook than paying attention to them.
In a recent article that looks at social media as a pending public health crisis, founder and president of the Reboot Foundation, Helen Lee Bouygues, writes, “Social media is currently designed for … addiction. People may willingly share their data in exchange for a free service that they value. But they have not agreed to submit to experimental manipulation that encourages slot machine-like behavior and can drive feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s time we started treating social media for what it is: an addictive activity with serious health implications.”
More than half of people Reboot surveyed acknowledged that their social media use intensified their feelings of anxiety, depression or loneliness. Yet despite recognizing these deleterious effects, only about a third said they had taken steps to limit their social media use, such as deleting or suspending social media accounts, turning off their phones or limiting time on their feeds.
I find it incredible that even though users know the harm social media is having on their mental health, they’re unwilling – or unable – to limit their use of these platforms. It’s a lot like smokers and their cigarettes. We should treat it that way.
As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, several large tech companies are still making money from widely-debunked conspiracy theory content about the terror attack that is distressing to survivors and families of the victims.
YouTube, Google, and Apple are all still allowing users to rent or purchase conspiracy theory films on their platforms despite warnings from government officials, experts, and survivors that it hinders proper education about what happened.
Such conspiracy theories are exacerbated by social media and the internet, said Helen Lee Bouygues, a misinformation expert and founder of the Reboot Foundation.
From politics to COVID-19, we have a big problem with false information on the internet. There’s been a lot of discussion about what platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can do to stop it from spreading, or if the government should step in to regulate those spaces. But there’s been less focus on the skills users need to sort through it all — skills that aren’t necessarily taught, at least in a formal way, in the U.S. education system.
Helen Lee Bouygues is trying to change that. She’s the founder and president of the Reboot Foundation, which teaches critical thinking skills to combat fake news. She said we’re just not inclined to second-guess information when it’s flooding our social media feeds.
As the world struggles to break the grip of COVID-19, psychologists and misinformation experts are studying why the pandemic spawned so many conspiracy theories, which have led people to eschew masks, social distancing and vaccines.
They’re seeing links between beliefs in COVID-19 falsehoods and the reliance on social media as a source of news and information.
And they’re concluding COVID-19 conspiracy theories persist by providing a false sense of empowerment. By offering hidden or secretive explanations, they give the believer a feeling of control in a situation that otherwise seems random or frightening.