TAP Talk June 2018 - Max Dalda Muller: Black Mirror: the influence of technology and social media on the therapeutic relationship.
A near capacity audience gathered on the 15 June to enjoy a presentation by Max Dalda Muller intriguingly entitled Black Mirror: the influence of technology and social media on the therapeutic relationship.
His rationale for putting together this talk was the huge use of technology in this country and the impact it is having on our health. The audience heard that it’s just over ten years since the first i phone was launched, and also around the same time Facebook became available. Since then one billion i phones have been sold and Facebook has acquired 2.2 billion active users, that’s roughly a quarter of the world’s population. In the UK 85% of the population own a smartphone and there are 30 million users of Facebook, that’s around half of the UK populace.
A buzz of surprise resonated around the room when the audience heard that the average UK user spends 2 hours 45 Minutes each day on a mobile device, which equates to 42 days a year and that we also check our phones on average 28 times a day which equals to 10,000 times a year.
Concern about the escalating use of mobile technology is backed up by research that shows that more people are being diagnosed with mental health problems than at any other time in human history, this is especially true in children and young people. Although we cannot say for certain, it appears highly likely that there is a link between mental health and time spent on mobile devices and social media.
Max offered the view that, like it or not the internet is changing the way we live, the way we shop and the way we find out information but most importantly it is changing the way in which we communicate with and relate to one another. In other words it is changing our relationships.
Continuing his fascinating presentation, Max explained a little about why smart phones and social media are so alluring and why users go back time and time again to check for messages and why they feel they cannot do without them.
The audience heard how the release of the naturally occurring drug Dopamine in the brain is partly responsible for this addiction. Part of the role of Dopamine is helping us learn about rewards and reinforcement. Dopamine neurons become activated when something good happens unexpectedly, such as the sudden availability of food. However dopamine has a sinister side as well. The use of drugs like Cocaine, Nicotine and Heroin, causes huge boosts of Dopamine in the brain, so the high that people feel when using drugs is partly down to Dopamine. In the same way, when we pick up our phone to check our messages we get a Dopamine hit, so our brain responds in the same way as a crack addict or gambler.
However it was not all bad news for the users of mobile technology. The audience heard that as well as being fun, it can help with finding friends and relatives and the sharing of experiences and events.
An enthusiastic round of applause followed a vote of thanks by TAP council member Ian Stevenson and discussion continued over tea and coffee afterwards.
The next TAP Talk will take place on Friday September 14th when NICK & CORINNA WOOD will present Working with clients on the autistic spectrum. All are welcome.
David Trott TAP Council Member