The essay, User Behaviour published on Aeon speaks about how designers, websites, and apps have more regiment over users who are curious and seeking to find more and more information to share, buy, sell and exchange with other users. The matter at hand is whether if the internet is addictive and if it is, shouldn’t the internet be put under digital supervision and moderation for its regimen and conventions? Michael Schulson wrote the essay to verbalize the praxis behind clichéd ‘infinite scrolling’ digital graces of users on websites and apps designed woo and impel users in ways to turn on to consumer data and money-making that ultimately siphons the entire foundation that the internet was built upon.
In the beginning of the essay, Michael, very smoothly illustrates how a simple pigeon experiment conducted by Skinner is, in most cases, knitted together with our contemporary digital etiquette of giving websites like Facebook, Twitter and other interactive feeds the power of persuade or even “coerce” us into getting hooked and addicted to how digitally we’re empowered by communication and information. Currently, psychologists have no way of figuring the veritable and descriptive list of how a user suffers from internet addiction and whether if it’s even a real phenomenon. As noted in the essay, I strongly believe that the internet has a profound level of utility for users to exhaust and grow with, but such kind of utility is not for everyone as much as it is unique to each user’s psychological awareness to it. What this means is that grace of surfing the web for one user may be more productive and useful than the seemliness browsing for any entertaining and distracting purpose for another. The brain wave of how conscious a user is towards the internet is linked to how disputable it is to say that internet addiction is conveyed by triggering users to react and re-react consistently in a controlled digital environment by designers to ends that satisfy both the internet-creators and users. That’s addiction, but that is only confined to one user’s psychological habits.
Comparing the internet to institutions that require assured regulation like casinos or drugs is inevitably biased because moderating the internet would be an alternative and ultimately a license that users may or may not prefer. Casinos, on the other hand, are neither privilege nor preference; it is an outcome of human behavior’s drive to mismatched lawlessness and chaos.
Read the essay here.
If a user wants to exercise willpower, responsibility and self-control with the help of websites like Facebook, Twitter, and other gaming companies to alert them when their usage patterns resemble any psychological problematic behavior, it will be a choice, not a complete regulation by itself. Users concerned to keep track of their digital graces will have already gained the conscious nudge of alertness and guilt when browsing websites and apps. They will stop when they’re obligated by themselves to do so. Most of the times, users don’t like to be told or consistently notified how much they should or should not browse any kind of information and while this remains unbiased and probable, regulations for the internet remain ungovernable and they will not shake the influence away from websites and apps to users conscientiously. If anything, regulation of the internet will discover new, twined and mind-boggling tactics and strategies that users will again spoil for.
What is your take on this? Do you think the internet, in general, requires any sort of regulation or enforcement to alter the way users interacte and utilize the internet? Share your opinion below.
Feature image extracted from Aeon by Bettmann/Corbis.