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Beware: Tech expert warns there is a cost to social media

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Cathy Dobson

Rather than generate connection and wellbeing, social media often encourages anger, isolation and anxiety, says the manager of student mental health with the St. Clair Catholic District School Board (SCCDSB).

“I have huge concerns about it,” said Christine Preece. “We need children and youth to be aware and have boundaries when they are online.

“Social media is shifting the landscape of our world.”

The addictive and negative effects of social media were never more obvious than during the pandemic when face-to-face interaction was replaced with far more online interaction, Preece said.

And youth and children are having trouble pivoting back.

“We know Big Tech is interested in keeping you engaged online so they can make more money, she said. “It engages us by upsetting us, like when we experience something online that we feel is morally wrong.

“It’s called going down the rabbit hole and it’s similar to gambling. There’s an addiction component.”

From gaming to Instagram, YouTube to Snapchat — and any other social media platform – Preece says children, youth and adults need to learn the real impact of social media and what they can do about it.

To that end, the St. Clair Catholic District School Board has partnered with Noelle’s Gift to Children to bring Max Stossel to Sarnia and Chatham to address both students and adults.

Stossel is a New York-based tech expert and founder of Social Awakening, a group that promotes healthy use of social media. He’s also an award-winning filmmaker, poet and speaker, named by Forbes as one of the best storytellers of the year.

Interestingly, he once ran social media for multinational brands and worked for a social media company where he designed some of the notification structures to distract people that he now raises awareness about.

Stossel is also the youth and education advisor for the Centre for Humane Technology, an organization of former tech insiders dedicated to realigning technology with humanity’s best interests.

He will speak to students from Grades 7-12 at St. Pat’s on April 14. The greater community also has an opportunity to hear him at the Dante Club from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. that same day.

Tickets at the Dante Club are $10 per person or $15 per couple with the proceeds going to Noelle’s Gift, a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of local children.

“Our school board is working hard to promote positive mental health and overall wellbeing for our students and their families,” Preece said.

“We want to look at how we can use technology in a positive way because it isn’t going to go away.”

Ticket Details: Available from Noelle’s Gift at Anyone unable to afford a ticket can contact Christine Preece at [email protected]. Max Stossel will also speak at the Capitol Theatre Rotary Lounge in Chatham on April 13 at 6:30 p.m.


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