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Campus News

Apps That Bolster Emotional Health

CIIS Presents a Reverse Hackathon

Meg Jordan May 29, 2018

Internet Overuse disorder—it's a real thing. Perhaps you've fallen victim. Some telltale signs: you can't imagine life without your smartphone; you don't really care that your data is breached; you can't wait for a self-driving car so you can text without fines; while Zuckerberg may or may not fix everything, you aren't willing to drop Instagram.

But it's not just the digital natives (those born or at the time the Internet was fully launched) who are horrified at the thought of a dial-up connection; tech leaders and ethicists have expressed concern that the strategies to promote the app and Internet addiction have led to a decline in social involvement and increased loneliness and depression for millions worldwide. What can promote safe and sane use? Is there such a reality when financial success is measured by nonstop engagement?

On June 9, 2018, CIIS will sponsor Hack Mental Health, bringing together social scientists and educators, coders, and product developers, for a design competition that will focus on eliminating the unintended but damaging influence that has beset technology while promoting apps that work to improve mental and emotional health.

Dr. Meg Jordan will attend, showing the work of Integrative Health Studies graduate Michael Craigen. Michael developed a program for digitally obsessed teens that combines behavioral coaching, nature immersion, and adolescent and parental education to reverse the unconscious emotional dependency on internet use and social isolation.

Dr. Jordan also recommends reading The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love—Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits, by neuroscientist Judson Brewer, MD, Ph.D. Dr. Brewer, who will present a keynote at the National Wellness Conference on June 19, 2018, in St Paul, has developed an app that brings mindfulness techniques into a simple, daily program. Health coaches find mindfulness apps useful and effective for helping clients intercept the automaticity of unhealthy habits with preferred, life-enhancing actions.

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