How Does Social Media Shape Our Minds?
20 December 2017 - A Workshop on in Geneve,Switzerland
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Hello. Hello. Can you guys hear me?
>> PARTICIPANT: No.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: No?
>> PARTICIPANT: (Speaker off microphone).
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Hello? Okay. Can you hear me now? Still no? Hello? I'm as close as I can get to the mic.
>> PARTICIPANT: Hello. Yeah, it's working.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Hello, can you guys hear me now? Okay. Great. So welcome, everyone. And thank you for coming to workshop 130, How Does Social Media Shape Our Minds?
>> PARTICIPANT: We cannot hear you.
(Tapping on mic)
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Hello? Okay. So thank you guys for coming to workshop 130, How Does Social Media Shape Our Minds? I'm Jianne from NetMission.Asia and I'm the moderator for today's session. We have an exciting line up of facilitators and a lot of audience from diverse groups and different backgrounds. I'll first give introduction and this workshop is actually an extension of what we did in youth IGF in Asia‑Pacific last July where our team is exactly How Does Social Media Shape Our Minds?
Looking back at what we did over the past days, speakers mentioned that one of the challenges for our youth is that they don't really have interest in Internet governance issues or even if they are aware they think it too technical because they think that it's just like for people with technical backgrounds.
So young people instead are interested in things that are closer to them like social media. And because we consume it every day and we use it. So just to prove a point like how many people in this room use social media? Can you raise your hands? So yeah, I think majority of us actually consume social media. But we don't really ask ourselves how it affects our behavior, our attitudes or the way we think. So that's what we hope to talk about today.
So because NetMission is based in Hong Kong, the statistics that we have is from Asia‑Pacific. You can see that to get a general overview of social media using Asia‑Pacific you can see that 40% of the population are connected to the Internet. And 40% of them are active social media users.
And if we look at the next slide, please. And if we look at the social media penetration by country we can see that Brunei (phonetic) is the highest at 89% while the worldwide average is 37% and Asia is 29%. Next slide, please.
I'm sorry, previous.
So this is the ‑‑ also when it comes to mobile social networking penetration we can see that the worldwide average is 37% and Asia is 29%.
And when it comes to social media platforms we can see that Facebook is king and there's actual little a wide gap between Facebook and then the second one which is Snapchat and the third one is Instagram which is also owned by Facebook.
Next slide, please. So the reason why we, youth, chose this topic for the youth Internet Governance Forum is because young people like us or even people who are not young are still frequent users of social media. But like I said in the beginning how aware are we actually when we consume social media? So we want to provide a chance to raise suggestions and to look at current policies of social media platforms and solutions to the issues. So with that we hope to create a guide or tips on how to use social media for young people and Internet users in general to synthesize best practice and tips on usage. Next slide, please.
So for our discussion in youth IGF in Bangkok we actually have a role play discussion that lasted for three days where the youth participants were divided into three committees and they have to come up with a proposal for each committee. So the first committee is freedom of speech and the right to be forgotten and social media strategies. We want them to have the experience of being different stakeholders and get the conversation going and hopefully at the end like I said provide a guideline and tips of what can work and what doesn't work.
So how does this relate to this workshop? So we can see that freedom of the three committees, freedom of speech and right to be forgotten are about the principals of how social media should be monitored and/or operated. And it's important to give a general overview of the situation.
And for social media advertising strategies is relevant to social media platforms and the way we receive information based on our activities and how aware are we of that. So that is also one of the reasons why we expanded to this workshop. Next slide, please.
This is just the summary of the proposal from committee A. So suggested to have a public awareness‑raising campaign through informal education and empowerment. And for the right to be forgotten these are the points that they have. Creating an affiliated non‑political organization, policy and procedure must be created through a stakeholder process. So yeah. Next slide, please.
And for social media advertising strategies are mostly these are the proposals from the business side. So yeah, this is the summary of it. So we talk about these aspects and the youth IGF in Bangkok recently, but we also want to highlight that and also want to explore today the different aspects which are ‑‑ next slide, please ‑‑ which are the methods of receiving information, communication patterns, new innovations and social media.
For that I will then introduce our facilitators who will break you out into groups and discuss about these three sub topics. So maybe we can start with Michael. Could you please introduce yourself?
>> MICHAEL JOSEPH OGHIA: I can do that. So even I'm too short for this mic. So my name is Michael Oghia. I’m an independent consultant and researcher. It's really a pleasure to be part of this outstanding group.
>> DAVID NG: Hi. I'm also short as well. I'm David from Hong Kong, an organization called eHelp Association. Thank you.
>> SABRINA VORBAU: Hi, good morning, everyone. High name is Sabrina Vorbau. I'm part of the team of Internet centers across Europe. You may know safer Internet day, that's one of the annual campaigns that we have on behalf of the commission. It's a pleasure being here. Thank you very much for inviting me here on this panel.
>> GUILHERME ALVES DA SILVA: Hi. Hello, everyone. My name is Guilherme Alves da Silva. I'm from Brazil, free‑lance journalist. I'm part of the Youth Observatory, engaged in Internet governance. Thank you very much for inviting me.
>> HEIKE TSANG: Good morning, everyone. So this is Heiki. I'm also from NetMission, I'm one of the ambassadors. Thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: So for topic one it will be assigned to David and Sabrina and topic two is myself and Michael. And the third is Guilherme and Heiki. Why don't we say a few words about our topics? So maybe start with topic one.
>> DAVID NG: Thank you. Luckily, I'm doing some preparation on there. Topic one is about the method of receiving information. Actually right now there's also information we can find on line, especially every one of us using Facebook or even the other social media. Sometimes we will find that it seems that content providers are feeding the information to us in a sense that we do not really want that information because there are cookies or browsing behavior.
Somehow, we had the discussion on rather this should be monitored or in a sense to broaden the horizons on the whole information access that's why we have topics about us is there anyways to engage us in better ways to receiving that information online on social media platform. Thank you.
>> PANELIST: So regarding communication patterns building off of what David said, once people are speaking we wanted to address a little bit more about what happens when people are speaking much we want to address topics like hate speech, spreading propaganda, et cetera. Our group is going to be exploring what happens when we are online and how people can often misuse the communication tools that they have.
>> PANELIST: Okay. So on the topic three innovations on social media we are trying to understand like fact checking and live transmissions and it's actually working and how they can help us improve our communities and networks. And if they are not working why are they not working.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Now we will have a 40-minute break-out group so if you want to go to committee sub group 1, 2 and then three. So we can move to the groups that we want.
>> PARTICIPANT: Before joining the group can I ask a question to the panel and then know which group I should join?
>> JIANNE SORIANO: You mean you want the ask the facilitator some questions?
>> PARTICIPANT: Yes.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Sure.
>> PARTICIPANT: I'd like to maybe paint a big picture before I ask my question. Recent advances in behavioral psychology which led to progress of neuro marketing combined with augmented reality and always on devices that we carry like glasses, et cetera, put us in a position of danger where the large organizations like Google and Facebook are able to monitor the availability of our brains. I'm not as much a user as a younger member of this forum but I use it and my kids use it.
So the question is, how worried are you about the potential manipulation that these devices by giving of you the availability of your brains to Facebook and Google can have on the conscious or unconscious decisions that you are making in your everyday life?
>> PANELIST: Maybe I can try to answer that. Actually I think it's about my sub group of the method of how you can receive information is quite similar as on the online behavior, also location, and as you know, when you search the same topics like I was watching a Ted talk previously, one would enter Egypt in a Google search and it will be showing those information about historical and some truest parts because he's a traveler, but the other person will be like the political science that chose history and also this kind of information. Rather than they are not for those search engines or some rep giant who stored our information. It leads to the question whether we live in a data bubble or not.
So I think we can further discuss in our break-out group sessions yes, it is some of my thoughts right now.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: So ‑‑ yes?
>> PARTICIPANT: If I can answer your question from my personal perspective. I'm not worried about Facebook and Google using my data. If they're going to help me making use of my data I'm fine with that. What I'm worried about is not having the proper checks and balances and control of my data with respect to privacy. I'd probably be more worried about that than companies helping me with my data. Thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: After we break out into groups we will actually have an open discussion so if you have any further questions after your sub group discussions then we can open it to the floor later. So now for now we will break out into groups first. So just go to 1, 2 and then three. Yes. Thank you.
(Participants are in breakout groups)
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Sorry to disturb the intense discussions but we are running out of time. Each group wrap in one minute and then we will have open mic and everyone will be welcome to speak again. Thanks.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Hello. So now we will go to the report session of each sub group and what they have discussed. And then we will open the floor for discussions.
So thank you everyone for the discussion. I hope it was very fruitful. So now we will have the report from each sub group. So we can first start with methods of receiving information. So what have you guys discussed?
>> PANELIST: I hope you can hear me all well. Thank you very much. So our main question was how can we foster critical thinking so we obviously talked about fake news.
One of our participants said we should start with ourselves and referred to the phrase of teaching journalists. In the case of social media everybody of us nowadays is a journalist so we need to make people, young people, responsible of their action and foster their critical thinking. Also when it comes to the source of the news that we are receiving it needs to be put into a wider context and there needs to be a distinction between people sharing news and institutions sharing news because to be honest fake news are for a very long time but with the Internet they're more accessible, more visible to everybody.
So also another question we discussed what is their regulation needed while obviously respecting freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Here again the challenges that the Internet has no borders so definitely geographical difficulties because social media allows me to post something, pretend I'm in Brussels, so yeah, how do we teach the final end user?
Also to support him or her to verify news and content online so we agreed that education is key here. And with everything we are doing in Internet governance topic there's a multistakeholder approach that needs to be followed.
We also talked a little bit about social media addiction, social media as a drug, what are the side effects about this, how can we make terms and conditions for example more user friendly. And a good balance between positive and negative aspects but obviously negative aspects tend to be more visible and tend to overlap so here again how can we foster the positive usage and teach a responsible behavior.
The question of where to click and how the click if I'm on the Internet. We know social media is very popular, it's a good source, but it cannot be the only source. So here again if I read something on social media, I need to find other sources, I need to read different newspapers, I need to open up my Horizon. I cannot consume only one‑sided. And I also need to be pointed to educational resources.
So this is a little bit recap. David, please, anything I've missed?
>> DAVID NG: You've got most. I think one important point is not the obligation of just single body. Good recap on multistakeholder engagement. Fake news and being safe online. On the other hand, supporting, putting out guidelines online and facilitate the discussion and also verifying these kind of news and information.
So the balance of both parties is quite important in this sense. Yeah. That's all, thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Thank you, subcommittee one. So now for number two. Maybe you can start and I'll add.
>> PANELIST: Sure. I'm glad I took notes then. So whenever it comes to our group we really hit a multitude of topics and I wish we had a whole day to talk about everything that was addressed. So multiple aspects came up in our discussions.
The first ‑‑ one of the first ones was about also about terms and services, but how, for instance ‑‑ and actually it was largely reflective of platform responsibility, where does the responsibility line when it comes to what is happening online and how people are behaving. There was the role of parents and the role of individuals. IE while youth are often bullied, it's often the youth that are doing the bullying, for instance, to other youth.
We talked about the concept of whether or not youth care or don't care about privacy. And we also addressed the impacts of the psychological impacts of social media and how it has on young people. One other thing that was addressed, it was the idea that a lot of young people are on platforms even if they are not necessarily allowed to be yet. So the minimum age tends to be 13 yet a lot of young people will be on platforms regardless.
So one idea that was broached was expanding the idea of kid's platforms and for instance a sub domain where Facebook dot kids or something like that as well as the options to opt in or opt out.
We ‑‑ what else. We addressed the role of media literacy in addressing content issues, whether it be from fake news to spreading misinformation or spreading hate online. We addressed quite a bit about cyber bullying as well especially about how not necessarily a lot of young people don't necessarily reach out when they need help or when they are being cyber bullied. Also the importance of going into schools and really engaging at the school level if we want things to change when it comes to youth.
So those are some of the ones that stood out to me. Did I miss anything? One more is also we were discussing about how somebody raised a really good point about the definition of authority. For instance, whenever let's say older people not young people, whatever, when non‑youth are worried about privacy it tends to focus more on the government or the private sector. Whereas young people tend to focus more on teachers and parents, which, you know, so that's a very important point.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: I think I would want to add we also talked about the shifts when it comes to trends like the people, young people are moving from Facebook which is like I mean mass like mass audience to more private social media platforms like Snapchat, for example. And we also talked about the difference between rights and responsibilities. Yeah. So committee three?
>> PANELIST: Okay. So social media have great potential. We all know it. We have examples when the use of social media has made social groups to organize themselves or we have live transmissions which are very helpful. However the power of networks like Facebook can make organizations and movements kind of depend on them and this can be programmatic.
Facebook and Twitter, as examples, have developed features. If a fake news label is on posts on some occasions shows this may not be working such as when people did not stop sharing content. On the contrary they share it more because they believe the labels the way of possibility of censor consents. Also when possible fake news has already gone viral.
Why did we call it fakes news? Only when we talk about online news. There are countries where traditional media is concentrated and has already been accused of different forms of manipulation but we ever never looked at it as a phenomenon itself. The idea of fake news was not invented on the Internet so the beta against fake news should therefore contemplate not only the online a media but also the traditional media.
I will become more prepared to deal with issues such as fake news or at the same time we are getting more even more trapped by social bubbles.
And Heiki is going to take it from here.
>> HEIKI TSANG: So when it comes to suggestions, for social media we see a lot of potential. But for the suggestions we have the following. The first one is the social media platform, fact checking sources so which are reliable for whatever they want to put online and there is no verify so this is the first one.
And for the second point we also want to see how credible those are so if there's a label to show whether it has been verified or not will be helpful. And also we talk about fake information should we remove or have a label on it.
The last one is for social media we want to understand more about what actually deciding this information should come to users and decisions behind. So I would say if you guys have anything to add on that from group three? Okay.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Okay. Thank you, everyone. So now we will open the floor for questions or comments regarding the discussions or the points that were mentioned. So just feel free to raise your hand or if you want to add anything. Yes? And please introduce yourself before speaking.
>> PARTICIPANT: Hello. I'm the vice chair of the Icelandic secondary student union. I actually have a question to someone who is not on the panel but I think it was you who mentioned the different authority figures that children have and they keep private from.
Do you think that their view of authority will shift towards more classical sources of government and private industry as they grow older?
>> PARTICIPANT: I'm Larry Maget (phonetic), co‑founder of ConnectSafely.org. As people get older their authority figure shifts. If you're a student it's going to be a teacher. If you're a child it going to be a parent. If you're a college student it's going to be a professor. At some point the government within you're subject to taxes or different laws. I think authority figures will shift. I think at the same time we do see trends if you look at youth generations and I'm a baby boomer which I think is probably obvious to you and also came out of the student movement of the '60s.
What we see, they do tend to bring or even student activists tend to bring many of those values with them even though they transfer into different realms. As people get older they have the sense they have the function more in terms of a financial relationship but those values you stay with them which is one of the reasons I'm extremely optimistic about your generation, or your generations because there's more than one generation in this room.
I think just as I think my generation was better than my parents, your generation is much better than my generation when it comes to privacy. That's the other thing we talked about at our session is youth are more conscious about privacy, even security and certainly kindness and especially tolerance. We have found far greater acceptance of racial diversity, of sexual orientation among young people than we do among older people.
So if you guys don't change, the world is in for a great treat as long as we can survive the next 4 or 5 years and be around for your generation to take over.
>> PARTICIPANT: Hi, everyone. My name is Adissi (phonetic). I'm a youth IGF fellow from Nigeria. It is really great to be here. I observed a trend of our discussion that mostly the solution lies in educating people about these things, about privacy, about screen time and social media. So now I really appreciate the multistakeholder system because the youth get to interact with people that add knowledge of other stuff. But most times I usually think what is the action plan? Because we discussed the problems a lot. How do we take the action?
And I think the action actually lies between the youths because we have the energy, we have the time, we have the passion for these things and be able to make things work in our generation.
So as you know Internet Society sponsored a couple of us from developing nations to come to the IGF so we came over with a project. It's called digital grassroots. We are going to be working with other youths in our communities. We are all youth leaders in our communities so we are able to interact with people in our communities and let them know Internet governance, privacy, screen time and all the stuff that we discussed here.
So I would like to for the youths I would like as many of you to join us. It's really open and it's very global stuff. And also to the stakeholders here it's very good for you to support us because we can actually get these discussions out there. So that's just basically what I want to inform. So if you like to support us in any way you can just reach out to me. Thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Thank you. Anyone else has any questions? So oh, yes. No, you can.
>> PARTICIPANT: Hi, everyone. So my name is Hamera (phonetic). I represent the Chinese YMCA. I'm from Hong Kong. I kind of just want to ask whether this definition of cyber bullying which is the topic that our group discussion ended upon, whether it should be redefined all over. Because we talked about the psychological impacts that social media has on somebody and I think that it is a prevalent trend. I mean it's a prevalent pattern that amongst every age group that social media has the same impact psychologically.
For example, we feel like a rush of like dopamine or I don't know the actual psychological term or we feel like adrenaline whenever we are on social media. It's like second nature to us. But by the end of the day never of us feel happy after use Instagram or Facebook. Going back to the issue of cyber bullying.
Personally from a few IGF's ago I came here with my team because we won an essay writing contest and our topic was increased rates of cyber bullying. I was with a person who happened to be on the table and he contested our topic and he said that actually it has not been an increase in suicide rates in regard to cyber bullying, there actually was a decrease. But I haven't confirmed that idea yet. Now after all these years I think that cyber bullying could also mean that it is self‑inflict.
So we are all on social media, we are psychologically attached to social media. I would like to ask everybody, could cyber bullying also entail kind of this self‑cyber bullying. Because you are constantly pressured by the amount of people in your friends list, you're adding people, your mom forced you to add your cousins that you don't even know or friends with your student's teachers. The psychological pressure that at the end of the day cyber bullying done by other people and cyber bullying self‑inflicted to yourself have kind of the same psychological effects.
It affects yourself esteem, your prospects in real life. So this is kind of like the thing I wanted to raise is whether or not cyber bullying has to be defined in multiple kind of layers or aspects. Thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Anyone is free to answer. Please.
>> PARTICIPANT: Yes, if I may that's some really good points. I will say that young people and children especially are especially affected by psychological pressures. 50% of all psychological conditions are present by the age of 15. And 75% by the age of 25, I believe.
>> PARTICIPANT: They just keep getting younger, psychological issues.
>> PARTICIPANT: As regard to suicide rate, it has increased in Iceland and is now the leading cause of death between ages 16 and 25 for males. So it's very nice to hear from other countries that they have been seeing similar things. It may be unique to Iceland. But yes there are some concerns. (Speaker off microphone)
>> PARTICIPANT: I want to point out that what I said in 2013 was true but what you said in 2017 is also true that the trend had been going down since the 90s and in the last 3 or 4 years teen suicide has gone up. However it is very important that you don't confuse a correlation with causation. The mere fact that these numbers happened, that the increase in online ‑‑ the point I made in 2013 was just at the Internet was going way up, suicide rates was going way down. I was not saying the Internet was causing them to go down but there's no way to know for sure whether suicide rates are related to cyber bullying. In fact what we do know from suicide experts is that suicide is rarely a one situation. That there are many, many things that enter into it including mental health, including what is going on at home.
And while there may be a situation where a teen was cyber bullied and killed themselves it doesn't mean that cyber bullying was the main cause or only cause of the tragedy.
>> PARTICIPANT: In respect to cyber bullying and harassment I'd like to mention a group that is often overlooked that we don't talk about and that group is the enablers. That's all of us. That's all of us who know and who don't say anything. Some of us don't know but sometimes we do know and we don't say anything.
So the enablers have also, they also have to take responsibility and do something.
>> PARTICIPANT: I would like to answer the question. I work for the no hate speech movement, a campaign to address hate speech and promote Human Rights with young people. We look at Portugal, we have two manuals, one is book marks which promotes Human Rights education a way to address hate speech. It’s been introduced in Portugal as part of the curricula for teachers. What is interesting is the feedback we get for teachers.
It's been a great opener to address the digital behavior of young people, issues of discrimination. And then the next point is that many young people that are victims or are being targeted do not know where to go so the teachers manage to create new awareness that could be used as a way of opening up the discussion or addressing issues.
So this is one point where teachers can not follow these issues online where they have a role to play. More importantly we try to do a mapping last year or early this year to actually get an idea of where to young people go to report hate speech, everything.
First of all it was very difficult to find that information even by national people that spoke national languages, they had to do extensive search. Or it doesn't exist. So we put on the platform what we could find but there's a real question here of communicating, A, setting it up, B, making a good chain of support from first contact to action where it's needed, and C, to communicate this and make it function and make sure that it works. So I think there's big challenges here to address.
>> PARTICIPANT: Hen refresh my recollection copy fighters in young parts of Europe. So there was a session in this room yesterday on digital civility. I can't remember his name but there was someone who made a very good point that the place where the majority of young people go when they feel cyber bullied, when they feel attacked online is to their friends. And I hope I'm not inferring anything from the comment of the lady at the back, but solution cannot be simply to say walk away from the computer, walk away from the social media. That is where people have their friends, that is where they communicate with them. Thank you.
>> PARTICIPANT: Yes, another point about that specifically. We have to remember that cyber bullying is not the only psychological affect. There is over use, addiction, and pressures felt by these incentive systems. And not just that but also the models of friendship have changed a lot. Over the past two years in Iceland we have seen a growing increase in people, in young people who report that they feel lonely or that they have known to talk to. Social interaction has moved away from physical interaction and more to online platforms and with very emotional interactions that maybe doesn't have the same effect.
>> PARTICIPANT: But isn't it the social media users’ responsibility, of parents and educators, because many times they don't care about how kids use social media.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Maybe the young girl at the back.
>> PARTICIPANT: I'm Connie from the Chinese YMCA from Hong Kong. I believe one of the most important factors that has caused cyber bullying is about privacy. Some of the youths don't understand the regulations for the privacy within social media so when they post photos or videos, if they haven't set up anything in the settings menu then they wouldn't know where their posts would go or where it would be exposed. So when some people who are really promoting cyber bullying comes to these users, then these users don't know what they can do and they feel helpful.
But what has caused this is the regulations are really too long in some of the social media. And let's take like terms and regulations, whenever we set up social media accounts you have to check a little box that says I agree with the terms and regulations but how many of us click in and scroll through those thousands and thousands of words to understand clearly our privacy and rights in the social media?
So it's actually really important for social media panels to kind of like change these regulations perhaps like simplify these methods and so that the youths can actually really know what is happening with their social media accounts and what will be their effects and also the consequences once they post these media things. Thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: Okay. So since we are actually running outs of time, so I just want to quickly wrap up and maybe have some final words from our facilitators. So I think some points that were constantly brought up was the issue of privacy and do young people really care or know about their privacy. And that brings us back to education which I think each sub group actually mentioned how important education is. And also how there's this responsibility not only for companies or people who have these platforms but also for us who use these platforms. So do you have any final words to say?
>> DAVID NG: Just feedback on the Nigerian gentleman who mentioned about youth in IGF program, who mentions civil society. In terms of youth or even civil society, education, organizing Youth IGF in the region and also there's a lot of Internet activities that have been organized so I think the gentleman can take a look online and work it in your own community. Thank you.
>> JIANNE SORIANO: So that's it for the session. So thank you everyone for coming. If you want to continue the conversation outside of this workshop, of course just feel free to approach us or any of the people that you have talked to today. Thank you, very much.
(Session concluded at 11:38 a.m. CET.)