Technology Articles

The Uproar Over the New Samaritans Radar Twitter App

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Uproar Over the New Samaritans Radar Twitter AppEd: We invited Mark Brown (@markoneinfour) to share the perspective from the Twitterverse on a new Twitter app released yesterday by the UK charity, the Samaritans, meant to help people who express suicidal words on Twitter. We also asked the Samaritans for their response to the concerns expressed within this article, but they did not respond to our request.

People are raising concerns about the Samaritans Radar Twitter app launched in the UK on 29th October are coming at it from 6 main angles. At present, the guidance from the Samaritans says that, “Unfortunately, we can’t remove individuals as it’s important that Radar is able to identify their Tweets if they need support.”

The charity has responded by releasing three 1-minute videos to address the concerns, stressing that ‘tweets are public‘.

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Over the past week, I’ve come across two very different approaches to schizophrenia prevention. I know to some that may sound like an incredulous possibility. But I believe it’s something that’s achievable within our lifetime.

Schizophrenia is uniquely situated to be acted upon by prevention methods. We know it has a larger genetic component than virtually any other mental disorder today. And unlike many other mental health concerns, it has a list of symptoms to watch out for (prodromal symptoms, they’re called) before it turns into full-blown schizophrenia.

Here’s how we may be able to prevent schizophrenia in the future.

How a Schedule Can Help You Sleep Better

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

How a Schedule Can Help You Sleep BetterThe fancy digital, pedometer-bracelet thingy around my wrist tells me I slept six hours and 25 minutes with four interruptions. As I struggle to awake, my body can tell you, that isn’t nearly enough.

An estimated 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived, according to the National Sleep Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many nights, I am among them.

Aside from the health risks associated with inadequate sleep, such as depression, memory and attention issues, mood disorders, and the higher risk of physical illness, researchers at the University of Oxford now believe a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality may also contribute to brain shrinkage. That thought alone might keep you up at night.

You Are an Idiot if You Still Use Whisper

Friday, October 17th, 2014

You Are an Idiot if You Still Use WhisperWhisper is one of those newer mobile apps that leads you to believe you can share information anonymously online. “With Whisper, you’re free to anonymously share your thoughts with the world, and build lasting, meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty.”

Trust and honesty, huh?

What if Whisper uses your anonymous sharing in ways you never imagined (such as posting your images and texts on a website)? Oh, and what about their promises of not collecting your personal information, such as your geo-location?

Apparently Whisper doesn’t understand what the words “anonymity” and “privacy” mean.

Amanda Bynes: When Celebrity Mental Health Turns Insensitive Gossip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Amanda BynesThe 28-year-old actress Amanda Bynes recently told In Touch Weekly that there is a microchip in her brain that allows other people to read her thoughts.

“I want a dollar a day from every person who (is) reading my mind,” Bynes said.

Now TMZ reports that she was allegedly “going full Winona Ryder” – shoplifting from Barneys on Madison Avenue.

“She really should wrap her head in a seven-pound ball of aluminum foil,” wrote Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News, later adding, “Sounds like someone’s parents need to fly to New York and get her back to the doctor, before none of this is funny anymore.”

I’m guessing the tabloids are just following her around day and night waiting for her to do something kooky. Personally, I don’t find any of it “funny” at all.

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social Media

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social MediaA lot of folks these days are talking about unplugging from social media. Maybe not permanently, but for a period of time in order to have face-to-face connections with people again.

But what if not logging onto Facebook meant you wouldn’t know that your friend had died? That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

7 Ways Smartphones Can Harm Your Relationship

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

7 Ways Smartphones Can Harm Your Relationship“We were texting back and forth about a project we were working on together. Gradually, the texts became a little more familiar. Over time we started sharing more, and … I guess you could say I’m involved in an emotional affair. I want to stay married, but I feel like I love this other person.”

I have heard some version of this explanation several times over the last year alone. In just the last few months, 80 percent of my new couples cases in therapy have centered on emotional affairs perpetuated through electronic communications. In every instance, a smartphone facilitated more frequent and ongoing connection than a traditional computer or laptop.

Facebook Mocks its Users with New Research Policy

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Facebook Mocks its Users with New Research PolicyIn any modern, first-world country, the government requires legitimate university researchers to go through an independent review board (IRB) when conducting research on human beings. This is due to past abuses by both governments and organizations who have used the guise of “seeking knowledge” to cover up their efforts to manipulate people for their own means and ends.

But you know what? Facebook isn’t a first-world country. So in an effort to better understand how to best monetize your use of their service, they don’t need an IRB’s approval to conduct research on you.

And now, in my opinion, they are outright mocking their users with their latest update to their research practices.

Porn Addiction: Not the Whole Story

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Porn Addiction: Not the Whole StoryThe issue of whether porn addiction is real has produced a storm of controversy. Yet all this noise may be distracting us from a graver risk to healthy sexuality: sexual conditioning of adolescents.

I monitor a number of popular online recovery forums. I have read self-reports of thousands of otherwise healthy young men who heal severe symptoms, including sexual dysfunctions (anorgasmia, delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, loss of attraction to real people) by removing a single variable: Internet porn use.

Sleep and Light Exposure

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Sleep and LightThe information and research findings on sleep are coming fast and furious these days. There seems to be a backlash to the cult of productivity and the former “badge of honor” for functioning on the least amount of sleep. There is a recurrent theme, which is that by not making restorative sleep a priority, there are both short-term and longer term negative consequences.

The negative impact of too much artificial light has become increasingly more relevant, as many of us are using multiple light-emitting devices right up until when our head hits the pillow. If you are interested in the optimal functioning of the human organism, it’s time to evaluate your sleep quantity, quality, and routine, as well as your exposure to both natural and artificial light.

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal Brand

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal BrandIn October 2009, I wrote my first piece in a series for Psych Central on the changing landscape of therapists online. Psychotherapists Unmasked on the Internet reflected upon a conversation I’d had with my psychiatrist father five years prior, who gave me an earful around the ethics of having my picture up on my website.

What he didn’t realize at that time was that websites were becoming an important marketing tool in our profession and that a move toward therapist demystification was occurring. A hearty discussion among many in our field around how to navigate it all was under way.

Can Handwriting Foster Emotions and Relationships?

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Hand Writing On a Notebook

I have a treasure chest, well ok — a suitcase — in my office of old handwritten letters from friends, ex-sweethearts and family. Every now and then, I open this old-fashioned suitcase and pick out a letter or two reminding me of a great love, a wonderful experience, a heart that touched mine, or vice versa.

The letters from my family members have become especially treasured, as several of them are no longer living.

As I look through them, I can’t help but notice that the letters recount my history up to a certain point in time, about twenty years ago, and then they stop.

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