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User Behaviour

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User Behaviour

Aeon,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Businesses explicitly design their websites to be addictive. Would regulation help users regain some control?


Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

When a person begins to show signs of Internet addiction, is it only a lack of self-control which is to blame? Freelance science, religion, technology and ethics writer Michael Schulson explains how and why designers craft modern websites to be addictive and explores the ethical implications of companies that profit from “hooking” you in this manner. Schulson also posits practical forms of regulation that might discourage user exploitation. getAbstract recommends this article to those interested in the behavioral sciences and regulation and folks who suspect they’re spending a bit too much time online.

Summary

While there are no hard and fast diagnostics for Internet addiction, most people today would agree that their Web usage habits exhibit some, if not many, aspects of addictive or “compulsive” behavior. Why is this? Is it simply that people today lack self-control? Not entirely.

Businesses, like Facebook, explicitly design their sites to “hook” users. Web designers use a four-part system designed to keep users browsing and clicking: a “trigger” that starts the user browsing, an “opportunity for action” such as continuing to click...

About the Author

Michael Schulson is a freelance writer and an associate editor for Religion Dispatches.


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