Facebook “Dislike” Button Update

As we thought, Facebook has made a decision about the “Dislike’ button. Rather than one button, Facebook is planning on launching a group of “Reaction” emojis which will express “love”, “haha”, “wow”, ”yay”, “sad” and “angry”. These emojis will have motion much like a gif.

emoji

Currently, they will pilot the new buttons in Spain and Ireland. After data is collected, then plan will be to release more globally. For a video of how it will be used and additional information, click here.

As with all changes, keeping up to date and talking with our kids about usage will continue to be important. The potential for “laughing” at something serious or being “angry” about something positive still exist. But the choice to show an empathetic response is certainly needed in today’s world. I look forward to the roll out in the U.S.

Amanda Cooper, LCSW

 

Facebook’s “Dislike” Button

In the last week, there has been a lot of talk about Mark Zuckerberg creating a new button to allow users to express “dislike”. This request has been going on for several years as users would like to show empathy for a FB friend who may be going thru something that is negative in their lives. As a clinician, my natural assumption, given the prevalence of cyberbullying, is that it could turn into another weapon in the cyber arsenal of those who wish to bully a peer.  Because we live in a world where we look for validation – we want to know that we are liked and that people are interested in what we have to say. A dislike button could add fuel to the fire and further the need for digital validation. After talking with my in-house expert, my daughter, who is a high school senior about this, her comment was, “That’s a horrible idea. All it will do is create more hate!”   As I contemplate this, I agree with her. From her perspective, a “Dislike” button will just allow peers to give a negative comment to each other and continue the issue of on-line bullying. Imagine a teen posting a new relationship status and a group of “friends” click on “Dislike” or posting a college acceptance letter, a prom photo, new pet and having a group of negative responses. This could have social and emotional consequences for youth. I then decided to challenge her. “How do you “like” a friend’s post that mentions that their grandmother died?” Her response was that she would post an emoticon showing a sad face or tears. Interesting.

So, let’s think about the flip side, why would Facebook create a button that could potentially be used for negative purposes? You could argue that having friends commiserate and offer support by “disliking” a post can feel therapeutic in the same way that venting about a tough day over a latte or a walk with a friend. And for those doing the “disliking”, it is known that expressing, rather than avoiding, negative emotions can prove helpful to well-being.  Also, if a teen posts an inappropriate comment and receives 89 “dislikes,” would this be feedback to the teen to recognize that the post was negative and allow the teen to edit or delete the post and learn from the experience? Interpretation of words without facial expressions, voice tone and other non verbal cues is difficult in this media world. This could allow for a discussion about sarcasm and “meaning what you say and saying what you mean.” Especially when it is posted for the world to see.

So where does that leave us? As with most apps and platforms, it’s how we use it and teach and monitor how our children use it. Zuckerberg has been quoted to say that “we didn’t want to build a “dislike” button because we didn’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts.” Click here to read the full article.

The intention is for people to be able to express sympathy or support for personal or world issues that are around us. The company has not determined what the button will actually be labeled or what graphic will be used we will keep you posted. More importantly, this is a time to have a conversation with our kids about how to show support, both online and in the real world.

Amanda Cooper, LCSW

Hiding Pictures on a Device – Part Two: Calculator% App

In June 2015,  I wrote about apps that allow you “hide” or “lock” your picture on a device which limits access to others. Click here to read. This type of app and behavior has recently been in the spotlight again due to an Alabama prosecutor’s viral video telling parents that the calculator app on their child’s device may not be as it seems. I’m posting the link to the prosecutor’s video for a purpose of reinforcing my narrative that we, as adults, have to be aware and up to date with trends with youth and technology.

This link will also show you what the app’s icon looks like. This type of app does not surprise me and it’s not the first nor the last that will serve this function. Hiding pictures from parents is not a new behavior, it’s simply changed how it occurs. A decade ago you may have stumbled upon an adult magazine hidden under the mattress. The behavior was much less technical and easier to discover before the gadgets. Adults need to grow with the technology so we can educate our children to become responsible digital citizens.

For the Alabama prosecutor’s video, click here.

~Ryan