Max Stossel spoke to Catholic Central students in an all-school assembly Monday about the pitfalls of social media. Stossel spoke about how these apps are designed to be addictive and some of the negative ways they can impact our self-image and relationships with friends, family, and those around us.
During his presentation, titled “We’ve Been Sneaking Into Your Brains,” Stossel shared some insights into which apps have left users feeling the most unhappy after using them. “It's no coincidence that the apps designed to keep our attention the longest such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, also happen to be the apps that most people feel unhappy after using,” said Stossel. He shared how easy it can be to manipulate and enhance photographs to improve a person's physical appearance and explained how this contributes to negative body image, mental illness, and eating disorders, especially in young women.
Alongside the eye-opening studies, Stossel shared many valuable tips for turning off phone notifications, YouTube Autoplay, and suggested keeping a physical alarm clock instead of an electronic device which can distract us and disturb our natural sleep cycles. He ended the presentation with a Q&A session and by asking students to take their phones out to discuss with their neighbors the one social media app they use the most and invited them to delete it from their phones right then and there.
Stossel also hosted an online session for CC parents in the evening, where he shared some helpful insights for parents on how to best guide and support their children on social media.
Stossel is an award-winning artist, the Founder of Social Awakening: an organization dedicated to helping young people survive and thrive in the modern world, and the Youth & Education Advisor for the Center for Humane Technology, a group working to realign technology with humanity (as featured in The Social Dilemma).
Before working in this field, Max was a media strategist with an extensive background in social media. He ran social media for multinational brands, and later worked for a social media company where he designed some of the notification structures to distract people that he now raises awareness about.