Our brains are programmed at birth for bonding, which increases our odds of survival. When predators manipulate our nature against us, it is called “Social Engineering”5. Social engineers, hack people (OF ALL AGES) to gain access to passwords and information by manipulating them. They are the scam artists and con men of the internet and experts in human nature. Don’t let your biases fool you into thinking you, or your kids, are immune from them!

For more information on Social Engineering visit: www.lamar.edu/it-services-and-support/security/awareness/social-engineering.html

It is in our best interests to know our biases, as well as the predators do.

  1. Dunning-Kruger Effect6 - A natural human belief that you are better than average.
    Ex: 90% of drivers think they’re better than average (statistically impossible)
  2. Overestimating our own ability, judgment, competence
  3. Failure to recognize lack of skill in ourselves (and others we like)
  4. Presumptive Trust - Most kids have had years of experiences with trustworthy people. Unless we have been victims, it is natural to trust and believe we can identify bad people. (Kids that experience victimization or crime are more suspicious.) It’s one reason internet predators target higher income kids.
  5. Confirmation Bias - People pay more attention to and give more weight to evidence supporting our own beliefs about the world. We downplay, discount, or ignore evidence to the contrary.
  6. The Illusion of Personal Invulnerability - We as humans believe we are less likely to suffer life’s misfortunes, even though we know the risks. We feel like ‘that stuff’ happens to other people.
  7. Unrealistic Optimism - People tend to overestimate that good things will happen to them. Even given accurate odds, they still believe they will do better than most.

Watch the video below and ask yourself:

  • If you leave your phone at home, how do you feel?
  • Would you, could you, voluntarily give it up for a week?

Video | 3:53

When the internet was created, and smartphones were invented, nobody considered that unlimited internet access could lead to cell phone and social media addiction. Some of the harmful effects on the user are:

  • Impaired self-esteem
  • Impaired work performance
  • Interpersonal conflicts

With the widespread accessibility of cell phones at a younger age now, teenagers are especially prone to developing an addiction to their cell phones or social media7. It is essential to know your weaknesses, to protect yourself and others.