In My Mind - Social Media Addiction

"We're more connected than ever, always at the beck and call of our smart phones. But despite being constantly online, we're feeling isolated and anxious. We explore why social media is so addictive and what it's doing to our mental health."

A trailer to the documentary "In My Mind" looking at social media addiction. Directed and produced by AttitudeLive in New Zealand. This documentary centred on social media addiction, and the series focused on women's issues more broadly. It aired in Ausralia on March 26, 2018, recorded some time in mid July 2017.

Citation: Katina Michael in "In my Mind - Social Media Addiction", SBS OnDemand, screening March 26, 5pm-5.30pm, Sydney.

US ESTA VISA Form Now Requesting Social Media Data

Social media profiles are currently on request by US Customs and Border protection, so at the moment this is optional, but for those wanting temporary visas, it looks like the US will be requiring a social media profile as condition of entry.  Roderick spoke with Professor Katina Michael - Associate Dean at International Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at University of Wollongong, who says that this has far-reaching implications for privacy and human rights.

Full Citation: Katina Michael and Roderick Chambers, "Social media profiles needed for US temporary visas", The Daily-2SERFM, 30 December 2016, 10.47-10.58am. Available:

NFC Innovation Award

NFC Industry, Customer Experience and Product Design Leaders Share 2017 Outlook and Predictions on NFC Technology

Transport, IoT, wearables, cloud-based services experts from across the NFC technology sector – all judges for the new NFC Forum Innovations Awards — anticipate the NFC tech trends that will define 2017

As the entry process for the NFC Forum Innovation Awards gathers pace, we asked the experts on our Judging Panel to anticipate the NFC tech trends that will define 2017. The prestigious list of judges features a host of well-known names from across the NFC technology sector. This week we hear from: Dr. Katina Michael, IEEE and the University of Wollongong; Paul Gosden, Terminal Director, GSMA and Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director, Smart Card Alliance.
NFC Forum Innovation Awards

We queried the esteemed panel of 9 judges about NFC innovation and what NFC trends they see happening in 2017. We will be sharing their responses over the next few weeks leading up to the entry deadline for the NFC Forum Innovation Awards. Companies and developers using NFC in new, disruptive and innovative ways are invited to submit award entries showcasing their work for the chance to win in one of three award categories. Semi-finalists will be invited to the NFC Innovation Awards Reception on March 14, 2017, in Las Vegas, which is co-located with the NFC Forum’s Members Meeting. Finalists receive two nights paid hotel room in Las Vegas, award trophy, global recognition and networking opportunities. There is no cost to enter and the deadline for award submissions is January 11, 2017.

Question: What NFC trend or new opportunity will ramp-up or emerge in 2017?

In 2017, we will see a great deal of experimentation continuing in the space of NFC-based humancentric applications. These opportunities will especially take the form of wearables and bearables for identity, physical access control, financial transactions, and even niche applications like prisoner verification systems that are NFC-enabled. Certainly, we are at the point where convergence in technology will mean NFC will be a part of just about any innovation that requires human to machine interaction (e.g. gaming) or even machine to machine interaction (e.g. supply chain). The underlying premise for the use of NFC is the “convenience” value proposition, which has the direct effect of increased usage.

Dr. Katina Michael is a senior member of the IEEE and is on the board for the IEEE Council on RFID. She is also the Associate Dean International at the University Of Wollongong, Australia

More here

Techtopia: what does your phone know about you?

Original source here:

ELEANOR HALL: Welcome to Techtopia, our segment on the technologies set to disrupt our future and some of the unexpected questions we may need to ask about them.

Today a technology we're all familiar with: our phone. It has gone from staid, home-based handset to wearable message conveyor, music player, direction giver and so much more. 

But how familiar are we with what our smart phones know about us and what are they doing with that information? 

Joining me in Sydney, as he does every week for Techtopia, is entrepreneur and technology author Steve Sammartino.

Also here in our Sydney studio, is Dr Katina Michael, a Professor at the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, who is also on the board of the Australian Privacy Foundation.

Steve Sammartino, entrepreneur and technology author
Dr Katina Michael, professor, School of Computing and Information Technology, University of Wollongong; board member, Australian Privacy Foundation

L to R: Katina Michael, Eleanor Hall, Steve Sammartino

Citation: Steve Sammartino and Katina Michael with Eleanor Hall, "Techtopia: what does your phone know about you?", ABC World Today

Online Privacy and the 2016 Census

Census Name Surname DOB.jpg

Tomorrow night Australians will fill out their 2016 census form. Last year the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced that it will be keeping personal information from this year’s census returns for four years as an additional source of data to help improve community support services. But there are concerns about the security of identifiable information such as names and addresses, place of birth and household details. Should we be concerned? We were joined by Associate Professor Katina Michael in the School of Information Technology and Computer Science at the University of Wollongong to find out more.

Citation: Produced by Laura Chung, Katina Michael with Nik Healey, August 15, 2016, "Online Privacy and the 2016 Census", 2SERFM Breakfast

Thousands of Kiama residents say "no" to merger in poll

Kiama residents have turned out in their thousands to formally vote on the NSW Government-?s plans to merge Kiama and Shoalhaven councils.

The plebiscite, held on Saturday at a cost of $120,000 to the community, attracted 8400 voters (including 3000 pre-poll votes).

The number represents half of the 16,826 enrolled voters within the municipality.

More than 95 per cent of those who took part in the ballot voted against the planned merger.

Mayor Brian Petschler applauded the turnout and strong result, declaring the vote a -?real demonstration of community strength-?.

-?This is an outstanding result for a voluntary poll and sends a clear message to the NSW government that it should not proceed with this forced amalgamation with Shoalhaven Council,-? he said.

-?The level of opposition is even higher than what was recorded in an IRIS Research survey of residents soon after the government announced its proposal for the forced amalgamations.

-?Obviously residents still feel very passionately about this issue.-?

Kiama Downs resident Leah Sinclair said he voted against the government-?s proposal because she wanted the council to retain its local representation.

-?You do know the councilors faces, they come around to the school and the surf club, it-?s just a nice little community,-? she said.

Tim Rossiter also voted -?no-?, saying Kiama had -?always been this way-?.

-?I don-?t see why we should change it,-? he said.

Katina Michael said residents wanted to see the area-?s history retained.

-?I want to see us keep Kiama Council-?s historical underpinnings and [provide] local services [and] local attention to all our amenities and for local people to be able to keep their jobs in Kiama,-? she said.

Kiama state MP Gareth Ward welcomed the result of the vote and said he would use it to reinforce to the government the community-?s opposition to the merger plans.

-?I will use everything at my disposal to make it clear to the government about the community-?s views,-? he said.

The state government is expected to hand down its decision on all proposed mergers later this week.

Citation: Angela Thompson and Shannon Tonkin, "Thousands of Kiama residents say "no" to merger in poll", Illawarra Mercury.

Are digital natives really just digital labourers?

Are digital natives really just digital labourers? Teens turning off social media

The pressure to be a slave to social media is becoming too much for an increasing number of young people, writes Kathy Evans.

By Kathy Evans

21 April 2016 — 5:59pm

digital labourers.png

Travelling to university on a train, Sofia Stojic looks like any other student; head bent over her phone, scrolling through her newsfeed. All around her are other teenagers doing the same; twiddling their thumbs as they hashtag, like and emoji their way to their destination.

It's easy to assume that this latest crop of digital natives – those fluent in the language of computers, online video games and social media – are entirely at home in a cyber landscape where major aspects of their lives such as friendships, civic activities and social groups are mediated by technology. Judging by the amount of time they spend on it they must love it, right? But what if they don't?

Sofia Stojic and Sara Cooper (front) who are ambivalent about social media.

Photo: Simon Schluter

"I find it really stressful, actually," admits Stojic, 19. "It's not even about using it, it's just the knowledge that it is there in the background. It's very hard these days to switch it off and be with your thoughts." As well as Facebook, Stojic uses messenger apps, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Viber, sometimes spending up to three hours a day on the various networks but not always by choice; as the world becomes increasingly igitalised, she, like millions of other students, finds her life orbiting around her phone.

It's the go-to place when she wants to find out her rostered shifts at the afe where she works, or join a chat club for her linguistics degree at Monash University; it's the fulcrum where invitations to parties are found, gigs announced, events arranged. And yet it is a demanding beast, always hungry for attention. "When I go to Facebook to get my shifts I get caught up in a newsfeed. I will look for minute but find myself there an hour later."

Many teens are starting to feel social media overload.

Stojic is not alone in her growing resentment of a life that's become increasingly igitalised. Student Sara Cooper, 20, is equally frustrated. "I spend a lot of time complaining about it."

She dislikes the way it's altered face-to-face conversations, which she finds are often interrupted by someone suddenly checking their phone, and feels uneasy about her own desire to do so. Many of her friends hate it too.

"It's Pavlovian. There's something about that little inbox sign that satisfies you on the most basic level."

Like Stojic, she relies on social media to keep up with events but hates the intrusiveness of it. "I can be reading a book on the train and the phone interrupts the book. It's distracting." She has tried switching off notifications and even switching off her phone, but like most people her age, has a fear of missing out.

Sofia Stojic and Sara Cooper (in blue) who are both less than excited about the world of social media.

Photo: Simon Schluter

In an era where the ability to digitally network has become a sought-after career skill, Cooper might not like feeling controlled by a set of algorithms and be concerned about those little dopamine squirts that the red notification icon gives her brain, but like millions of others, she needs it.

And yet, according to Dr Peggy Kern from the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, the question of whether teenagers actually want to be on social media is one we haven't yet explored. "There is almost the assumption that they do, but actually it's a really good question and one we haven't asked enough."

Dr Andy Ruddock, senior lecturer in communication and media studies at Monash University, feels the term digital labourer is a more accurate reflection of a teenager's relationship with social media than digital native, which suggests they are totally at ease in this shifting landscape.

"There's been a tendency to construct a bipolar view of young social media users as either victim or vanguard; they are either being corrupted or created by it. We talk about social media as either something that they've got no problem with, or something that is doing terrible things to them, whereas the reality for a lot of them is that they are making the best of a bad deal," Ruddock says.

As Karl Marx observed, humans make their own history, but not under conditions of their own choosing. Teenagers never asked for the world they have inherited from Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo, and are beginning to question its ability to transcend anomie and create social solidarity.

"Perhaps they are just exhausted by the intensity of it and that's a problem," Ruddock says.

No wonder. According to Katina Michael, Associate Professor at the School of Information Systems and Technology at the University of Wollongong, many teenagers have more than 40 social media apps.

"It's information overload. The technology savvy people will keep pushing and creating new apps and new social media capacities but individuals are not machines, we are not digital. So I think more people will say goodbye to this kind of environment," Michael says.

Amy Bismire, 19, a nursing and midwifery student at Deakin University, has recently deleted her Instagram account and wishes she could do the same for Facebook.

"You spend so much time looking at other people you forget to look at your own life. On social media everyone shows their best side – how they want to be seen – not how they really are. It's a fake environment."

It's this lack of authenticity that unsettles her. "It doesn't make you feel good. It doesn't make you feel bad either, but it just doesn't make you feel better."

Bismire also feels worn down by the relentless nature of it and the way it seeps into her home life. "It's not like you can ever get away from it. You can switch off your phone but it's still there."

Like Stojic, Bismire relies on Facebook to connect to homework groups, but finds herself distracted by her newsfeed. "It draws you in. You don't want to but you start scrolling; it's a habit that's hard to break."

Why is it so hard to give up? While the jury is out on whether social media is addictive (it is not classified as such by the psychiatric bible DSM – 5, experts agree there are similar patterns of tolerance and withdrawal that are associated with gambling. Clearly young people are worried about the thin line between habit and addiction.

Claudia Howlett, 15, closed down her Instagram account two months after opening it. She signed up to Facebook after succumbing to peer pressure but ironically, doesn't feel more connected to them.

"Some of my friends would stay up all night and then be too tired to talk to me in school. Instead of talking to people they could see in person they were too busy chatting to people they'd never met. It put me off. I didn't want to be like that."

She quickly learnt that spending hours on Facebook made her feel quite sick, "as if I'm wasting my life," so she sets herself time limits and refuses to use any other platform: "It has made me the outsider in some ways but the positives outweigh the negatives."

It is a brave choice in a world driven by a primitive need to connect. Ruddock points out that when people started going to the cinema, it wasn't so much about watching a film as being with others. Magazines in the '70s – particularly girls' ones – gave teenagers plenty to talk about in the school yard.

Similarly, soap operas and television programmes have provided a wealth of social capital. But it is the sheer volume and intensity of social media interactions, all requiring some sort of immediate response if one is to remain likeable, that can weigh teenagers down. If psychological health relies on balance, the amplitude brought on by social networking is the thing that concerns them most.

Anxiety will always play a huge role, partly because technology has developed faster than our capacity to process it, but also because fear has long been a by-product of media usage (the parents of today's teenagers were probably told in the '80s that watching too much telly would make them square-eyed.)

Meanwhile Stojic, like Bismire, Cooper and Howlett, may dream of living a life unplugged but knows it is not very feasible.

"It's the way the world is. People like to push the positives – and there are a lot of positives – but they ignore the negative effects," Stojic says.

Kern sees this emerging ambivalence among teenagers as encouraging: "Perhaps technology is coming to a point of balance. Young people are starting to make a stand and change things amongst their peers and that's where it needs to go. They have misgivings and are starting to ask questions. I think that is very promising."

Citation: Kathy Evans, April 21, 2016, "Are digital natives really just digital labourers? Teens turning off social media", The Age

The Robot Who Could Get You Out of a Parking Fine

19-year-old Joshua Browder in the UK has developed a "free lawyer robot" which based on input information generates a letter to appeal parking fines. It is believe the robot has successfully appealed $3 million in parking fines.

Dr Katina Michael, Associate Professor in the School of Information Systems and Technology at the University of Wollongong, talks to Nick Bosly-Pask on 936 ABC Hobart Drive about how far could this technology could go and what are the implications in light of other AI's like Amazon Echo and "Hello Barbie"

Katina Michael with Nick Bosly-Park, February 26, 2016, ABC Hobart Drive,