Want an Effective and Inexpensive Way to Wash Your Produce?

By Dr. Mercola

Once upon a time, polishing an apple on your jeans was all it took to clean off dirt or dust before taking your first juicy bite. Nowadays, however, there are a few other things besides dirt to consider when getting your produce ready to eat. Pesticide residue is a common term today, unfortunately, and one that must be taken into consideration, whether you’re eating pears from an orchard, spinach from the grocery store or peppers from your local farmers market.

Both small farmers and large corporate crop producers routinely use pesticides, but some of the chemicals they use absorb into the food that will later be eaten, Science Daily reports.1 Not just the fruits and vegetables themselves but entire trees, orchards, fields and soil, are sprayed with toxic chemical pesticides to protect against pests and fungal diseases.

Only in the last handful of years has anyone stopped to ask whether the foods coming out of those fields was healthy any longer. The potentially toxic effects that have been uncovered have made consumers and consumer groups more than a little nervous, and for good reason. Fortunately, recent research has found one surprisingly simple way to wash some of the pesticides off your produce, using a substance you probably already have in your kitchen: baking soda.

Baking Soda Works Better Than Bleach to Remove Pesticides From Produce

Washing fruits, vegetables and herbs to remove residue is the food industry’s standard procedure, but questions have arisen regarding its effectiveness. Does rinsing your carrots, plums or cauliflower do the job before eating it? How about holding it under the faucet and rubbing it with a bit of dish soap? A new study2 offered a surprisingly simple and affordable tip on how to get rid of toxic pesticides that contaminate food, and it’s not what is currently being used.

The research team approached the problem with a study on which method would be better for reducing toxins on produce. Lili He and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts used apples to examine the effectiveness of commercial and homemade washing agents to remove both surface and internalized residues. Science Daily reports:

“The researchers applied two common pesticides — the fungicide thiabendazole, which past research has shown can penetrate apple peels, and the insecticide phosmet — to organic Gala apples. They then washed these apples with three different liquids: tap water, a 1 percent baking soda/water solution, and a U.S.-EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)-approved commercial bleach solution often used on produce.”3

Using highly specialized analysis, the scientists found that surface pesticide residues on apples that had been treated 24 hours prior4 were removed most effectively using baking soda. The team tried tap water and even Clorox bleach, and neither worked as well as the baking soda, which is highly alkaline, probably because the pesticides degrade faster in baking soda, which makes them easier to physically remove by washing.5

Super-sensitive testing procedures were used to detect the levels of thiabendazole (a systemic fungicide, pesticide and parasiticide) and phosmet (a nonsystemic pesticide), but the researchers didn’t test any other cleaning methods, such as vinegar, or test the washing solutions against the plethora of other pesticides often used on apples, CNN observed.6

According to Reuters, the EPA mandates that, after harvest, apple producers soak their produce in bleach water for two minutes, but that’s designed to remove bacteria and other “organic matter,” not to get rid of pesticides.7 Daily Mail noted that 80 percent of the thiabendazole was removed after 12 minutes of gentle scrubbing with the baking soda solution, while it took 15 minutes to remove 96 percent of the phosmet.8

What ‘Pesticide Toxicity’ Means for Humans

Both substances tested have been deemed potentially carcinogenic, and not just the use of but the problems from them are becoming more widespread. In fact, far from being a harmless substance, Science Direct9 contends that with phosmet exposure, the elderly, children and pets are most at risk. Further, the EPA’s User’s Guide10 on the risk for pesticide toxicity in humans assesses such factors as calculating residue levels, aggregate and cumulative exposure, equations for acute and chronic effects, and cancer “endpoints.”

In spite of that, a Reuters article observes that the EPA’s stance on pesticides is that “They can hurt humans, too, but most of us are exposed to amounts so tiny that they don’t pose a risk.”11 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also contends that “Pesticide residues do not pose a safety concern for U.S. food.”12 Interestingly, another Reuters article13 posted just three days later reported findings from another study at a Boston clinic on the eating habits of 325 women and their newborns. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that:14

  • Women who ate the highest amounts of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue (more than two servings a day) were 18 percent less likely to have a baby compared with women who ate the lowest amounts of these foods —  less than one serving a day.
  • Pollutants, like pesticides, could be contributing to ‘unexplained’ fertility problems.

Jorge Chavarro, senior study author from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, stated it was already known that:

“Women occupationally exposed to pesticides and women exposed to pesticides used in agriculture by virtue of living in or near agricultural production areas experience greater risk of infertility, pregnancy loss and other adverse reproductive outcomes. Our study is the first to show that exposure to low doses of pesticide residues, such as those achieved by consuming conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, may also have adverse health effects. This was actually very surprising to me.”15

Pesticide Exposure Is Not as Harmless as Some Agencies Claim

In case you need more information on why pesticides are considered potentially deadly, and washing your produce thoroughly is an important step to take before eating it to remove as much as possible, National Geographic published an article in 2013 on the potentially lethal effects of organophosphates (the class of chemicals that phosmet belongs to) after at least 25 children in India died from pesticide exposure.16

Dana Boyd Barr, an exposure scientist at Emory University in Atlanta, noted that organophosphates “are considered junior-strength nerve agents because they have the same mechanism of action as nerve gases like sarin.” The article noted:

“Upon entering the body — through ingestion, inhalation or contact with skin — organophosphates inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme in the human nervous system that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerves and muscles. When cholinesterase is inactivated, acetylcholine builds up in the nerves, which become overactive. Victims of organophosphate poisoning typically die because they can’t breathe.”17

Here’s another example: “Pet groomers and veterinary workers have become poisoned after skin contact with flea dips containing phosmet (organophosphate). In one case the dog being bathed shook his coat and showered the worker with fluid from the dip. Symptoms included skin irritation, shortness of breath, abdominal cramping and nausea.”18

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that all produce at least be washed under running water, even if you don’t plan to eat the skin. (Cutting into an unwashed cucumber, carrot or cantaloupe exposes the flesh to potential toxins and bacteria on the peel.) Firm produce should be scrubbed with a brush, then dried with a clean towel.19

A Domino Effect: Problems With Pesticide Use

Still, health experts maintain that the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh any potential pesticide risk. Ideally, however, look for organic varieties.To reiterate He’s study, Science Daily20 revealed an interesting domino effect and other pertinent information regarding how fruits, vegetables or other foods that have been sprayed with pesticides are affected:

  • Using a 10-milligram (mg) solution of baking soda, it took 12 and 15 minutes, respectively, of soaking to remove most of the thiabendazole and phosmet surface residues from the apples following a 24-hour exposure.
  • Thiabendazole and phosmet (to a lesser extent) penetrated inside the fruits, but the thiabendazole penetrated four times deeper and therefore could not be completely washed away even using the baking soda washing solution.
  • The food industry typically uses the post-harvest washing method of a bleach solution for two minutes, which does not effectively remove pesticide residues on the surface of apples.
  • The baking soda method removes surface pesticide residues on apples better than plain water or bleach, but while baking soda can degrade thiabendazole and phosmet, making them easier to remove with a thorough washing, it couldn’t remove chemical residues that had penetrated the apple peels.
  • Because of the chemical penetration into the apples, peeling is more effective to remove the pesticides. However, peeling also removes the healthy bioactive compounds the peels contain.

The Baking Soda Solution: ‘Wash Your Fruits and Vegetables’

He and her research partners used a concentration of about 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 2 cups of water in their experiments — an effective ratio. “You don’t need to be precise. Just adding a little bit is better than not adding it,” she explained. It can also be used for washing other types of produce. It might not work for everything, “but it’s a general method.”21

Significantly, as lead of the study, not only did He admit that she’ll be washing her children’s fruits and vegetables longer and adding baking soda, she also did not eat the apples after they’d been tested. Dr. Philip Landrigan, a researcher at the Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, advises people to eat organic as often as possible, but to at least wash your fruits and vegetables.22

However, Motoko Mukai, a toxicologist in the department of food science at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, contends that even produce labeled as organic can’t be trusted altogether, concluding: “It’s not entirely pesticide-free. I would still wash before consuming it.”23 She adds that cooking, blanching or juicing may also help remove chemical toxins,24 but not entirely.

A 2012 study25 showed that organic foods have a 30 percent lower risk of pesticide contamination in comparison with conventionally grown foods. One way they know that is that people who make it a habit to eat organic foods whenever possible have fewer pesticides in their bodies, indicated via urine testing.26

In addition, it was found that pregnant women with higher levels of pesticides in their bodies, particularly one known as chlopyrifos (CPF), were more likely to give birth to children with a lower birth weight, a lower IQ and neurodevelopmental problems.27 So choosing organic is great, but even better are your efforts to get the word out about how you can take control of your own and your family’s health by doing what you can to avoid illness from pesticide contamination.

The statistics on pesticides in food are real. As Landrigan suggests: “Avoid using pesticides within homes or on lawns and gardens. Join with friends and neighbors to urge reduction in pesticide use in schools, parks, playing fields and other areas used by children and pregnant women.”28

Vaccines — Are They Still Contributing to the Greater Good?

By Dr. Mercola

The multiple award-winning documentary, “The Greater Good,” was initially released in 2011. Five years later, the tragic truth about the toxic effects of vaccines on brain and immune system health that was revealed in this ground-breaking film is as true today as it was when it was first shown in film festivals around the country.

Weaving together stories of families whose lives have been forever altered by vaccine damage, the documentary reveals how modern medicine, especially when driven by politics, ideology and big business, can rob you of some of your most basic human rights, including voluntary, informed consent to medical risk-taking.

The results of such politically- and financially-driven public health policies can be devastating. “The Greater Good” is a provocative but thoughtful and well documented examination of hot button vaccine topics. Uniquely, it includes the perspectives of prominent voices messaging differently about vaccination in mainstream media today — both those pushing for mandatory vaccination policies and those opposing forced vaccination policies.

The profiles of families, whose children have been injured or even died from vaccination are heartbreaking, and it is infuriating to learn about the short cuts that government and industry take to fast track vaccines like Gardasil, and how too many doctors dismiss vaccine reactions as “a coincidence.” The film ends with a bittersweet but hopeful message, urging positive change to reduce fear so that parents, doctors and legislators can work together to protect the health of all children and prevent vaccine injuries and deaths.

Protecting Health of All Children Demands an Individual Approach to Vaccines

There needs to be an open, rational discussion about vaccination, infectious diseases and health. After all, don’t all of us want our children to be healthy and safe from unnecessary harm?

If we want to protect the health of all children, we cannot continue to ignore the signs that public health policies making mandatory use of multiple vaccines in early childhood as our nation’s No. 1 disease prevention strategy has gotten to the point where we have no idea how many children’s lives are being sacrificed in the name of “the greater good.”

From my point of view, there can be little doubt that we need to review the safety and effectiveness of the current vaccination program in the U.S., and that this review needs to include methodologically sound investigative studies that are not compromised by conflicts of interest within industry and government.  

If we don’t do that now, we may not be able to stop further damage to the health of future generations. I encourage you to watch the documentary, “The Greater Good,” to become better informed about the science, politics and ethics of vaccination, a film you can view for free here during this year’s Vaccine Awareness Week.

Autism and The Thinking Moms Revolution

A producer of “The Greater Good”1 has also released short videos with outtakes of interviews that were conducted for the film, as well as other information covering a number of vaccine topics. The video above is about the reported relationship between vaccination and autism, featuring mothers of vaccine injured children with autism from a group called The Thinking Moms Revolution.

Autism has skyrocketed over the past few decades and scientists and public health officials continue to argue about the reasons for why it is happening but something is clearly very wrong. Three decades ago, autism affected 1 in 10,000 children.2,3 Today, it’s estimated to afflict as many as 1 in 50.4

While conventional medicine still claims there’s no known cause for autism increases, Thinking Moms are speaking out about how they brought a healthy child in for vaccination, and watched their child deteriorate following that vaccination. As stated by one mom: “In this country, we’re indoctrinated to believe in vaccines, and believe there’s this incredibly impeccable science behind them. [But] once you start the investigation and you realize how flimsy the evidence is, for safety in particular … that’s when you realize how little of this is based on fact.”

On its website,5 “The Greater Good” team notes:

“In the early 2000s, CDC instructed vaccine makers to remove the mercury preservative in childhood shots. But as the mercury was being phased out of most childhood vaccinations, CDC recommended that pregnant women and infants at 6 months and again 7 months receive the flu shot — which they knew still contained mercury.

In addition to the flu shot, CDC began recommending that pregnant women also receive the Tdap vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, and attenuated pertussis). So, pregnant women and their unborn babies are still being subjected to mercury-laden flu vaccines and aluminum-laden DTaP vaccines — and at an earlier point.

These vaccines during pregnancy contradict decades of advice to take no medications, quit smoking, stop drinking alcohol and avoid mercury laden seafood while pregnant, but people have been so conditioned to trust authority that they accept this, making it all too easy to tell parents, ‘sorry, your kid was born that way’ …

[G]overnment health officials maintain the charade that they are trying to find a cause for autism when they have blown $1.6 billion over the past decade looking for a supposed genetic cause despite ample science showing that environmental factors are the culprit.”

The Good News

The good news is there is much more information available today about alternative biomedical therapies. These are being used by open-minded doctors addressing the neuroimmune dysfunction that children with vaccine-associated autism are suffering. Some children diagnosed with “autism” are improving through use of special diets, supplementation regimens and detoxification protocols tailored to their individual needs.

As noted in the video, there’s a vast “underground” movement of parents who are sharing their experiences and successes and there are enlightened doctors who have been able to help children with autism when conventional medicine falls short. The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) protocol is, in my view, among the most important treatment strategies out there, but there are also many others.

The GAPS nutritional protocol was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, whose son was diagnosed with autism. She understands that there’s a very important connection between damaged gut flora in pregnant women and developmental problems in their children, especially autism.

Establishing normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in the maturation of your baby’s immune system. It’s important to realize that babies who develop abnormal gut flora have compromised immune systems, which puts them at higher risk for suffering vaccine reactions.

In GAPS Babies, Vaccination Can Be ‘the Last Straw’

If your baby has suboptimal gut flora, vaccines can become the proverbial “last straw” — the trigger that “primes” their immune system to develop chronic health problems. According to Campbell-McBride, in children with GAPS the toxicity flowing from their gut throughout their bodies and into their brains continually challenges their nervous system, preventing it from performing its normal functions and process sensory information.

Other researchers are now starting to back up her findings. For example, one 2013 study6 confirmed that autistic children have distinctly different microbiome compared to healthy children. Notably, they had fewer healthy bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium. Children diagnosed with autism also had markedly higher levels of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

I believe the GAPS Nutritional program is vitally important for most, as the majority of people have such poor gut health due to poor diet and toxic exposures, but it’s particularly crucial for pregnant women and young children.

The best way to prevent GAPS is for the mother to avoid all processed foods, sugar, antibiotics (including CAFO meats and antibacterial soaps) and birth control pills prior to conception. These cause pathogenic yeast and fungi to grow and also cause leaky gut that allows undigested protein fragments to sneak into the blood stream contributing to autoimmune disease. This can then be followed by breastfeeding and avoiding the use of antibiotics during (intrapartum) and after delivering.  

It’s also a good idea to make sure your baby’s microbiome is healthy before getting any vaccinations. Fortunately, it’s possible to rather inexpensively identify GAPS within the first weeks of your baby’s life, which can help you make better-informed decisions about vaccinations, and about how to proceed to set your child on the path to a healthy life. The entire process for identifying children who would be at risk for developing autism from a vaccine is described in her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.”

What Doctors Really Know About Vaccines

Another short video published on “The Greater Good” website makes the point that doctors are not being taught about vaccine risks in medical school. In short, doctors are being taught about administering vaccines but not about how to identify a vaccine reaction. Doctors strongly recommending and administering vaccines to children are not taught about the big gaps in vaccine safety science.

“They don’t learn that no study exists comparing the medium or long term health outcomes of vaccinated to unvaccinated populations. They don’t learn that vaccine safety studies don’t use a true placebo, but instead use another vaccine or a solution containing mercury or aluminum as a placebo!  

They don’t learn that vaccine safety studies often last a few days to a few weeks keeping hidden long term side effects. They don’t learn that vaccines can overwhelm the immune system and cause autoimmune disease. They don’t learn that the aluminum in vaccines is known to cause cognitive impairment, autoimmune disease, gut issues and a host of other damage to healthy adults — goodness knows what they do to tiny infants.

They don’t learn that the mercury in vaccines is documented in the medical literature as a potent neurotoxin and that it is still used in the manufacturing of some vaccines and as a preservative as well. They don’t learn how the body processes the vaccine components because, well, no one has ever researched it.”

In light of such vaccine education deficiencies in most medical schools, it becomes very important for parents to educate themselves — and their pediatricians, if they can — about how to identify and prevent vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. And this is precisely why opening up discussions about these issues is so important. There are huge gaps in general knowledge, and huge gaps in research too, and those gaps really need to be addressed.

Why Won’t the CDC Study Health Outcomes?

One study that could shed a lot of light on the vaccine safety conversation is a study comparing health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. As illogical as it seems, there has never been a large prospective well-designed study to evaluate whether children who remain unvaccinated or receive fewer vaccines, are more or less healthy than children who receive all federally recommended vaccines. These kinds of studies do not exist.

And so the controversy about whether or not use of multiple vaccines in early childhood is having long term adverse health effects and may do more harm than good continues. That said, unofficial surveys7,8 suggest that highly vaccinated children may have more chronic health problems than unvaccinated children, and that unvaccinated children have a far lower incidence rate of autism. There’s also a growing body of research suggesting that vaccines may be associated with a variety of brain and immune system disorders, including a potential increased risk for:

  • Learning and developmental disabilities
  • Brain damage
  • Allergies, asthma, and gut problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic infections

Autism Rates Jump Each Time Vaccine Made from Human Fetal Cell Lines Is Released

A study describing one potential unrecognized safety issue associated with vaccines was published in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology.9 It discussed a potential correlation between autism and three specific vaccines: MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella (chickenpox) and hepatitis-A vaccines.
As reported by Global Research:10

“Using statistical analysis and data from the U.S. Government, U.K., Denmark and Western Australia, scientists at Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI) found that increases in autistic disorder correspond with the introduction of vaccines using human fetal cell lines and retroviral contaminants.

Even more alarming, Dr. Theresa Deisher, lead scientist and SCPI founder noted that, ‘Not only are the human fetal contaminated vaccines associated with autistic disorder throughout the world, but also with epidemic childhood leukemia and lymphomas.'”

The main argument for a vaccine-autism connection in the study is the introduction of vaccines manufactured with human fetal cell lines containing fetal and retroviral contaminants. The cell line in question is known as WI-38. According to the authors, autism rates rose sharply each time another one of these vaccines were released. For example, in the U.S., autism rates jumped in 1980-1981 following the approval of MeruvaxII and MMRII, both of which were made with the human fetal cell line WI-38. Another jump in autism prevalence occurred in 1988, corresponding to three factors:

  1. The addition of a second dose of MMRII
  2. A highly successful measles vaccination campaign that raised compliance from 50 to 82 percent between the years 1987 and 1989
  3. The introduction of Poliovax in 1987

In 1995, autism rates jumped again in response to the introduction of the Varicella vaccine, Varivax. In conclusion, the authors note that “rising autistic disorder prevalence is directly related to vaccines manufactured utilizing human fetal cells.”

Although this is only one hypothesis for how and why vaccines may be contributing to the rising incidence of autism among children, there are many outstanding questions about vaccine science and policy that must be answered quickly before more vaccines are added to the government recommended and mandated list for children and adults. In the meantime, to protect your own health and the health of your children, please empower yourself with information and become well informed about infectious diseases and vaccines so you can make wise health care choices.

Protect Children’s Health by Getting Informed and Taking Positive Action

You can access more information about vaccination and health on this website and on the website of the nonprofit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) at www.NVIC.org. The parent co-founders of NVIC, whose children were injured by DPT vaccine, launched the vaccine safety and informed consent movement in the U.S. in 1982. Their website is the largest and oldest website on the Internet publishing accurate, well referenced information about vaccination and infectious diseases.

Post a video vaccine reaction report: You can make people more aware that vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths are real by posting a video vaccine reaction report on NVIC’s online Memorial for Vaccine Victims here.

NVIC launched “Protect Life: Witness a Vaccine Reaction” on NVIC.org during Vaccine Awareness Week 2016, and I encourage you to participate if you or a loved one has experienced a serious vaccine reaction. Sharing your story of how vaccination changed your life or the life of someone you care about can educate and save other people from having to suffer in the same way.

Take action to protect vaccine exemptions in your state: If you want to actively work in your state to protect legal vaccine exemptions so you are able to make voluntary vaccine choices for yourself and your children, I encourage you to sign up today to be a user of the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal, so you can be kept up to date on legislation moving in your state that may threaten vaccine exemptions and puts you in touch with your own elected representatives so you can make your voice heard.

It is up to all of us, individually, to participate in our democracy and make sure that that the laws, which govern us, do not infringe upon our civil liberties and take away our human right to exercise informed consent to vaccine risk-taking.

About the Director

I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the director, Kendall Nelson, from “The Greater Good.” We sat down with Kendall to know a little more about what goes in to making these films. Thank you Kendall, for sharing the film with us. Don’t forget to check out their Facebook Page HERE.

What was your inspiration for making this film?

My inspiration for making “The Greater Good” was to bring about awareness regarding vaccines and to explore both sides of the vaccine debate. Often, we are only presented the pro-vaccine side and it was important to me that we show that vaccine injury is real and not rare. It was my objective as a filmmaker to make a documentary that would encourage parents to do their own research so that they may make more informed choices for their families.

What was your favorite part of making this film?

My favorite part of making “The Greater Good” was getting to know the families we featured. Although it was often heart-wrenching, it was also very inspiring. I have also really enjoyed the education I have gotten along the way. I believe our film has paved the way for other films to talk about the vaccine issue. Maybe someday, it won’t be such a taboo subject.

Where do the proceeds for your film go?

The proceeds for our film go to running an active engagement campaign to educate people about vaccines and to fight for health freedom, including fighting against the many state mandates we are seeing today.

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Reddit ShadowBans Multiple Right Leaning Pages In Mass Purge: Is The_Donald Next?

By Jack Kenrick | 26 October 2017

SQUAWKER — Just as many have predicted for some time now, the Authoritarian Regressive Left is finally moving forward with their censorship of major social media hubs online. Not content to already have semi control over the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon. Now Reddit as well seems to have fallen once and for all to this political based censorship. With some new rule changes made just today, clearly designed primarily as an excuse to target Right leaning communities on the platform.

As less than 24 ago site Admin LandOfLobsters made the below post, explaining what he called the upcoming tighter enforcement of existing rules against content that promotes “violent content.”

While it all might sound reasonable enough at first glance. These rule changes have already turned into little more than an excuse to tighten the grip of political censorship on the popular platform. With a clearly pre-planned large-scale purge of groups now already underway. The following communities being just some of those already banned at the time of writing.

/pol/, ActualJournalism, EuropeanNationalism

FarRight, NationalSocialism, WhitesAreCriminals

The banning of /pol/ in particular is interesting as it’s just the latest in a recent wave of clamping down on 4chan based groups online. Such as Twitter who just this past week shut down a popular /pol/ news based account. It would seem that the Regressive Left continues to see the spread of the sites influence as a real threat that must be dealt with quickly. After all even Democratic lawmakers have seemingly taken notice of the “problematic” free speech haven. […]

Ex-Facebook Chief Sean Parker Warns Site Was Built To Exploit People’s Weaknesses

Facebook. It’s something that over 1.8 Billion people are using on a daily basis — can you believe that? For many of us, it’s the first thing we do when we wake up, and the last thing we do before we go to bed at night. Is this a healthy relationship? There is no doubt that Facebook has connected all of us on a level that may have previously been unimaginable. Without Facebook, a lot of important information would not have been seen. It presented a platform to share so much information and so many ideas.

How Did This Happen?

But, was this all by mistake? Was Facebook solely created to connect College kids, and simply exploded from there? Was it an accident? Were  there sinister intentions behind its creation or did all those, if any, creep in after its success?  Was it designed to essentially suck as much of our time away from us as possible? Well, according to former Facebook president, Sean Parker, that’s exactly what it was designed for and continues to do.

Either Parker is a disgruntled ex employee trying to seek revenge on the corporate giant, or he is worried enough about the implications of Facebook as we know it now, and potentially where is headed. I’ll leave it to you to decide after reading some of what he recently announced during an interview with Axios.

Parker joked that the following comments would probably get him blocked from Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg.

“When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.’”

I can relate to this statement as I’ve seen many people that always said they would never use Facebook come over to the dark side, or even people like my Mother who barely know how to use a computer, add me as a ‘friend.’

“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Could anyone have understood the implications of what something this massive could have brought to our society is a whole? He’s right, Facebook has taken over aspects of our lives in many ways.

“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’”

How much time do you spend on Facebook?

“And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”

Are you addicted to “the scroll?” Constantly scrolling, waiting for something that makes you laugh or you find interesting, just to give a like or a comment and then get right back to scrolling? Facebook is extremely addictive, and it’s not your fault, it was designed to be this way. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

This is so true. I can relate to this on many levels, after posting something, if I don’t get a like or a comment, I start to regret my post and wonder if it was worth it or not.  After than, I then began to feel validated by a ‘like’ or a comment. Many of us, not all , post to get likes. It’s that simple.

“The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”

I know what a lot of you are probably thinking: but, I saw this post on Facebook and that’s how I ended up coming to read it. Which is a valid thought. It’s no surprise that Facebook has literally taken over so much of the internet, and even the use of the built in apps on our phones at times. Facebook came in quick and literally just took over everything standing in its way. In some ways it’s actually impressive, but in others it’s extremely scary.

Sean Parker Isn’t The Only Social Media Big Cheese With A Warning

Former Google employee, Tristan Harris explained how these tech companies master the minds of their users. Product designers “play your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention,” he wrote.

Like magicians, social media apps “give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose.”

So, What Do We Do?

It’s not that you need to save all of your photos, copy and paste all of your links and  contact your closest friends to make a massive list of emails, although, that’s one way to go about it. Just be aware, especially if you catch yourself with any amount of time to spare, 30 seconds, 10 minutes, or a couple of hours, it’s so easy to instantly grab your phone and begin “the scroll.”

Be aware of the addiction, and then break it. If you need to take a break from all social media from time to time so that you remember what life was like before we were constantly glued to our small screens, our medium screens and our larger screens, then do it. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are in control of our lives, it’s time to take back the power!

If you are wondering how you will be able to read our articles whilst taking a break from social media, don’t worry, we’ll still be here, and you can easily find us by coming right to our website or using Google. Much Love