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It’s Time To Kill the Algorithm

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Dr. Bill Senyard is an author, syndicated columnist, and speaker. He is the president of Gospel App Ministries ( and creator of the FREE live on-line program Good Enough Parent (

Blogger Joan Westenberg writes,

We mindlessly consume algorithmically optimized content designed to hijack attention and provoke emotions. Social media algorithms exploit biases and triggers to keep us hooked, undermining authenticity for engagement. While bringing short-term profit, these attention extraction engines warp reality and fracture society over the long run. The solution. Abandon algorithms completely.

Parents, how can you pry the thin grimy fingers of the social media algorithm beast away from your vulnerable teen’s throat?

  • Get your child a flip phone. Jerry Seinfeld got his teenaged son a flip phone hoping that he would trade-in his smart phone.
  • “Kill the Algorithm” Faraday Cage- ($100) This is a signal-blocking smartphone sleeve. Have your teen put their phone in the cage during times with family, meals, homework, etc.
  • Teach your teen to ignore your social media’s suggested Always search for content manually.
  • Switch their social media feed to chronological (Check out the YouTube video “How to Disable Algorithmic Feeds on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.”)
  • Get your child hooked on good books.

Here is a section from my soon-to-be-published third young reader fantasy tale in my Kingdom Quest trilogy, The Garden Tale. Once flourishing, Garden City has become addicted to the Instant Gratification Device (IG16). Here’s one programmer, Marv, who wants to change things.

“So,” began Marv, “imagine you wanted to watch a couple of playful dragonelles on your free IG16 tumbling over each other, just to get a laugh. Innocent enough.”

“But what you don’t know is that the GKP powerful algorithm tracks every detail of what you watch and how long you watch it.”

“It doesn’t wait for you to make another request. No, it will immediately suggest options. It is updating a complex user profile of you so that it knows better than even you what you are going to pick next time.”

“Maybe you watch a video about the complete dragon extinction in Garden City. Of course, we will use emotional words like genocide and murder. The more emotional the words, the more successful the algorithm will be.”

“You feel bad about the dragons until you think, ‘Wait a minute, we have more dragons than you can shake a stick at.’ Now you feel played. So, the prescient algorithm may send you a longer video of some crazy who claims he has actual hushed-up evidence that the government doesn’t want you to see. This is a conspiracy to increase taxes… or some other reason. It may or may not be true. That’s of no concern to the algorithm. It just wants your attention, more today than yesterday.”

“So, you ‘like’ the conspiracy video and even add an angry emoji.’ The machine now has you. You are hooked.”

“Likely, the algorithm will then send you a push-pull survey. ‘Do you think that dragons are destroying our way of life, click on yes or no.’ Depending upon your response earlier, it may send you a different survey, ‘Do you believe that dragons should be protected even more? yes or no.’”

“Either way, you participate, right? And the invisible algorithm gives you some thumbs-up emojis—and you feel good. But what no one tells you is that your response goes straight into the web’s celestial trash can. The algorithm just wanted to make you feel like you could trust it so you will stay attached.” (

Back to Westenberg. It is time to kill the algorithm.


Proclaiming the love of God for the unlovable, the unloved, and the unlovely.
Dr. Senyard and the team at Gospel App Ministries have created a number of dynamic and helpful tools and resources to help professionals help their clients flourish. These tools include The Forgiving Path (, Good Enough Parent (, Gospel App, Engage small group resources, and Take Heart YZ discipleship materials for young adults ( passion at Gospel App Ministries is to help Christians thrive by developing tools and resources that help all of us better apply the Gospel to the real lives of real people in the real world.

Dr. Bill Senyard

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