Michael Mercier is Founder and President of Screen Education, which conducts research, and provides training and consulting services, on the impact of information technology on human wellness.
Mr. Mercier has conducted 18 research studies on digital addiction with teens, college students, summer campers, parents, Millennials, and full-time employees. His research has examined the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical consequences of digital addiction, as well as its impact on academic performance and workplace productivity, safety, and conflict. He also has studied the benefits people derive from digital detoxes.
He has spoken on smartphone addiction to schools, PTA organizations, corporate audiences, colleges and summer camps, as well as at numerous conferences, including educational technology, library, mental health, summer camp, mindfulness, workplace safety, and marketing conferences. During the 2020/2021 academic year he will be teaching several seminars on tech addiction at Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center.
His research partners have included EMI Research Solutions, Stark Statistical Consulting, Camp Kern, Camp Ernst, Camp Livingston, The Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Hiram College, BOLDFISH, Calvert Catholic High School. He also has done research with stakeholders at Loveland High School and Crestwood High School.
He has presented his research to US Congressmen Jim Jordan and Brad Wenstrup, and to the legislative staffs of US Senators Brown, Hawley, Markey, Portman, and Sasse. Congressman Wenstrup made a House floor speech about my findings on cyberbullying, and he co-organized with the Congressman a roundtable discussion with educators on the role that social media plays in bullying and school violence. He's been interviewed on a variety of radio and television shows.
He holds a BA in Psychology from Vassar College, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Michigan, and an MS in MIS from the University of Cincinnati.
My interest in tech addiction stems in great part from my personal experience.
It began in 3rd grade. I was watching cartoons with a friend, and I asked him a question. He didn't respond --- instead he was staring at the television screen, his eyes wide, as if in a trance.
I asked him the question again with a louder voice, and again he seemed not to hear me. I then grabbed him by the shoulder and began shaking him, and it took a long time for him to finally snap our his mesmerized state.
It was then that I realized that there was something addictive about television --- something dangerous. And I decided that I should probably avoid watching it.
I remained largely television-free through high school, college, and adult working life. Then I got a Droid and a social media account, and I quickly began feeling myself slipping inot a different state.
I discovered the was during a camping trip in August, 2014, that he decided to trade his Droid in for a flip phone. He went through serious physical withdrawal for 3-4 weeks, but once he got through that he never looked back.
It was during another camping trip in August, 2017, that he decided to get off of Facebook. He accomplished this by essentially deconstructing his profile --- by unfriending all of his friends (after private messaging them to explain what he was doing), and unjoining all of his groups. While he still maintains a profile in order to partake in the occasional Scrabble game, he hasn't posted anything in over 3 years.