Admit it. That title gets under your skin just a bit, doesn’t it? Combined with the image, it generates any number of emotions. Curiosity, worry, concern, anger…

Welcome to the wide and wonderful world of click baiting. All generated and designed to make you want to CLICK.

I’ve lured you in, so in an effort to be totally upfront and honest I want to explain how I will continue to use click baiting and psychology to keep you here. This is the point in the article where I tie in the image, so you know, it’s not obvious at first. I should say something about it being a crime, or endangering our mental health in some way. It goes way beyond just a title and an image though.

You see, if I really want to go all out, what I should do is put a ton of ads all over the page. They won’t look like ads though. I’ll make it look like an image that goes with the post, but I’ll make it small so you click it, trying to enlarge it.

I should also break up my post in a series of pages or lists, so you have to click NEXT in order to see all of the content or images. Each page will have its own set of ads and links to make sure I can get as many page impressions and ads generated as possible. That’s how I get paid you see. If you don’t mind, I won’t be clear about when the original post is over either. After all I have to some how get you to click a few extra pages.

Oh wait! I forgot that I also have pop up ads I can use. Don’t worry, you can just close them. Click on the x in the right hand corner. You don’t see the x? That’s because it doesn’t show up for the first 5 seconds after the ad appears. Go ahead and click where the x should be though. I know you will because that’s your natural reaction to pop ups, and you will try to close it in haste. It’s cool though, it takes you to another one of my sites, so you’re in good hands.

We are half way through our article at this point. So I want to make sure you didn’t fall asleep and keep those fingers clicking. In order to read the rest of my post, click this little LIKE button to show some love for my social media page.

Don’t fret. I won’t redirect you at the moment. I don’t want you to see it right away. It’s filled with all kinds of filth and garbage. Not all the time though. Every now and then I’ll throw in a video of a puppy, or a tear jerker of a veteran coming home, because those kind of things get shared. Then social media will be very kind and auto play all my other videos for your viewing pleasure.

While you’re here, I really want to make sure you are having fun in social media land, because I care about your happiness. Sad people don’t click as much. So I’m going to generate a quiz that will tell you what kind of flower you are. Not only will it grant me access to your social media pages, but make sure my stuff doesn’t get lost in your internet searches and media ads. Each question will be on a separate page of course, because of those ad generators I mentioned above.

You’ll be so happy that you turned out to be a daisy that you will kindly share my page for me, free of charge.

This is all satirical of course. I don’t do these things. Well, except for the title and image of this post in order to make my point. Sorry about that.

Ads and links in general are not necessarily bad. They have their place in the internet. I have ads on my own pages. Unfourtantely though, there is a lot of cloak and dagger. It’s not always obvious what we are clicking on.

Parents have to be so very careful about where and when our kids are allowed online. Way more so than a few years ago. Predators don’t have to seek them out anymore. Our kids come to them now, one click after another.

Just like we teach our children about tricky people and being smart around strangers and in public, we need to do a whole lot to protect their little hearts and minds from the tricky internet. It’s designed to target our psyche.

Think about your favorite app game. How much do you have to click or interact with the game? Would it be as much fun if you didn’t have anything to click on?

There is a psychology to clicking. Case studies abound on the subject. It is easy, and it has an instant gratification affect. The more we have to click, the more fulfilling it feels. It’s what keeps us coming back, makes us feel like we are accomplishing something, and that we are in control.

We’ve all fell victim to it at one point or another. We end up on pages we didn’t mean to. The article had nothing to do with the title, or a video auto plays one after the other, until we have no idea how we got to where we are. We’ve all shared posts, quizzes, or links not realizing what we are submitting ourselves and our friends too.

There are a couple of things we can do though, to help stop the flow and protect ourselves and our family.

  1. Talk to your kids about click baiting. Make sure they understand what it is, and how dangerous it is. Make very clear boundaries. Teach them not to click on ads or away from their intended page.  My kids are young, and are not allowed on the internet, or social media. They likely will not be allowed until they are in high school at the very least, maybe not even then. (excepting for school purposes of course) That being said, I’ve already talked to them in simple terms about how clicking on something good, like a video about legos, can lead to bad things because of bad people.
  2. Check the source page before you share. I’ll admit, sometimes I’m horrible at this. It’s probably the easiest and simplest thing to do. Before you like, comment, or share, click through to the page it comes from. There have been a lot of times I wanted to share a cute meme or video, but refrained because the source page also had foul language or crude content. It can all track back and open the way for their actual content to get shared.
  3. When in doubt, don’t click. There are some days I’ve just had enough of these shenanigans. That next button just gets under my skin, and I have no desire to help some one generate their ad revenue and spread their filth. Close it down, and walk away.

I make this promise here and now for TreeMum. If it’s an ad, you’ll know it’s an ad. I have no hidden pages or corners of filth here. If I link to another page, you’ll know, and you’ll have a choice. I will not promote click baiting on my site.

Except, of course, for this one time, in the title. Again sorry about that!