In recent months, several social media and tech executives have come forward to publicly announce the potentially harmful effects of a society riddled with technology. Former employees of Facebook, Google, and Apple are now also joining the decry, along with a coalition set against tech addiction; the group is named the Center for Humane Technology. According to the center’s website, they have been raising awareness and organizing leaders since 2014, but in the last week some bigger, higher profile initiatives were taken. The center, reports the New York Times, will begin its efforts against tech addiction with an ad campaign, called “The Truth About Tech”, targeting around 55,000 public schools.
This campaign has been designed specifically to inform teachers, students, and parents about the possible dangers of technology. The Center for Humane Technology is especially focused on how too much time spent online and obsessing over social media sites can contribute to health problems like shortened attention spans, poor social development of the young mind, depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.
The center posted on their website that technology is “hijacking” society by eroding essential components like democracy, social relationships, mental health, and children’s minds. Also, the center talks about just how vulnerable people are to 24/7 influence from overstimulating, controlling social sites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
In addition to the postings and ad campaign, the Center for Humane Technology has requested social platform companies like Facebook and device makers such as Samsung and Apple to redesign their interfaces to be less harmful on the human mind. The center calls for fewer distractions and less screen time, among others. They are also planning on doing lobbying efforts against tech addiction by producing a Senate bill with research on technology’s harmful impact on the health of children.
To many, however, it seems the keystone effort in this anti-tech addiction initiative is the ad campaign, “The Truth About Tech”. For the $7 million campaign, the center is joining up with Common Sense Media, a not for profit media watchdog.
YouTube and Facebook have faced adverse reactions because of their apps, YouTube Kids and Messenger Kids, which are specifically child-oriented programs.
The generation of tomorrow is growing up being accustomed to technology, and although no one is sure yet what the long term effects could be, current information doesn’t bode well for the future if something isn’t done now.