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Social media's early creators are banding together to fight tech addiction

By Shawn Knight ยท 9 replies
Feb 5, 2018
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  1. I’m young by most standards but I’ve been around long enough to witness some significant moments in human history. Many of them happened in an instant and will leave a lasting mark but it’s arguably the events that snuck up on society that are particularly worrisome. Social media is a prime example and some who were directly involved in its upbringing are banding together to raise awareness.

    The Center for Humane Technology is an anti-tech addiction coalition that has been working on the issue since 2014. The group is ramping up its efforts through a partnership with media watchdog group Common Sense Media and is planning an ad campaign that’ll run at 55,000 public schools across the US.

    The campaign, called The Truth About Tech, is being funded by Common Sense Media and aims to educate students, teachers and parents about the many dangers of technology and social media.

    “We were on the inside,” said Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google who is heading the group. “We know what the companies measure. We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works.”

    The group is a who’s who of early social media leaders that are partially responsible for building the foundation of today’s social media. In addition to Harris, the center includes Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager; Justin Rosenstein, who created Facebook’s Like button; Lynn Fox, a former Apple and Google communications executive; Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook and Dave Morin, a former Facebook executive, just to name a few.

    Several others, many of whom played a role in the early days of social media, have also spoken out about its dangers in recent memory.

    Just last month, child experts urged Facebook to shut down its Messenger Kids app. Indeed, these experts raise some valid concerns with regard to kids’ interaction with technology and social media. How young is too young? Are you keeping close enough tabs on what your kids are watching on the Internet? Should you limit the amount of time kids spend online?

    For McNamee, the goal is simple. “This is an opportunity for me to correct a wrong.”

    Facebook isn't shying away from the controversy. In its most recent earnings report, the company said it has made changes that reduced time spent on the social network by roughly 50 million hours each day (which works out to about 2.14 minutes per day, per user). Facebook's motivation, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to make sure the platform isn't just fun to use, but also good for society. Ultimately, he wants to make sure time spent on Facebook is time well spent.

    The effects of social media on society are easy to ignore, especially if you are an active participant in the daily grind, but it really does impact virtually every aspect of modern life.

    via GIPHY

    Just last night, for example, I hosted a small Super Bowl party (around a dozen people total). Something just felt off the whole night. The normally lively group was flat and conversation seemed dull. The room was silent at times. Then it hit me. Shortly after watching the halftime show (which spawned its own social media moment), I looked around and every person in the room had their face glued to their phone. And you know what? It kinda sucked.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2018
  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,603   +573

    Ha Ha Ha! Stop the lies already
  3. Potato Judge

    Potato Judge TS Booster Posts: 150   +69

    I'm pretty sure techspot addicts won't agree.
  4. It's real easy. Make it less exciting. Cycle everything back to the days of the Razor and StarTAC. With people not so thrilled with their devices, they'll begin to live as people did back when cell phones had less of an influence.

    But we all know they can't do that. Especially when trying to push virtual and augmented reality. It'll boil down to parents making it happen. I won't hold my breath.
  5. erickmendes

    erickmendes TS Evangelist Posts: 493   +218

    I got a million friends. Leave me with my phone.
    Capaill likes this.
  6. yeeeeman

    yeeeeman TS Addict Posts: 135   +106

    It's all about money. People that make these "social" addictive platforms are addicted by money on their own, so if they cannot help themselves, how can you believe that they would help others and say no to a new feature that might bring more "customers"?
    Most of the work done to fix problems that we created is focusing on damage control, not on actually fixing the root cause. And to fix the root cause here, would be to shut down social platforms, which on its own is impossible, to say the least.
    People should try and enforce them to stop using social media and social platforms. Try to find another occupation, walk, read, go hiking, meet with actual friends and leave your phone at home! Or just buy yourself an old phone which is only a PHONE. It takes courage and will and just like any other addiction (drugs, alcohol, money, power) it takes your entire effort on a daily basis and a complete change of life to do it.
  7. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Evangelist Posts: 530   +522

    I read a really interesting book recently called "The Shallows: How the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember". It looked at our neuroplasticity and how the design of the internet as a 'distraction machine' was eroding attention spans, comprehension, and discourse. Not the usual scare-mongering, but a good overview of the history of disruptive intellectual technologies culminating in the internet that we know today (or rather, knew back in 2010 when the book was written). Well worth a read for those interested in this topic.

    It is kind of scary and depressing just how the technologies we create end up affecting us to our very core. And I say this as someone who's a huge advocate of scientific and technological progress.
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,839   +193

    Stop and think? What was life without the internet? Now everyone has a lot of friends. Some far and some near. I've been on TS for a very long time prior to that was 1995 when I hit the internet prior to that was AOL in 1991 prior to that was Prodigy 1990 prior to that was BBS on dial-up. I've gone from 2400, 14400, 56K dial-up to DSL to Cable. Still what was life back then quiet. Look what it has become. TS wasn't around when I got on the internet it was basic internet I was a beta FTP tester for AOL back then. Kids and teenagers have it good today.. Their life centers around the internet and not around the old tube TV. Kids have smart phones everyone does no matter what your age is I mean except babies. But look around you next time see how much things have change. Social Media is the bomb, everyone is doing it! Just maybe one day we'll have peace on this planet do too Social media is the way to express and communicate more. I am for it as I can speak to you all around the planet this way.. I can even do a video on youtube to tell my story. Everyone can do the same.. Why stop that.. To me free speech is the best way to live!
  9. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Evangelist Posts: 530   +522

    I get the point you're making and I agree in part, but you have to admit that the free speech being exercised online is hardly the most constructive. Just look at any forum, comment thread or social post and it's all so ridiculously inflammatory. Everything is either the "BEST" or the "WORST" thing ever, then people who disagree pile on from the other side, and all of a sudden you've got a massive pile of people shouting at one another over nothing.

    If all discourse moves online, we're all shafted.
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,839   +193

    You have the right to voice your opinion on this but I not looking at the BEST or WORST it's the freedom to choose what you want to do with your life right now. Most fine it comforting to know there are other people like themselves looking for answers, help an etc. I use the internet as a source of enlightenment.

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