How do we thrive with both the benefits and burdens of technology?
There are many metaphors used to explain the role technology plays in our lives. We often hear people compare tech to tobacco, or even harder substances like cocaine. These metaphors fail to account for any of the hope and social good that technology provides. They imply that we should simply abstain from tech, and that any use by young people is fundamentally detrimental.
We believe this is neither practical nor true.
What's a better metaphor?
Cars transformed how we travel, but it took time to realize that we needed speed limits, road tests, seatbelts, and additional protections for children, like car seats. People had to learn how to drive; families and formal driver’s ed programs play a role. What if we regard our society as still in the early days of figuring out how to use digital technology? It pushes us to consider what kinds of supports, safeguards, and skills are needed. Of course, there are some key differences between driving and using tech…
Social media, smartphones, video games, and artificial intelligence aren’t the first transformative technologies we’ve seen, but there’s something different – the pace of change, the 24/7 access, the unknown ramifications.
Education is essential. Youth deserve particular consideration. The tech industry needs oversight. And research must inform and guide decision making.