Digital well being curation

This post is done in collaboration with Amena Ebeid to curate the theme of digital well being. We have compiled a variety of 10 sources used in class, found online, and provided by our classmates in the course assignments. Below, we explain what these sources are, what we liked about them and how they helped us become more aware about the issue of digital well-being. Enjoy.

Nosedive

“Nosedive” is the first episode of the third series of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. The episode basically portrays a world where people can give ratings to each other, from one to five stars, for every interaction they have, or witness others have. The ratings affect their socioeconomic status and their privileges in the economy. The role actress is a young woman who is obsessed with her ratings, while she suffocates to elevate her ratings and ends up deteriorating her rating to minimum. An example from the episode: the actress doesn’t care whether the coffee cup tastes good, or whether she will even drink it, she only cares about how the cup looks like, only so she can take a picture of it, post it on social media, whereas she is more likely to earn likes, that consequently improves her ratings.

What I like most about this episode is that it is actually realistic. Nowadays, most of us are more concerned with the validation from other people on social media, rather than their own happiness and personal preferences.

I believe an episode like that (while it pictures how miserable the actress ends up being) can actually raise awareness to the negative consequences of social media, and how negatively it can affect our wellbeing.

 

 

LSE Thinks | Sonia Livingstone – Parenting for A Digital Future:

This is a video featuring professor Sonia Livingstone while she discusses an interesting report that tackles the positive sides of digital media in family life and the points where parents need more support.

I like most about this report that it actually provokes an unfamiliar opinion about digital media, that it can actually have benefits, specially within families. The report states that four in ten learned something together with their children on the internet. Three in ten parents use digital media to stay in touch with their friends and family, while involving their children in that. Other parents say they look for educational sources for their children to learn online. And, dads play games with their children online. These are all examples of how digital media connects families. However, there are still concerns that shall be taken into consideration. One of them is understanding how to benefit from digital media, while acknowledging that there are still costs to pay, so knowing how to weigh costs and benefits is important. Thirdly, knowing when to turn for advice. Like when to ask and who to ask, on digital media platforms. Another interesting concern that is being mentioned is that parents worry a lot about how much time their children are spending on digital media, instead of worrying about what they are doing on digital media. This is basically as said by Sonia: “In the findings of the survey it was striking that parents are much more worried about screen time than they are actually about what their children are doing on the internet”. It is quite familiar and relatable to me personally. My mom always worries that we spend a lot of time on screen than she worries about what are we actually doing. However, she still worries to an extent about what we could be spending our time doing also.

I believe everything has a good and a bad side. It is just important to be completely aware of both sides, while trying to benefit the best out of everything.

The report that Sonia introduced is quite interesting, and helped me learn a new perspective on how digital media have a role in connecting families.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdRcZIcRi9I&fbclid=IwAR0_pyOOeGsRPL58R9IOk02Hd-oVi2DUGqvSDkPEL8J_VvOACkteqp3KDu0

 

One-Week, No Tech, #1WkNoTech:

This is basically a challenge that basically revolves around the idea of going for a week without technology. A different form of detox. A detox from technology. People started taking the initiative and actually taking part in such challenge, while tweeting about it using the hashtag #1wknotech. However, it is still very funny how people use technology to tweet about not using technology. It is very funny. It is like posting about not posting. Check the link it has screenshots of the tweets the people tweeted over the challenge.

In spite of the fact that it was funny, I believe it is still worth taking a moment of questioning how addicted and longing we are to digital media that we even use it to fight it. This is how far digital media has invaded our lives.

I also kind of relate to that challenge, because my cell phone broke last week. Here I am spending more than a week without using any social media platforms, yet I am using my laptop now to blog about my insight on the #1wknotech challenge.

I guess no matter how many times we try to run from it, we will find ourselves going back to it.

http://meanwhilenetprov.com/index.php/project/one-week-no-tech/?fbclid=IwAR04g6x0YpOYJpsCHmi6f0gsfSKuwrhWv_363Xu8SDS351W-vcaQuyla2VY

 

The IRL Fetish:

The article is written by Nathan Jurgenson on June 2012. Published by The New Inquiry. The writer mainly discusses in the article how addicted we have become to digital media, while becoming completely inappreciative to the people, and things, going around us. He says: “Given the addictive appeal of the info stream, the masses have traded real connection for the virtual. They have traded human friends for Facebook friends. Instead of being present at the dinner table, they are lost in their phones”.

This is by far one of the best articles I’ve read on such topic. It basically tackles what I long to deliver to the people I know. The whole dilemma of being online and offline. And, how approachable and accessible we have always obliged to become. Like it is not likely to feel ok to just go offline, and it is also very draining to always be online.

The writer ends the article by saying: “Solving this digital dualism also solves the contradiction: We may never fully log off, but this in no way implies the loss of the face-to-face, the slow, the analog, the deep introspection, the long walks, or the subtle appreciation of life sans screen. We enjoy all of this more than ever before. Let’s not pretend we are in some special, elite group with access to the pure offline, turning the real into a fetish and regarding everyone else as a little less real and a little less human”.

I believe the way this article is articulated is very interesting. Even its title is very catchy! I also believe we have to become more aware of the many things that we take for granted, and disregard, while being hung up on our phones like we usually are. More like zombies in a human’s land.

https://thenewinquiry.com/the-irl-fetish/?fbclid=IwAR1y09BT8zV9svXUjkRabiJIW-SPKMLbZlo7sCkBTvYvzZURYRHhVPKuK8k

 

How to Shed Distracted Parenting Guilt and Transform into a Digital Hero:

The article written by Mimi Ito on the 20th of August 2018. The article basically targets parents in particular, while debating over the ways parents are blamed over their usage of digital media, and asked to set an example for their kids. It is challenged by saying that experts agree that parents need to set a good example for their children, but the overly thrown guilt at parents can still not be helpful. The writer starts by mentioning: “According to Common Sense Media, parents of teens and tweens engage with media at about the same rates as their kids, an average of 9 hours a day. The same survey also indicates that 78% of us think we are good media role models. Most parents seem pretty comfortable being just as engaged with devices as teenagers”. And follows up by tackling three major points Empathy Over Hypocrisy, Routines Over Rules, and Joy Over Guilt. Basically they’re headlines to suggested ways parents can try while managing their, and their kid’s, screen time and usage of digital media.

I like this article because it kind of portrays that yes there is a problem. That yes parents shouldn’t be using digital media on dinner tables. Yet, it still suggests ways that families could adopt in order to counterbalance the situation.

Setting a role model is something tricky and could be difficult to do, but managing it together with their kids could be more efficient to try.

https://blog.connectedcamps.com/how-to-shed-distracted-parenting-guilt-and-transform-into-a-digital-hero/?fbclid=IwAR3RwnCWOfwMzLxuD-_XfJjNWmYLDtR_ZIVgQXfssMIV8Omndynx5tzwZ7A

 

Screen time for kids: Getting the balance right

This article displays an infographic that analyses the online engagement of children and how the different activities that they take part affect their learning. The infographic mainly provides guidelines to raise the awareness of the parents about what might be beneficial vs harmful for their kids. In addition, it provides a scale where parents could identify the kind of usage for their children; is it normal, below normal or worrisome. The interesting part about this source is that it discusses danger of online use mainly in terms of the content being used not the hours of usage like many other sources. This is a smart approach to look at the problem because over restriction to technology exposure can limit the children’s knowledge about many useful digital tools and valuable information.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/parenting4digitalfuture/2017/08/02/screen-time-for-kids/?fbclid=IwAR2Swb4MlddZYgSQM7HPnYNdnSBtKqJNk8pCSkeaR54lQwUELJmjhJfC2n

 

A generation of idiots, smartphones & dumb people

This is one of the very interesting and eye opening videos to watch. Through rhyming sentences synced with a short film, the maker of this video makes a comparison between the virtual lives we live on our phones, how lonely they  are , how they make us isolated and unproductive, and the real life that we used to live before we became so addicted to smart phones. The essence of this video is that it points out the unhealthy patterns in our everyday life that we can unintentionally follow. It is very emotionally appealing and relatable to almost all technology users and encourages its watchers to make actual change in their lifestyle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oolLtPIOr8

 

 

How to Make Gaming Time Family Time

This source contributes to the learning about digital well-being because it suggests a prevention or a solution to one of the shapes the problem can take instead of just illustrating or exploring it like most sources. The article suggests that parents’ presence while their children are playing video games would help them filter out the negative messages that these games would convey. Similarly, parents could stay with their kids while watching TV to filter out the negative media messages. In addition, this will contribute a lot to the bonding between the parents and their children so it is a win-win situation.

https://blog.connectedcamps.com/how-to-make-gaming-time-family-time

 

BILL GATES AND STEVE JOBS RAISED THEIR KIDS TECH-FREE — AND IT SHOULD’VE BEEN A RED FLAG

This source is obtained from a contribution done by one of our classmates to equity unbound. Having included all these sources with such a wide variety of opinions and controversies regarding the effects of technology on our well-being, we could not miss adding this article to our curation.  We found it insightful as it illustrates the attitude of two of the biggest technology makers in the world towards their own products. Both Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple) are quoted for saying that they used to limit their children’s use of technology at home. As the article title says, this should be a red flag because when these people who are assumed to have maximum knowledge about technology take such an action, it says something about the effects of overusing it.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/bill-gates-and-steve-jobs-raised-their-kids-techfree-and-it-shouldve-been-a-red-flag-a8017136.html

 

How Is Your Phone Changing You?

This video has been used previously as a contribution to equity unbound. It provides some facts and raises awareness about both physical and psychological harms of overusing smart phones. We found including this video in the curation essential because it provides a quick, fun yet informative summary about the topic of digital well-being and it would help its watchers gain some insight about the harms that they could be subjected to through smart phones addiction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6CBb3yX9Zs

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Final Reflection

In this post, I am going to briefly reflect on my journey in the digital literacy course through mentioning the 3 most important things I have learned, what helped me learn them and  my suggestions for improving the course.

To begin with I believe that one of the most informative parts of the course was the empathy and bias theme. I have learned a lot about feeling for other people and putting myself in their shoes, and understanding why they reach certain conclusions. What contributed the most to the learning process was the choose your own path games that we played in class and different assignments. I found this beneficial because the games were realistic, challenging and fun.

Another important part in the course in my opinion was learning about privacy on the internet. The essence of that part is that it discussed a very relevant matter in my everyday life which is how our patterns and usage of social media and different sites is analyzed and used against us. The videos that were used were very informative and helped me develop awareness in order to take care of the information I choose to put online, and what I look up on the internet.

The third most important thing on my list is getting familiar with blog posting. I am usually more of an observer on social media sites and I do not share a lot of posts, but having to do blog posts and tweets for different activities, having people commenting on them and sharing their ideas with me made it easier for me to post on other platforms like facebook and instagram and discuss different topics online.

Last but not least, I believe that the course could be improved through lowering the frequency of the assignments while making each of them weigh more. In addition, I believe that Soliya be either optional or done during the class time. In order to complete the soliya program I had to fit 8 extra hours over and above the course hours into my schedule, which is equivalent to 7 extra classes, and with the workload of the other classes and the presence of other commitments it can be really difficult to find the time and energy to attend all the sessions and be active.

Soliya Reflection

In this post, I am going to reflect on my one-month experience as a participant in the Soliya program. This shall be done through 1-illustrating the way in which I believe soliya is different from the other communication platforms that I am enrolled in; 2- Showing what I have learned about myself in digital communication; 3- Suggesting what I think would improve face to face and online communication modes.

 

To begin with, I believe that Soliya can be distinguished from other online platforms I use in many ways. For instance, in other platforms such as facebook or twitter, the user chooses whom to add, follow, and receive feed and messages from. Soliya on the other hand assigns users randomly with people from different places around the globe with different perspectives. In addition, Soliya provides higher security standards to its users than other platforms. The presence of a facilitator regulates the conversation and ensures that everything is in the right order, prevents cyberbullying and encourages participants to share their beliefs honestly. Also in Soliya, the participants cannot easily reach each other without approval. I remember in the last session when the facilitator asked us if we are comfortable to share our emails with each other. Hence, it is safe to say that discussions over soliya are safer than social media platforms.

 

Another point to be discussed is what I have learned about myself during the experience. Participating in Soliya have pointed out my ability to listen and emphasize with people that have different perspectives and ideas .I found myself able to understand people’s different backgrounds and the reason behind their opinion in certain topics, even when I had totally opposite opinions. Moreover, encountering such a wide spectrum of opinions gave me extra insight about different topics, which helped me contribute more to the discussions. I was glad to find many of the participants convinced and appreciative of my opinion about some topics, especially the ones I had to represent the image of Egypt or the Middle East in general.

 

Finally, I would like to share my suggestions to foster face-to-face and online communication modes. I believe that there are common values that should be encouraged in all channels of communication no matter what they are. These values include giving full attention, listening carefully to what the different sides have to share, and then responding with ultimate respect.

Other values to be encouraged are diversity and honesty. Only when different sides are able to share their minds openly regardless of their differences will a conversation be rich and deep enough to reach a resolution.

For improving online communication modes, I believe that soliya is applying a good strategy when it comes to asking for approval in order to share personal information. However, I find obligating users to have their cameras on unnecessary.

Do not Track

For this activity I have watched

1-Like Mining: This video explains how can your likes and activities on Facebook and other social media platforms could be used by several parties to make money. What I found informative about this video is that a user’s data could not be just revealed to these companies, but also very deeply analyzed to interpret behavior, even better than humans would do it (as claimed by the video). An interesting part in this video was when a financial company CEO stated that he can use social media activities to assess the reliability of customers in returning loans. This leaves me with a question: Does that suggest the possibility of having people manipulating their accounts (or even creating fake ones) in a manner that would guarantee their loans?!

https://episode3.donottrack-doc.com/en/

2-The Spy in my pocket: This video shows how cell phones are used in making target ads through location tracking. The speaker shows that she has 50 applications on her phone, 37 of which requires her location in order to function.  These applications would collect the users’ data, track their movement and send targeted ads based on where they are, places that they go to frequently, and places they have been to before. The weird fact that I learned from this video is that even flashlights has access to where users are through UDID, which is an identity number specific to each phone in the world. Data related to the UDID would be then collected and sent to tons of advertising companies who would use them to bombard the users’ feed with products.

https://donottrack-doc.com/en/episode/4