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” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.