📑 Good Intentions, Bad Inventions: The Four Myths of Healthy Tech

Bookmarked Good Intentions, Bad Inventions: The Four Myths of Healthy Tech (datasociety.net)

Letting go of the myths that have structured debates about digital well-being will allow users, parents, companies, and policy makers to develop a more robust and nuanced understanding of the real potentials, and actual pitfalls, of technology use by the variety of people who use it. Social media companies cannot assume that all people on their platforms have similar experiences, nor can they assume that all people will react in the same ways to changes they make. They must instead work to unearth what these different experiences are, determine if they are harmful, and eliminate inequities. Yet tech companies cannot work in a vacuum. Tech insiders should not be left to define the problems with social media, and to propose the solutions. They should integrate the work of diverse social science scholars into their processes. They need to meaningfully engage with outside groups to help them, they need to be led by the evidence, and they need to truly listen to all of their users.

Amanda Lenhart and Kellie Owens demystify four myths about technology. That it is addictive (“The concept of addiction does not encompass the full range of pleasures, risks, and uses that people create with technology“), that poor technology can be fixed with better design (“Some technology cannot be fixed by more design, and some technology should not be built at all“), that metrics help in highlighting the problems (“Many of the most important parts of digital well-being cannot be captured by quantitative metrics“) and that screentime matters most (“Health and well-being cannot be reduced to the single variable of screen time.”)

This is a useful provocation in regards to providing more nuance to the discussion around technology. Cory Doctorow also provides a useful write-up.

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