“Ban Russian Bots.” The words shone brightly projected across Twitter headquarters. Not long after, a listener of NPR’s 1a wrote: “Wish there was a national movement, like a Quit Facebook day. If they lost a million plus U.S. users in 1 day, it would give reformers inside the company the momentum they need.” Then came the medical community. At a research summit on how technology affects kids, a health policy expert issued a call to action: “Urge companies to first Do No Harm.”
It’s happening. People are finally realizing technology doesn’t always operate in our best interests and they’re doing something about it.
Now that he has kids of his own, Tony Fadell is thinking about the unintended consequences of the tools he helped create. “We allow this stuff in our lives in a way that may not be working for us,” Fadell told co-host Anderson Cooper and the crowd at Mindfulness in America, the first Wisdom 2.0 tech-in-perspective summit held in New York.
Bear in mind that Fadell is not your average everyday person, but a true living legend who dreamed up some of the world’s most-used consumer products, including the iPod, Nest thermostat, and world-changing, beloved, attention-grubbing iPhone. But there he was, saying, “We need to pull control back to ourselves.”
If digital gadgets and games are being designed to attract and hold kids’ attention, American pediatricians are pushing back with their own design.
“The goal is to give parents, and everybody really, a visual of how a child’s day maps out and we can really understand what affects the balance in their lives and what you need to do to have a balanced lifestyle,” says Corinn Cross, MD, FAPP, who came up with the idea for the Media Time Calculator, a major piece of the American Academy of Pediatrics new Family Media Plan.
Parents and kids can sit down together and use the calculator to ensure a 24-hour day includes not only screen time, but everything else a child needs to be healthy, balanced, and durable.
Cross hopes the tool will help families make time decisions based on their own needs and priorities. “We don’t want media use to be the driving force, but just to fill in gaps.”
In the Media Time Calculator, the recommended times for sleep and physical activity are set by default according to a child’s age. You can see in this 3-minute demo how time available for screen-based entertainment quickly disappears:
I define durable humandesign as “the making and doing of things that promote and advance one’s ability to be an effective, contributing human in a complex and increasingly digital world,” so the Media Time Calculator certainly qualifies.
Get a free 1-page printable Time Priorities checklist to help you help your family spend time wisely.
The big “D” in TED stands for Design, alongside Technology and Entertainment. These designs—from TEDxMidAtlantic—foster curiosity, collaboration, and fact-based knowledge. They help people to be more durable in a complex and increasingly digital world.