Tag Archives: kids and technology

The Rise of Tech Activism and How You Can Take Part

“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.

“Facebook builds in operant conditioning and wants you to use it ten hours a day,” declared Dr. Dimitri Christakis, Director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Also speaking at the research summit, the policy expert, Georgetown University’s Kathryn Montgomery, took it a step further: “Woven into the business model is not just engagement, but engagement for the purposes of advertising and data collection. They need to put a limit on the information that can be collected and the way information can be used to target individuals.”

Even Tony Fadell, who created the iPod and oversaw rollout of the iPhone, called out personal technology Continue reading

Fighting Tech with Tech: Online Tool Helps Families Reclaim Time

Kids enjoy sunny day lying on dock

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 human design 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.

To design your life so you and your family live in balance and harmony with technology (and everything else), read How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design.

Learn more about this author on Google+

When the Maasai Picked Up the Phone

I’ve written before about Wisdom 2.0, the conference that bills itself as “addressing the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.”

This year while I was there, I was lucky to get to know innovative yoga instructor and author, Elise Marie Collins. Over the days, we talked about what would have happened if we’d known ahead of time the consequences that spending so much time with personal digital technology would have on our minds and bodies. Continue reading

Cubicle Dwellers: This Design’s For You

Since word got out a few years ago that sitting too much isn’t healthy, products have become available that help people on the job, but some seem more fitting for a CEO. It took one of the many who work in cubicles to come up with a solution that works for them. This is her story.

Day Martin used to be a data analyst, a “knowledge worker,” as she likes to call people who make money using their minds, almost always while they’re sitting down. “They sit there all day, every day,” as she says. “They have to. It’s their job.”

That’s what she was doing at her job in suburban Washington, D.C. until one day, she had a car accident. When she recovered, she noticed something about her back: “I just had pain when I went to work.”

When she checked online, the Internet suggested she try a standing desk. But there was a problem: nothing on the market allowed her to stand comfortably inside her cubicle. “I thought it was obvious, but it wasn’t available.”

So Day decided to make one herself. At first, she hacked together some cardboard. That helped, but didn’t fit the office aesthetic. “People said stuff like, ‘How long are those boxes going to be sitting on your desk for?’”

Then, with assistance from her father-in-law the home builder, she made some sturdier prototypes. “My colleagues loved them. I was shocked at how many people have their back pain stories – I had no idea.”

To build her final design, she sourced parts from within the U.S. “What I love about American manufacturing is that it’s so much easier. I could get things in the mail in a couple of days.” In practically no time, the Stand Steady desk was born, as Day proudly reports Continue reading