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Screen time March 31, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Good Analysis from the BBC on Screens and Teens about the perils of excessive smartphone and tech use by teens. Some good thoughts, not least this quote from Douglas Adams:

“I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

And another point was made – that the focus on tech was in some ways possibly a distraction from much deeper and more profound dynamics and changes in society and economic life.

As someone seeing this process more or less at first hand, and for kids younger than teens (and here’s a thought, amongst the peer-group iPad and even phones are pervasive) it is astounding to see the centrality of YouTube and games (which have a social content). Even more so to realise what is being learned online. Limiting time is central.

And I’ve certainly seen the ‘echo-chamber’ effect where online matters amplify supposed needs or concerns. I think it comes back to constraint. But given how patchy that can be…

Interesting was an ex-Apple person who thinks ultimately the economics and corporate interests are what drive this.

But perhaps as a coda (or a starting point?) is what came out yesterday, an unvarnished insight into the world of Facebook… and other social media.

The public disclosure of the 2016 memo, in which a vice-president, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, wrote “anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good”, prompted the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to defend his company’s mission in a hastily released statement on Thursday.

The offending text?

Bosworth wrote: “Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.” The memo, which provides an insight into the philosophy among some at the Silicon Valley giant, continued: “It is literally just what we do. We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified.”

I’m almost entertained by how Bosworth walks it back, as best he can.

Bosworth said in his statement on Thursday: “I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it.” He argued that the intent of the memo was to “bring to the surface issues I felt deserved more discussion”, adding: “I care deeply about how our product affects people and I take very personally the responsibility I have to make that impact positive.”

But not really. Note the line about bullying – though the terrorism stuff seems to have got greater coverage. But personally I think the former is worse, firstly because it is so pervasive, secondly because of the almost Pontius Pilate like washing of hands in regard to responsibility. Bosworth doesn’t seem to care or have any interest in means of mitigating that. Hey, it’s just what happens – yeah?

Anyone with kids, anyone without, should think about their engagement with social media given this represents at least one attitude prevalent by those behind it.


1. dublinstreams - March 31, 2018

I didn’t think the terrorism line was the worst sentence, ithought this was “All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends” admitting to manipulating people to share more then they might otherwise.


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