Nachter has succeeded in making healthy humour across social network platforms. He was motivated to do his bit to help make the places where young people spend so much time offer content that made them laugh and hopefully feel better about themselves rather than worse. It would be good if his approach of using social networks for good, rather than feeling used by them, was more widespread. If young people could come to this digital world equipped with the necessary maturity to avoid the problems they often experience. If the developers, the big tech companies, took on board that the famous attention economy need not lead to or feed on aggressive or hostile responses.
This week we highlighted the report’s testimony of Ana Oyonarte, a teacher and mother in the United States. She is alarmed by the great influence that such platforms have on the personality of young people. Concerned that their self-esteem depends on “likes”. Can you imagine what your character would be like, how you would deal with situations, how you would behave at work if your personality had been shaped by your digital popularity? This, Oyonate argues, is a reality for many youngsters.
Marc Masip is a psychologist and expert into on how to make good use of new technologies without damaging our personal relationships and without creating dependencies or addictions. He is clear and categorical on this issue and says that from 0 to 6 years old, children should not have unguided use of screens either at school or at home. His experience of tech-addiction is that early unprotected exposure can lead to serious long term problems. Unhealthy screen use is clearly part of wider social and environmental early life experiences, but his insights are cautionary for parents of young children.
It is good to join with Natcher in being optimistic about the opportunities out there, but we must be aware the supersonic speed at which the digital world evolves still needs the human navigational aids of reflection, compassion and self-control.