Just as the food we consume affects our physical wellbeing, the way we consume digital media can also profoundly shape how we feel. And the same kind of introspection and reflection is the first step when contemplating our digital diets. How often do you feel like you have accomplished something after using your device? How often do you feel like you have wasted time? And if you take a step back, are there aspects of your life which do not get the attention they deserve?
Anxiety over technology is as old as technology itself. In ancient Greece, Plato lamented the advent of writing, suggesting that it would make people’s memories feeble through lack of use. When the first steam trains vastly increased the speed of travel, some worried that the high velocity would cause a woman’s uterus to explode. Today, we worry that technology will change our lives, that it will ruin our relationships, or that it will take our jobs. And, to some extent, our worries are justified. Technology can and will transform our societies in a way that might be unrecognizable to past generations. This can be disorienting, even frightening. However, to live in fear of technology is to live in fear of human potential and creativity.
We must remain critical and responsible when considering technology, without sliding into reactionary alarmism. In other words, technological development has always presented new possibilities for growth and power (or abuse of power), and it is our responsibility to decide how these technologies are used, and what kind of future we want to create with them.
Our new booklet on digital wellbeing is meant to be an aid in navigating the complex relationship we have with digital technologies. Read and download the full brochure here.