My first Facebook post about Swipe Left For Addiction has already created a conversation between people across six different countries. Parents are telling me about how their kids are able to make friends all over the world when they’re playing multi-user games. There’s no doubt that technology is enabling and there’s something special about being able to connect, and stay connected, with people from all over the world.
At the same time, I’m hearing a lot about the “indoor generation” who are living their social lives from their bedrooms thanks to this “enabling” technology. I am also reading a lot about the rise of anxiety, depression and even suicide in the post-millennial generation. An article in The Guardian was published recently about how important face-to-face relationships are to our health and well-being. Are we creating a society of super-connected but isolated, lonely people? Another Guardian article written in April cites studies that have shown that people who are lonely are 50% more likely to die before their time.
I’m wondering what today’s 14 year old will be like when she is 34? Will she be living her life in a Ready Player One virtual world; will the concept of having a BBQ with friends or going for a drink at her local soon be a thing of the past? Or will there be a backlash and the sports fields and hiking trails be full of fit and healthy, friend-hugging hipsters who’ve left their smartphones at home?
I’d never really thought about how I was using technology until I started researching for Swipe Left For Addiction. I had just absorbed technology into my daily life, but I’ve realised now that I can make conscious decisions about how and when I use it.
I’m interviewing parents, care-givers and educators about their experiences with tech and their kids and teens. If you’ve got some insights you would be happy to share with me please get in touch.