Common Sense, Center for Humane Technology call for tech addiction awareness in schools
- Amid the rising use of technology in classrooms, nonprofits Common Sense Media and the Center for Humane Technology are teaming up to call for more regulation and information on the impact of tech addiction, and a number of doctors, researchers, technologists and policymakers echoed those concerns during an event this week in Washington, DC, EdSurge reports.
- Former Google ethicist and Center for Humane Technology founder Tristan Harris says that students are particularly at risk now because big technology companies like Google and Apple design their products in such a way that they "play chess against your mind to extract the attention out of you," and they have little choice of opting in or out when the use of a platform is required for their education.
- Harris also says he is worried about the educational use of platforms like Google Classroom or Facebook because the goals in their design may be divergent from educators' goals. Facebook's "false sense of urgency, all of those dynamics inside this one environment, make it unhealthy and incompatible with concentration and focus on your goals," he says.
Ultimately, Harris describes the educational use of tech platforms students are using outside of class as "racing to the bottom," comparing it to the sell of fast food or junk food prior to high-quality competitors. As EdSurge notes, Common Sense is also now addressing these concerns in its Digital Citizenship curriculum by focusing on healthy media balances, media literacy and content curation, and stemming hate speech — the latter tying to concerns that too much screen time and the anonymity of the web can impact students' sense of empathy and compassion for others.
As many educators have also noted over the years, the key to successful tech use in classrooms isn't through oversaturating schools and lesson plans with it, but in approaching it as merely a tool to use on the path to a solution. Pedagogy must still take priority, and educators must ensure students know how to solve problems with or without a device in hand. The future created otherwise, as envisioned by Harris and other critics, is fairly frightening.
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