Former employees from Facebook and Google have formed a coalition of technologists with the goal of pushing for a campaign meant to combat tech addiction among various demographics of Internet users. The alliance called the Center for Humane Technology seeks to spread awareness of its campaign called The Truth About Tech among students, parents, and teachers from a large swath of public schools across the United States. The coalition will carry out the initiative in partnership with the Common Sense Media, a nonprofit media watchdog organization which will donate $7 million to fund the campaign.
The goal of the campaign is to tell the intended audience about the harmful effects of social media and the internet as a whole on the overall well-being of a person. Also, a study conducted by Jean M. Twenge, a San Diego State University professor with a major in psychology, recently revealed that excessive screen time is causing a lower level of happiness among teenagers who spend more time on digital activities such as chatting, gaming, social networking, and texting than among young users who invest more of their time in physical interactions, sports, and reading print materials. On top of the ad campaign, both groups also plan to advance a lobbying effort intended to fight tech addiction. It is perhaps worth noting that Common Sense Media is backed by Comcast and DIRECTV, among other partners, with $50 million in donated media and airtime.
As part of efforts to reform the tech landscape, the coalition intends to launch a website called Ledger of Harms, whose objective is to educate tech professionals about the pros and cons of the products big tech firms ask them to create. The website will feature content that will tackle the impact of a wide variety of technologies on an individual’s health as well as a guide on how to build healthy tech solutions. On the regulatory front, the Center for Humane Technology and Common Sense Media will initially support two bills, including the one authored by Senator Edward J. Markey which seeks to fund research on the effects of technology on children’s health, as well as another legislation introduced by Senator Bob Hertzberg with the goal of making unidentified digital bots unlawful.