For many of us, checking our phone is the last thing we do before bed, first thing we do in the morning, during breakfast, on the toilet, in the car, during school, during work, hanging out with friends or family, walking the dog, waiting in line, feeling awkward or left out, procrastinating, and much much more. This is a space to learn more about digital technology, media and screens and how they affect us all. This podcast consists of interviews with professionals, teachers, teens, parents, and more, exploring how we can educate ourselves on the good, bad and pixilated.
If you like this podcast, please help to spread awareness by telling others. For regular updates on the latest research, good reads, my personal encounters with screens, silly comics and stories head on over to www.devicesdivide.org. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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Sara Negrin: A Screen-Loving High-Schooler's Perspective on the Digital Era
Sara Negrin is a high-school Senior from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sara is an active screen user but is conscious of the many different ways it affects us and our relationships. Sara and I met on an Outward Bound backpacking trip last summer and just happened to start talking one day on the trails about the topic of screen use and how we see phones affecting those around us.
Would you give up your phone for a month? Do you remember life before smartphones? What are some unspoken rules our peers have about social media? Is there a discrepancy between how much time per day you would like to spend on screens versus how much you actually end up on screens?
Sybil Kelly: Marketer, Mother, and Author of “Get the F**ck Off That Screen” Talks About Parenting with Screens
Sybil Kelly is a technology marketer and corporate communications professional, as well as a mother of a 13-year old son. Sybil’s daily struggle to moderate screen time for her son inspired her book “Get the F**k off That Screen,” and she is constantly looking for a balance between the benefits and detriments of the digital world.
What prompted Sybil to write “Get the F**k off That Screen”? What strategies have Sybil tried to mediate screens with her 13-year-old son and have they been effective? What advice would Sybil give to other parents who are dealing with screen-loving children?
Olivia June: Hey! VINA's Founder Uses Screens to Create Connections!
(Popular!) Max Stossel: On the Center for Humane Technology and Teen Screen-Time
Max Stossel is the Head of Education for the Center for Humane Technology, an organization of former tech insiders and CEOs dedicated to aligning technology with humanity’s best interests. Before joining the Center for Humane Technology, Max was a media strategist with an extensive background in social media, spending more time learning the ins and outs of the Facebook algorithm than any human should. He later worked for a social media company where he designed some of the same notification structures to distract us that he now criticizes.
What is the Center for Humane Technology? What is the Time Well Spent Campaign? How should we go about combating many big tech company's desire to hijack our attention? What are some steps high school students can take to away from screen addiction? Would you be willing to pay for social media if it was actively prioritizing your best interest instead of monetary profit?
Jerry Mander: An Author and Activist's Cautionary Take on our Obsession with Screens
Jerry Mander is an American activist and author, best known for his 1977 book, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. After receiving his M.S. from Columbia, Jerry worked in advertising for many years. He later worked with the noted environmentalist, David Brower, managing the Sierra Club's advertising campaigns, In 1971 he founded the first non-profit advertising agency in the United States, Public Interest Communications. Subsequently, in 1994, he founded the International Forum on Globalization and is currently the program director for MegaTechnology and Globalization at the Foundation for Deep Ecology.
Topics explored in this episode:
Does Jerry see parallels in the way that advertising strategists and tech companies attempt to capture consumers’ attention and sway ideas? Jerry owns a flip phone and rarely uses technology: how does he navigate in a world of computers and smartphones? What impression do whales have of us crazy humans?
Ethan Zuckerman: An MIT Associate Professor Using Media for Social Change
Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the role of technology in international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection.
Topics explored in this episode:
Did Ethan Zuckerman really invent the pop-up ad? (Yes, yes he did!) Does Facebook have more control over where we put our attention than we think? “How to fix facebook before it fixes us” - How Ethan predicted the Facebook crisis. How does Ethan’s experience bringing internet to West Africa affect his work at the MIT Media Lab? How does Ethan approach screen time with his own child?