Potential 'Dark Sides' of Leisure Technology Use in Youth
Economic and business dimensions: Potential 'Dark Sides' of Leisure Technology Use in Youth – Time for balanced reflections on technology
Communications of the ACM, March 2019, Vol. 62 No. 3, Pages 24-27
By Ofir Turel
Computing technology has produced many societal benefits. Nevertheless, it often serves as a double-edged sword and promotes negative consequences, such as distraction, addiction, time waste, and reduced well-being. This is perhaps not surprising given that "When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck ... Every technology carries its own negativity, which is invented at the same time as technical progress."* Indeed, many computing technologies follow this pattern, exhibiting a duality of "bright" and "dark" effects on people, firms, and societies. The problem is that the understanding of downsides of technology sometimes lags our understanding of upsides. We, especially technology enthusiasts, are often enchanted by the abundant positive things new technologies can do, and this dilutes our ability to develop reliable judgments regarding the harms new technologies can cause.
Here, I seek to shed light on technology use trends in youth and examine their parallels with a range of adverse outcomes in the school, social, well-being, and health domains.
Time for Balanced Reflections on Technology
For many years we have emphasized the positive aspects of computing technologies because we believed in their contribution to humanity. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of evidence in support of a technology duality view. That is to say, we have started realizing and quantifying the notion that many of the technologies we develop can also be harmful, especially when used excessively.
*Note: Politics of the Very Worst, An Interview with Philippe Petit – MIT Press from Semiotext(e)