Published: Tue, February 06, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Center for Humane Technology launches campaign against addiction

Center for Humane Technology launches campaign against addiction

The Center of Humane Technology aims at diverting people away from tech that polarizes our attention and erodes our minds by steering society towards using safe technology that protects the minds.

The tech industry stalwarts have teamed up with the nonprofit media watchdog group Common Sense Media on an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort called The Truth About Tech. The Truth About Tech campaign will be funded by $7 million from Common Sense and money raised by the new non-profit; it will also use donated airtime from Comcast and DirecTV.

US-based organization Common Sense Media has joined forces with the Center for Humane Technology to launch Truth About Tech, a new campaign created to combat digital and social media addictions among kids.

The stepped-up action and awareness campaign comes amid the mea culpas and changes that tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are issuing and enacting.

Roger McNamee, an early Facebook investor, got with the Center for Humane technology after coming face to face with the reality about the side-effects. Jim Steyer, chief executive and founder of Common Sense, said the Truth About Tech campaign was modeled on antismoking drives and focused on children due to their vulnerability. That means some users spend more time on social media than they do eating, drinking, grooming, socializing and doing laundry.

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"Facebook appeals to your lizard brain - primarily fear and anger", McNamee told the New York Times, explaining his involvement with the campaign. Half of teens feel addicted to their mobile devices, and the majority of parents (60 percent) feel their kids are addicted, according to a 2016 Common Sense report on technology addiction.

Technology platforms Facebook Centre for Humane technology Google New York Times Apple The Truth About Tech campaign democracy Ledger of Harms mental health
Center for Humane Technology launches campaign against addiction

Young people's addiction to technology is a major talking point among parents, educators and other informed individuals.

In an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the experts said that "younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts".

CHT includes technology veterans associated with Google, Facebook, Mozilla and elsewhere, as well as some current leaders from Silicon Valley companies.

"We were on the inside", says Tristan Harris, an early worker at Google and the leader of The Center. A recent study of eighth-graders by Jean Twenge, author of iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy - and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood - and What That Means for the Rest of Us, found that heavy users are 56% more likely to say they are unhappy, 27% more likely to be depressed and 35% more likely to have a risk factor for suicide.

The cohort is creating a union of concerned experts called the Center for Humane Technology, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

Other coalition members form a who's who of people with insider knowledge, including: Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager; Lynn Fox, a former Apple and Google communications executive; and Justin Rosenstein, who created Facebook's Like button.

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