*Originally published via LinkedIn on 23 March 2018*
I’ve been spending a lot of time recently developing and focussing my thoughts about our, and the next generation’s, interactions with tech. And I have been referencing the female perspective a lot, but it’s by no means limited to girls or women.
“A toxic culture that is asking too much of girls.”
A client of mine shared this article today which concludes “Adults should also stop telling girls they put too much pressure on themselves, and instead reassure daughters that it’s a toxic culture that is asking too much of girls.”
As women, don’t we all already relate to this? Imagine feeling the way we do now, but more intensely, and when we were 14, instead of 30. Parents, what’s really going on with our girls? Who is addressing this and if anyone is, how are they going about it? Are parents taking responsibility or do they hope school will intervene?
This afternoon my break from work was a walk along the beach with the dog. I’m lucky that I have a demanding little four-legged pal and live so close to the ocean. But on that walk I saw one couple taking shots of the woman posing unnaturally, groups of young people using ‘proper’ cameras to photograph each other, a girl wearing a sweatshirt with the slogan ‘No more page 3’, and another girl wearing a sweatshirt with the slogan ‘Clickbait’. That’s roughly a 75% rate of insanity right there. Every single young person was interacting with each other through a device, despite being physically with each other. If success is as simple as having a beautiful appearance and posing against a great backdrop, when are this generation problem-solving or innovating? And what happens when they lose those youthful looks? Are they happy? Research and reports suggest not.
Smart, controlled, balanced
I really want your input on how you feel about this subject. How do you attempt to manage your children’s interactions with tech, not by limiting it, but by ensuring it’s smart, controlled and balanced? Is any education system beginning to tackle this, or is it a box ticked by one annual online safety campaign? It’s time to start fuelling the right kinds of behaviour to make sure we’re all winning at tech. It’s not really about security. It’s about dispelling insecurities that come from not getting enough likes or enough follows. It’s about being present in real life, not telling a filtered story about how you feel pressured to be perceived. Hey, we are all doing this to some extent.
And I vow to take whatever responsibility I can to impact this movement. But I’m not going to screw up my back even more hunching over a laptop to do it. Time for an offline solution. Time to exhale.