A conversation with the founder of BeHumane on how we can help our children thrive in a technology driven world.
I didn’t have a cell phone until I was in junior high and sent my first text message in 11th grade. Growing up there were no reality escape machines in my pocket, ipads at the dinner table, or ways to avoid calling my high school girlfriend’s house without talking to her parents!
I am grateful for these more analog experiences because it shaped many parts of who I am in ways that I perceive to be positive.
Now that I’m going to be a parent soon, I can’t help but wonder about how all this technology is going to impact my kiddo?
And what can I do about it to help them be happy, heathy, and prosperous?
Her research painted somewhat of a dire picture that made it clear that we as a society need to do something about this:
- Adolescents using devices 5 or more hours a day (vs. 1 hour) were 66% more likely to have at least one suicide-related outcome1
- Results of a 2016 Common Sense Media Report found that 50% of teens “feel addicted” to mobile devices, while 59% of parents surveyed believe that kids are addicted to their devices2
- Seven-in-ten U.S. teens said anxiety and depression is a major problem among people their age in the community where they live3
- Technology can negatively affect children’s developing social skills, relationships, health, and overall ability to focus, developing their social skills. This can lead to more children being socially awkward, withdrawn, shy, or intimidated by social situations.4
Going deep into this area of study there were many more subtle “aha” moments that helped her form her vision for BeHumane which aims to teach kids how to use technology effectively.
She realized that there is no “onboarding” for how to use technology in a healthy way for kids. We don’t really take much responsibility as parents or a society to teach best practices for engaging with all these devices.
What can often happens is all this technology provides an escape hatch for kids (and adults) to bypass their emotions. They learn the habits of distracting themselves vs. sitting with and acknowledging their emotions which we all know can end up becoming quite problematic.
What I also found fascinating was that kids can’t dictate the difference between reality and fantasy at a certain point. So when they see a human with a bear head filter on the phone, they think it’s a bear! All these facets have big implications which we get into during our conversation.
In addition to this massive problem and her company, Sarah and I also discuss the nuances of being a founder that is passionate about their consciousness evolution. It often can be somewhat of a taboo topic in the workplace and what is the best way to integrate it more deeply into building your company?