UNTANGLING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TECH
The book is a collection of the personal stories of 24 individuals I have met, or worked with, over the past several years and helped with their relationship with technology. It’s divided into three main sections:
- Loving – stories about what our tech habits are doing to our relationships.
- Living – stories about how our tech habits affect our daily lives.
- Learning – stories about what our tech habits are doing to our work, and our brains.
At the end of the ‘My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open’ there are my five HACCK principles for how to be a good digital citizen.
The individual stories are all true, though I’ve disguised the identities of those concerned to protect them. They were people who all made a deep impact on me as they shared their struggles with tech. From the nine year old girl who interrupted a talk I was giving her class on cybersafety to tell me that her mother wouldn’t put her phone down around her, and that it made her feel invisible; to the Uber driver who poured out his anguish about his gifted son who had dropped out of university because to his gaming addiction, and now spent all day in his bedroom; to the couple who each told me separately they were bothered by the other ignoring them on their phone. These are all people struggling with how bad tech habits were impacting their lives, and their relationships.
In the book I use the stories as a jumping-off point to discuss the wider problems these struggles illustrate and I draw on a huge body of research to suggest some really practical ways we can all fix them.
ON FAKE NEWS
The problems of so-called ‘fake news’ – disinformation and misinformation – has been particularly highlighted over the course of the pandemic, as our digital and social channels have been flooded with it. It’s one of the subjects I get asked most about in my work in workplaces and schools. There are some very specific tips in the book about how to spot it, and avoid it.
The toxic trolling culture on social media is another hot topic whenever I give a public, workplace or school talk. Audiences of all ages are very much aware of the pitfalls of being on social media, particularly for women, and many of them have started to develop some practical solutions to help them deal with it. In the book, I share the story of a young woman who had been targeted by trolls, and how I helped her.
The pandemic left many of us spending hours on our screens falling deeper and deeper into digital black holes as we chased bad news story after bad news story across the internet. So-called doomscrolling has been a big problem over the last eighteen months, I unpick just why it has us in its powerful claws, and how we can escape.
I hope whoever you are, and wherever you are in the world, there will be something for you in the book. We are all, in our very different and personal ways, struggling with something about our relationship with technology and the digital world and, if you’ve ever felt your brain has too many tabs open, this is the book for you. You can find it on Amazon and at all good bookshops worldwide.