Our attention has been hijacked by the tsunami of devices, games and social media which now dominate our lives. This new technology brings efficiency, cost-savings and instantaneous information. But when our attention is the currency being traded by big tech firms, what price are we willing to pay for convenience? Addiction, anxiety, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem, empathy development, troubled relationships, fake news, propaganda and even threats to democracy are just some of challenges new technology presents. Antitrust law has failed to prevent the emergence of a few dominant big tech platforms and regulation has not kept pace with surveillance capitalism. The internet was created on the assumption that all users are equal, but children and the vulnerable are not. In Born Digital, Robert Wigley distils the mountains of available research on the subject and brings to bear his wealth of institutional experience to present a roadmap for society to radically and urgently reset its relationship with technology - for the sake of future generations.
Few are better qualified to examine this issue than Robert Wigley - I would far surpass my usual blog length if I dedicated time to discussing his CV, but it is safe to say that the author has worked in an array of high level business/finance roles, sat on many boards, and served as a trusteee for the brilliant charity Whizz-Kidz - so this is a man with considerable experience and education, who is taking on a whopper of a subject - how the accessibility of digital media has affected Generation Z, and how society and individuals need to look to protect future generations when it comes to the harmful potential affects of all encompassing digital media.
Don't take this to be some Luddite polemic though - and in the book there is no doubt that there are many positives with digital media being everywhere and easily accessible, no more noticable then during this current pandemic that has had most of us only seeing our families on devices, and many children attending school through a laptop. But the harmful affects cannot be denied, and must be investigated further. From the terrors of online bullying through to the lack of blocks on adult material, through to the sharing of misinformation and outright lies on social media. Through a combination of fascinating and deeply concerning statistics, combined with his vast experience, Robert Wigley conveys a clear call for the urgent attention that is needed in this area - for regulation and for education in the Digital World. It's clever, clearly conveyed, and very well written - I strongly recommend this to anyone who is wondering whether their child is spending too much time on their phone, as well as anyone who feels that their digital addiction is becoming a toxic one...