Curation- Digital Wellbeing:

This post is done in collaboration with Abdallah Gamal to curate the theme of digital well being. We have compiled a variety of 10 sources used in class, found online, and provided by our classmates in the course assignments. Below, we explain what these sources are, what we liked about them and how they helped us become more aware about the issue of digital well-being. Enjoy.

Nosedive

“Nosedive” is the first episode of the third series of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. The episode basically portrays a world where people can give ratings to each other, from one to five stars, for every interaction they have, or witness others have. The ratings affect their socioeconomic status and their privileges in the economy. The role actress is a young woman who is obsessed with her ratings, while she suffocates to elevate her ratings and ends up deteriorating her rating to minimum. An example from the episode: the actress doesn’t care whether the coffee cup tastes good, or whether she will even drink it, she only cares about how the cup looks like, only so she can take a picture of it, post it on social media, whereas she is more likely to earn likes, that consequently improves her ratings.

What I like most about this episode is that it is actually realistic. Nowadays, most of us are more concerned with the validation from other people on social media, rather than their own happiness and personal preferences.

I believe an episode like that (while it pictures how miserable the actress ends up being) can actually raise awareness to the negative consequences of social media, and how negatively it can affect our wellbeing.

 

LSE Thinks | Sonia Livingstone – Parenting for A Digital Future:

This is a video featuring professor Sonia Livingstone while she discusses an interesting report that tackles the positive sides of digital media in family life and the points where parents need more support.

I like most about this report that it actually provokes an unfamiliar opinion about digital media, that it can actually have benefits, specially within families. The report states that four in ten learned something together with their children on the internet. Three in ten parents use digital media to stay in touch with their friends and family, while involving their children in that. Other parents say they look for educational sources for their children to learn online. And, dads play games with their children online. These are all examples of how digital media connects families. However, there are still concerns that shall be taken into consideration. One of them is understanding how to benefit from digital media, while acknowledging that there are still costs to pay, so knowing how to weigh costs and benefits is important. Thirdly, knowing when to turn for advice. Like when to ask and who to ask, on digital media platforms. Another interesting concern that is being mentioned is that parents worry a lot about how much time their children are spending on digital media, instead of worrying about what they are doing on digital media. This is basically as said by Sonia: “In the findings of the survey it was striking that parents are much more worried about screen time than they are actually about what their children are doing on the internet”. It is quite familiar and relatable to me personally. My mom always worries that we spend a lot of time on screen than she worries about what are we actually doing. However, she still worries to an extent about what we could be spending our time doing also.

I believe everything has a good and a bad side. It is just important to be completely aware of both sides, while trying to benefit the best out of everything.

The report that Sonia introduced is quite interesting, and helped me learn a new perspective on how digital media have a role in connecting families.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdRcZIcRi9I&fbclid=IwAR0_pyOOeGsRPL58R9IOk02Hd-oVi2DUGqvSDkPEL8J_VvOACkteqp3KDu0

 

One-Week, No Tech, #1WkNoTech:

This is basically a challenge that basically revolves around the idea of going for a week without technology. A different form of detox. A detox from technology. People started taking the initiative and actually taking part in such challenge, while tweeting about it using the hashtag #1wknotech. However, it is still very funny how people use technology to tweet about not using technology. It is very funny. It is like posting about not posting. Check the link it has screenshots of the tweets the people tweeted over the challenge.

In spite of the fact that it was funny, I believe it is still worth taking a moment of questioning how addicted and longing we are to digital media that we even use it to fight it. This is how far digital media has invaded our lives.

I also kind of relate to that challenge, because my cell phone broke last week. Here I am spending more than a week without using any social media platforms, yet I am using my laptop now to blog about my insight on the #1wknotech challenge.

I guess no matter how many times we try to run from it, we will find ourselves going back to it.

http://meanwhilenetprov.com/index.php/project/one-week-no-tech/?fbclid=IwAR04g6x0YpOYJpsCHmi6f0gsfSKuwrhWv_363Xu8SDS351W-vcaQuyla2VY

The IRL Fetish:

The article is written by Nathan Jurgenson on June 2012. Published by The New Inquiry. The writer mainly discusses in the article how addicted we have become to digital media, while becoming completely inappreciative to the people, and things, going around us. He says: “Given the addictive appeal of the info stream, the masses have traded real connection for the virtual. They have traded human friends for Facebook friends. Instead of being present at the dinner table, they are lost in their phones”.

This is by far one of the best articles I’ve read on such topic. It basically tackles what I long to deliver to the people I know. The whole dilemma of being online and offline. And, how approachable and accessible we have always obliged to become. Like it is not likely to feel ok to just go offline, and it is also very draining to always be online.

The writer ends the article by saying: “Solving this digital dualism also solves the contradiction: We may never fully log off, but this in no way implies the loss of the face-to-face, the slow, the analog, the deep introspection, the long walks, or the subtle appreciation of life sans screen. We enjoy all of this more than ever before. Let’s not pretend we are in some special, elite group with access to the pure offline, turning the real into a fetish and regarding everyone else as a little less real and a little less human”.

I believe the way this article is articulated is very interesting. Even its title is very catchy! I also believe we have to become more aware of the many things that we take for granted, and disregard, while being hung up on our phones like we usually are. More like zombies in a human’s land.

https://thenewinquiry.com/the-irl-fetish/?fbclid=IwAR1y09BT8zV9svXUjkRabiJIW-SPKMLbZlo7sCkBTvYvzZURYRHhVPKuK8k

 

How to Shed Distracted Parenting Guilt and Transform into a Digital Hero:

The article written by Mimi Ito on the 20th of August 2018. The article basically targets parents in particular, while debating over the ways parents are blamed over their usage of digital media, and asked to set an example for their kids. It is challenged by saying that experts agree that parents need to set a good example for their children, but the overly thrown guilt at parents can still not be helpful. The writer starts by mentioning: “According to Common Sense Media, parents of teens and tweens engage with media at about the same rates as their kids, an average of 9 hours a day. The same survey also indicates that 78% of us think we are good media role models. Most parents seem pretty comfortable being just as engaged with devices as teenagers”. And follows up by tackling three major points Empathy Over Hypocrisy, Routines Over Rules, and Joy Over Guilt. Basically they’re headlines to suggested ways parents can try while managing their, and their kid’s, screen time and usage of digital media.

I like this article because it kind of portrays that yes there is a problem. That yes parents shouldn’t be using digital media on dinner tables. Yet, it still suggests ways that families could adopt in order to counterbalance the situation.

Setting a role model is something tricky and could be difficult to do, but managing it together with their kids could be more efficient to try.

https://blog.connectedcamps.com/how-to-shed-distracted-parenting-guilt-and-transform-into-a-digital-hero/?fbclid=IwAR3RwnCWOfwMzLxuD-_XfJjNWmYLDtR_ZIVgQXfssMIV8Omndynx5tzwZ7A

 

Screen time for kids: Getting the balance right

This article displays an infographic that analyses the online engagement of children and how the different activities that they take part affect their learning. The infographic mainly provides guidelines to raise the awareness of the parents about what might be beneficial vs harmful for their kids. In addition, it provides a scale where parents could identify the kind of usage for their children; is it normal, below normal or worrisome. The interesting part about this source is that it discusses danger of online use mainly in terms of the content being used not the hours of usage like many other sources. This is a smart approach to look at the problem because over restriction to technology exposure can limit the children’s knowledge about many useful digital tools and valuable information.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/parenting4digitalfuture/2017/08/02/screen-time-for-kids/?fbclid=IwAR2Swb4MlddZYgSQM7HPnYNdnSBtKqJNk8pCSkeaR54lQwUELJmjhJfC2n

 

A generation of idiots, smartphones & dumb people

This is one of the very interesting and eye opening videos to watch. Through rhyming sentences synced with a short film, the maker of this video makes a comparison between the virtual lives we live on our phones, how lonely they  are , how they make us isolated and unproductive, and the real life that we used to live before we became so addicted to smart phones. The essence of this video is that it points out the unhealthy patterns in our everyday life that we can unintentionally follow. It is very emotionally appealing and relatable to almost all technology users and encourages its watchers to make actual change in their lifestyle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oolLtPIOr8

 

How to Make Gaming Time Family Time

This source contributes to the learning about digital well-being because it suggests a prevention or a solution to one of the shapes the problem can take instead of just illustrating or exploring it like most sources. The article suggests that parents’ presence while their children are playing video games would help them filter out the negative messages that these games would convey. Similarly, parents could stay with their kids while watching TV to filter out the negative media messages. In addition, this will contribute a lot to the bonding between the parents and their children so it is a win-win situation.

https://blog.connectedcamps.com/how-to-make-gaming-time-family-time

 

BILL GATES AND STEVE JOBS RAISED THEIR KIDS TECH-FREE — AND IT SHOULD’VE BEEN A RED FLAG

This source is obtained from a contribution done by one of our classmates to equity unbound. Having included all these sources with such a wide variety of opinions and controversies regarding the effects of technology on our well-being, we could not miss adding this article to our curation.  We found it insightful as it illustrates the attitude of two of the biggest technology makers in the world towards their own products. Both Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple) are quoted for saying that they used to limit their children’s use of technology at home. As the article title says, this should be a red flag because when these people who are assumed to have maximum knowledge about technology take such an action, it says something about the effects of overusing it.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/bill-gates-and-steve-jobs-raised-their-kids-techfree-and-it-shouldve-been-a-red-flag-a8017136.html

 

How Is Your Phone Changing You?

This video has been used previously as a contribution to equity unbound. It provides some facts and raises awareness about both physical and psychological harms of overusing smart phones. We found including this video in the curation essential because it provides a quick, fun yet informative summary about the topic of digital well-being and it would help its watchers gain some insight about the harms that they could be subjected to through smart phones addiction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6CBb3yX9Zs

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Final Reflection:

Hi..

I will start by stating the three things I learned most in this class and then, explain why, or how, I did so. The three new things to me were: Blogging, the game, and the using of the hashtag #equityunbound.

To start with, the concept of blogging was brand new to me. I have never been exposed to any websites about blogging, and I have never contributed by writing anything in a form of a blog. After I have taken this course, I was introduced to WordPress.com and have been asked to blog, a lot. Which was kind of new for me, the whole concept of writing something for an academic class, but in any desired format. Like I start my blog posts with a “Hi” and still discuss something that is worth some grades. I guess it kind of added to the content. In other words, it does not matter where I write and how long I write, but the light is more shed on the purpose behind the writings themselves, while the main concept is delivered.

Second thing is, the game. Two things about the games that we’ve played, and the ones we’ve designed were of importance to my learning process. The first thing is that I have been introduced to the academic concepts we’ve been discussing in more effective ways. I even suggested the game “spent” to many of my friends, and they were inspired to design their own, while using the ones already designed to deliver their points of view in different student activities and classes. The second point is, this was my very first time to have been introduced to use google slides and google forms to a very different purpose, like designing a game. This part it technical, but I still learnt something new.

Third thing is, the hashtag Equity Unbound. During the course I came to acknowledge the fact that there are universal hashtags that people use all over the world to communicate the same thing in an academic context. I was never a twitter user so the hashtags weren’t ever in the field of my knowledge or use. However, I’ve been witnessing my professor using the hashtag each and every time we do something that is under the same umbrella, or theme. Which basically allowed everyone, all over the world, to exchange knowledge and interest more effectively.

What helped me learn these three major things, firstly blogging every assignment, secondly, that we didn’t just play the game in class, but also design one of our own and taking a class workshop on how to do so, and lastly, witnessing my professor use the hashtag #equityunbound in class, and online.

In respect to what can be done in future for this course, I believe that maybe we can be introduced to ways we can develop our blog posts, bearing in mind that many people aren’t that familiar with blog posts before taking the course. Also, I believe the assignments (blog posts number) were quite too much. In some cases I wouldn’t be able to find something to blog about, because I believed there was nothing much to be said about the topic. Maybe we could have done something different to reflect on our understanding to the topics. And, the long readings in class were slightly discouraging, I favored it more when we used videos while we stop in the middle and comment about them (but still maybe that is a bit personal preference that I liked videos more than readings). To conclude, these are all suggestions, but the overall experience in this course was different and beneficial.

 

Contribute to Empathy & Bias theme for UnboundEq

HI,

During our discussion on the theme Empathy and bias (which was my absolute favorite theme out of all the different themes we tackled in class) I suggested we tackle the academic concept of “Othering” which I believe relates a lot of issues, like racism, sexism, stereotypes, and many more, to a very interesting and valid perspective. 

Othering basically is to view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. However, there is an academic concept developed using such definition to outline the root cause to bullying, judgement, and a lot more superior attitudes, which is the concept of othering. 

I actually stumbled upon many sources that discuss the concept of othering as I was very interested in knowing more about it. 

To begin with, there is a very short introductory video to the concept of othering:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w1wzg-pywo&frags=pl%2Cwn 

However, a more complex explanatory video to the concept is through one of the most valuable videos I watched, which is:

Otherness and Belonging | john a. powell | Wisdom 2.0 (2016)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_-ux9LhkyY 

Also, there is a tedx talk about when the journalist Mariana Atencio was seven, her father sent her from her home in Venezuela to a summer camp in Brainerd, Minnesota. Unsurprisingly, she was treated like an outsider. Over the course of many more such camps and a senior year in an American high school, she discovered that the best way to belong was to embrace the qualities that made her different. In this deeply personal talk, Atencio describes how these early lessons helped her succeed as an immigrant and as a journalist. Therefore, She discusses the concept of othering through a more personal approach. The link:

https://www.ted.com/talks/mariana_atencio_what_makes_you_special

I hope these videos are beneficial, as they did help me a lot. Bottom Line, understanding well the concept of othering can actually allow you to sympathize with people on a deeper level, as well as understand where they are coming from, while knowing why some people may behave in a superior manner, or may not do so. 

Feel free to ask me anything related to that topic. 

 

Best,

Amena. 

Reflection (Soliya/google hangouts) –

 

Hi,

I found difficulties engaging in Soliya as it didn’t match my schedule. However, I have participated in the two online google hangouts that took place this November. This was actually my very first time to engage in such an online discussion with people from different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds.

At first, I wasn’t really comfortable participating as the whole thing was new. But, as my turn to speak approached I added an input successfully. The thing is, I didn’t really enjoy the topic we were discussing on the first day. It was on privacy. I get how crucial the topic is, but still I didn’t find the content we discussed effective. It was more, or else, under the umbrella of sharing experiences and raising awareness. I believe I would have been more interested if we discussed what we ought to do next to best save our personal information on online platforms, for example.

Secondly, I thought to myself I would give the second day another chance. On the second google hangout, the people participating were mostly different. And I really had fun in this time. The language was much simpler and clearer than the day before, and the topic (even tho it was a continuation to what we have said earlier) was still tackled more interestingly. I found myself more comfortable engaging. I even told them about one of my personal major issues that has to do with my 11 years old sister becoming addicted to online platforms with minimal awareness to the risks that lay within. And, 2 of the participants gave me generous ideas and names of books to try using with my sister in order to let her become less attached to her cell phone.

Moreover, what was quite interesting about tackling topics like these between people from different countries, it lets you know the topic is universal. Once you know for fact that the concern is universal, it automatically weighs more. Therefore, such online participation can serve solve the roots of many problems that do exist around us.

Lastly, one of the major things that grabbed my attention is how differently I communicate online than real life. As a digital communicator, I feel less comfortable, more tracked, watched, or even recorded. I don’t feel as “safe” as I normally do in real life situations that involve communication.

DS106 ASSIGNMENT 2: How Does A Song Make You Feel?

I chose my favorite song, which is “Lost stars” for Adam Levine. I am a fan for music, but even a bigger fan for lyrics. In this song, most of the emotions I experience are a result of how deep the lyrics hit me. The song is originally from a movie, so it also does have a background story and a rich context.

My favorite first line is when the singer says: “Who are we? Just a spec of dust in the galaxy”. It makes me feel the rush of this moment of realization that we are really such small beings in a huge world. It makes me feel like we are too small, yet too big. We are nothing, yet everything.

The second favorite line is: “Don’t let our best memories bring you sorrow”. It makes me feel relieved. It also makes me wonder the possibility of us not having the same people in our lives anymore, and even not wishing them being present, and yet, not let our best memories with them bring us sorrow. Instead, be at complete peace with the memories and not deny how good they made us feel at some point in our lives.

 

Check out the music lyric video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfg9ssS8chg

 

DS106 ASSIGNMENT 2 – (Everyone has someone who they admire or who inspires them. For this assignment, write about that person and why you admire them).

Even though most people tend to always claim how great their parents are, my story is still quite different. I lost my dad on my fifth birthday. I can only remember a few highlights of the things we have been through together, or the kind of a person he was. When I grew older, I spent many years trying to recall anything that has to do with him. His voice, how he dressed, talked, danced, joked, his favorite food, places, movies, and how it felt to use the word “dad”. I wanted to know more about him, his traits, his heart and his soul. I tried. I did my absolute best to do it on my own, but it was not as easy as I wish it was.

However, I still ended up knowing a lot about him. Even though he was not there, he still helped me figure out how of a great person he was. My dad highly impacted the lives of every single person he met. From close relatives, friends, neighbors, to strangers I see on the street who are just too genuine to me the moment they acknowledge whose daughter I am. They start telling stories about him and how generous he was. They tell me about the times he cracked jokes that made everyone laugh. They tell me about all the times he drove the extra mile to be there to someone who needed him. They tell me how he never treated anyone differently, nor any less, and how he thought that we are all equal human beings. They tell me about the hours he spent talking to a horse that had a deadly disease just to ease it on him. And so much more.

I want to be like him. I want my name to long live after me. I want to impact people’s lives positively that someday they tell my children I have changed their lives. I want to have all these people pray for me. I want all these people to feel safe, loved, and encouraged only because I was there for them.

If there is one person who inspires me to be as great as he was, it is my dad, may his soul rest in peace.

Do Not Track Documentaries –

Hi,

I have been advised by my professor to watch a set of documentaries on the website:

https://donottrack-doc.com/

I watched many, but I’ll choose two to mainly reflect on.  To start with, I watched “The Spy in my pocket” episode. It basically tells you how a mobile phone can work as a spy in your jeans pocket. It illustrates how most of the people agree on the terms and service accept without reading it. However, we don’t really calculate the consequences. Like one of the speakers in the documentary says she uploads another application that indicates how many applications are invading her information, and she finds out that 30 of 57 applications do know concerns about her private life. This is really worrying. Also, she explains that there is a specific UDID for each cell phone, like a finer print. The companies use it to put targeted ads based on your specific cell phone. Another example is the famous “Angry Birds” game. The game’s terms and conditions were to agree on the application’s access to your contacts. Therefore, a game can actually access the people you know, and decide how will it contact or reach them.

Secondly, I watched “Why Facebook isn’t free?”. Actually the title really grabbed my attention. Since I was young I wondered whether Facebook is really for free, with all that it provides people with to connect, or not. The argument here is that free technologies like Facebook come with a hidden and heavy cost. Jaron Lanier also argues that in favor of Capitalism, the market should be growing and growing, which facebook and free technologies do easily provide. Even though an expand in the economy isn’t always that bad, but still it is tricky. In addition, he explains that there is nothing quite secured about facebook. Like there are no guarantees whatsoever.

In conclusion, the more I learn about online platforms, the more scared I become. I feel like no matter how cautious I try to be, I’ll still eventually fall in the trap. It’s either I disconnect from the whole world and just go offline, or put my personal life and privacy up for invasion with complete risk.

Good luck to all of us!