Two Questions To Ask about Your Apps

Recent headlines and revelations are causing a lot of us to think deeply about the apps we use, and especially the ones categorized as social media. We are beginning to question whether they are as beneficial and essential to our lives as perhaps we once assumed. As I’ve thought more and more about my apps and my commitment to them, two questions have been both challenging and illuminating. I’ll apply them to Facebook since it is the most prominent and …

Do Your Children Play Video Games?

Parents often feel guilty about how much time their kids spend playing video games and they sometimes have questions about whether their kids should play them at all. When I speak on issues related to families and technology I’m always asked to addresses kids and their games. I take a shot at doing that here. You can purchase the Circle device mentioned in the video here. Transcript Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a bunch of opportunities to speak …

Become a Patron

I Want To Buy Your Cheapest Phone!

A few weeks ago I walked into my local Best Buy, marched up to the counter, and said “I want to buy your cheapest phone.” The guy looked at me quizzically for a moment, then wandered over to the shelf and returned with a box labeled “Polaroid A300.” “Forty-nine bucks. That cheap enough?” “Let’s do it.” Then and there we swapped the SIM card out of my iPhone and popped it into that new flip phone. It hasn’t budged since. …

Are You Addicted To Your Phone? (Take a Quiz to Find Out)

Compulsive [kəm-ˈpəl-siv] adjective: “resulting from or relating to an irresistible urge, especially one that is against one’s conscious wishes.” I’ve recently been thinking about compulsion, especially as it relates to one of the most incredible devices ever made: the smartphone. A little bit of self-analysis shows that the way I use my smartphone borders on compulsion and may, in fact, fully qualify. And from what I’ve observed, I suspect you may receive the same diagnosis. I ask myself all the …

The Next Frontier in Pornography

It has long been claimed that pornography drives technology. This claim is over-stated, no doubt, but what’s clear is that pornography very quickly and cleverly takes advantage of new communication technologies. As one commentator says, “If we invent a machine, the first thing we are going to do—after making a profit—is use it to watch porn.” If you don’t believe me, just do a little research into VHS, DVD, internet, iPhone, and a host of other innovations that were created …

How To Use Accountability Software Right – Three-Minute Thursdays #5

It really wasn’t that long ago, that it was difficult and it was usually pretty expensive to get hold of pornography. Today it’s difficult and it’s usually pretty expensive to avoid pornography. So what we’ve seen then, is the rise of these programs we call accountability software. In this edition of 3 Minute Thursdays, I want to tell you how to use accountability software right.   Transcript It really wasn’t that long ago, that it was difficult and it was …

The Rise of Digital Technologies and the Decline of Reading

It seems we’ve come to a time in history when there’s no problem we won’t blame on technology. Digital technology is ruining our attention spans and social skills, it’s destroying our memories and displacing our hobbies, it’s demolishing the way we see the world and downgrading the way we interact with one another. We are slaves to our screens, to our ever-present glowing rectangles. They threaten everything that’s precious to us. Or that’s the narrative we hear again and again. …

Eliminating the Human

Musician David Byrne recently advanced an interesting theory about humanity and technology. The overarching agenda of technology, he believes, is intended to eliminate human interaction. The displacement of human beings by modern technology has become so obvious and so widespread that he has been forced to conclude it is more than an unintentional byproduct of increased automation. “What much of this technology seems to have in common is that it removes the need to deal with humans directly. The tech …

Peaceful Polemics Online

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This wonderfully pessimistic French phrase roughly translates to “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It points us to one of the undeniable facts about life in this world: that though times and contexts change, humanity remains the same. Today, we find ourselves at a fascinating point in history, a point when we are witnessing a radical shift in the way we communicate. We are transitioning from old media to new …

Why I Don’t Use an Ad Blocker

Let’s just get it out there: Online advertising is a mess. We understand that it is a necessity, but we despair at how ugly it has become. Like you, I hate visiting a website and having to deal with flashing, flickering, or inappropriate banner ads designed to distract me from what I am attempting to watch or read. Even more than that, I hate autoplaying videos that interrupt and annoy, and I utterly loathe pop-under ads that open secretly and …