The following is an excerpt from Ciarán Mc Mahon | September 27, 2017 | Slate.com |
This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. On Thursday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m., Future Tense will hold an event in Washington, D.C., on mental health and technology. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.
Ever since she announced her platform, Melania Trump’s first lady campaign to combat cyberbullying has been greeted with unsurprising howls of derision—largely due to the Twitter antics of her husband.
But even if she weren’t married to the cyberbully in chief, her plans would have been met with extremely predictable reactions. Some people would have cheered an effort to stop technology from harming children. Others would have rolled their eyes, minimizing both the problem of cyberbullying and efforts to fight it.
This sort of split in the debate runs right through mental health tech, by which I mean the overlap between technology (smartphones and social media, mostly) and all aspects of mental health. It’s a growing area of research, one with a great deal of contradictory arguments and studies. The biggest split is between those who say technology (particularly social media) is doing irreparable damage to mental health, and those who say Big Data could help us fix psychological problems.
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