World Wide Web: Friend, Foe or Both? It brings efficiency and everything we want 24/7 including an unending stream of mind-numbing and addictive clutter and potential dangers for our children.
Friend. Unfriend. Accept. Delete. We’re living in a reality that was pure science fiction only decades ago. The site you’re currently reading wouldn’t exist without tech, so yes, we embrace it as a friend. However, we know that issues as complex as ACEs cannot be solved in isolation through technology. The prescription instead calls for systematic change. Programs like making nurses available to all moms with newborn babies, universal preschool, and a big brother or big sister for all kids who need one will provide the real life support. We must work to support politicians in making ACEs prevention a priority and for their constituents to educate them about the financial and emotional costs associated with trauma. It will also require several government agencies to move into the future with us by embracing technological advancements and supporting development towards new futures that require their participation.
Our approach with tech is not to be adversarial, as we support a strengths-based approach. Our point is that all the elements needed to prevent and treat ACEs cannot be packaged neatly into one app. We know that people want to be able to engage from their phones, with clicks, and likes from the comfort of their own homes and with as few in app purchases as possible. Ending ACEs and securing a safe loving future for our children is not going to be that easy. If it were, some startup in Silicon Valley would have developed it by now. Chronically underfunded services and millions of bake sale hours demonstrate just how hard it is to change the hearts and minds of communities.
So by all means, use every piece of cool technology at your disposal. It may well make your life and work a little easier, but it won’t negate the need for elbow grease. The tech companies make everything look so smooth and efficient, but that’s because next to ACEs, their job is easy and has none of the urgency we feel is required to take on ACEs.
With the web pushing fabricated “news” and untested products 24/7, we are forced to assume everything is suspect. Critical thinking and fact-checking has never been more important.
Revolutionary advances in the promotion of idea-sharing, health promotion and the prevention of ACEs depend on technology. How did we ever live, work or learn without our mobile devices and the web? Tech is everywhere (you’re reading this using software that didn’t exist a few decades ago). As discussed in Anna, Age Eight, chapter 8: “There’s an app for that (maybe)”: The promise and perils of technology, we have to step back to take a realistic look at how tech should, could or might help us in creating healthier communities.
Review our humble sample of thoughts on tech below to explore the power of the net to solve problems. It’s a bold new world of tech that changes how we live and work by the minute. If you’re finding it had to catch up, your 11-year-old-niece can explain it all to you. Truth be told, some apps may be the perfect solution for strengthening your community work.
We offer a short list of articles to review and assess.
How Tech Can Maximize Social Impact by Kevin Barenblat
The Stanford SOCIAL INNOVATION Review published the article focused on five tips for nonprofits and entrepreneurs looking to scale social impact through technology.
10 tech trends that will impact social justice in 2018 by Wilneida Negrón
Ideas from the Ford Foundation, focused on helping develop a path for people to use their technology skills for the public good.
Top tech projects for social good in the UK and beyond By Charlotte Jee & Thomas Macaulay
An inspiring list including: From Bristal Braille Technology to a smartwatch app that aims to help those suffering from PTSD get to sleep.
6 ways technology is breaking barriers to social change by Abe Grindle
A 3-minute read billed as “From raising money to reaching more people, the possibilities for changemakers trying to amplify their efforts are endless.”
How 8 Chicago companies are using tech to do social good by Michael Hines
The author Michael Hines asks eight local companies about the technology making a difference in the lives of learners, people behind bars, immigrants and more. An interesting blend of private sector and public sector solutions.
WE CAN HELP YOU USE TECH EFFECTIVELY
The Institute supports all local programs in securing the latest technology to strengthen communication, project implementation and evaluation.