Our Digital Lives: A compelling view of the impact of technology on society from the Making Ireland Click team
You may have caught the first three episodes of MAKING IRELAND CLICK, a great four part documentary TV series, website, and social media campaign dedicated to helping people do more with digital. In the fourth part of the series, Our Digital Lives, which aired on 21st November, David Puttnam, Ireland’s Digital Champion, looks at how the digital revolution is affecting everyday behaviour and family relationships.
The affectionate and entertaining banter between Lord Puttnam and his wife Patsy is interlaced with some great guests including CyberSafeIreland’s board member Brian O’Neill, and the psychologist Colman Noctor, who describes technology aptly as “the greatest social experiment of our time”. The reality is that technology has advanced so fast that society itself has the most catching up to do. Everything that is good in this world and everything that is awful can be magnified a hundred times on the Internet, and we need to develop new social norms for how we behave online.
A big topic of discussion on the program is how long young people are spending online, and whether this has a negative impact on them. Brian O’Neill speaks of “Internet addiction” and that there are some characteristics of Internet use that do cause concern. He feels that in many cases though, this problem is greatly exaggerated.
The program makes the point that not enough has been done to reach parents and help them understand the benefits of technology. We’d also argue that not enough is being done to educate parents about the very real risks, including online sexual grooming and extortion of children, exposure to harmful content and cyberbullying. But it was great that the program is covering important issues such as the need to protect our digital reputations, as well as to find a healthy balance with technology. Watching Harry McCann doing yoga while trying not to think about Twitter was the perfect illustration of how hard it can be sometimes to not have too much of a good thing.
All in all, Our Digital Lives successfully captures how incredibly significant a role technology now plays in Irish lives, and what it can offer us as a society. As David Puttnam sums up, it’s down to us… being a human being is about making choices and if we make good choices, technology is an amazing resource.
You can check out all four episodes here or find out more on Facebook.com/makingirelandclick and Twitter @irelandclicks