Joanne Broder, PhD
I am grateful that my 2017 presidential platform gave me the opportunity to begin my work on Device Management and Intelligence. When I ran for president in 2015, there was less awareness about technology use and social media participation. New technology and applications are regularly launched intended to enrich our lives with increased speed, efficiency, and quality. New technologies are lightweight and easy to carry around with everything we want to know literally in the palm of our hand, as well as a cure for boredom, so why should we log off? Don’t get me wrong; we do love our technology use and social media participation—but, have they hit the wrong side of excess?
This past October, I was fortunate to attend the Digital Media and Developing Minds 2nd National Congress, hosted by Children and Screens, Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, at the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory. It was truly amazing to meet faces behind names and to dig deep in research and practice in technology use and social media participation. I left the conference with two big messages.
The first message was that humans need humans. As much as we love our ability to communicate via video or share our professional and personal updates to a larger community on a social media platform, does it substitute for face-to-face interactions? This leads into the second big message: Technology should be used to enhance our lives, but not replace human interactions. This may sound obvious, but when we look around a restaurant and 75% of the patrons are staring down at a device, it is a message that needs to be reinforced. For instance, recently there was a horrific tragic shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. We can use technology to share news, exchange supportive words, heighten awareness, and build community, but does that replace a tight hug or crying on someone’s shoulder?
You can read the latest and greatest research about the various constructs and many more in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, which has either published or is waiting to publish several articles on this topic. As we wrap up 2018, I hope the year was filled with excellent health and happy events. I cannot believe that my Past President year has come to an end. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead Division 46, Society for Media Psychology and Technology. I wish our new officers the best and productive years ahead. I look forward to watching our future evolve.