The problem with Digital Wellness - a cautionary tale

As more and more people become aware of their technology habits, a line is being drawn between ‘good and ‘bad’ apps.  On the one side sit ‘bad' apps - those apps that eat our time meaninglessly, propagate fake news, encourage online stalking, endless scrolling, spending, gaming, gambling and time wasting.  On the other side are ‘good’ apps designed to make us better - better at cooking, exercising, sleeping, parenting,  better at time management, thinking, better at sex. The list goes on.  

Many would think that digital health means cutting the ‘bad’ in place of the ‘good’.  

But here’s the problem.  

Being better still comes at the cost of distraction.  We’re so busy being better that we’ll interrupt being us at any cost.  The price? The loss of all those important human characteristics which we pride so much at SPACE - boredom, daydreaming, having a good old chat.  

The loss could be greater in the future.  As tech evolves it will no longer be accessed by us through the clunky device in our hand.  Tech will be in us and around us. In our homes, our cars, our wearables, our eyes and ears.  This will bring new freedoms. Gone will be the days of a cracked screen or sluggish typing.  Digital products and brands alike will have to find value - additive ways to enter the ‘private’ domain of the home. In other words, ‘the bad’ may automatically be filtered from our lives.  

But ‘the good’ will remain.  These services will have legitimate cause to interrupt us at just the right time to take our medicine, move more, eat less, sleep more, smile more, get it on more…..  

It will be hard to shut out ‘the good’ because we all want to be better, right?  Healthier, more productive, richer, kinder, more connected? They will gain traction, data, information, knowledge, power.  They will offer more to make us even better.

I feel exhausted.   

The fact is there is no good or bad, only shades of grey and a fight for your attention in a tech-based economy.  It’s never been more important for users to be aware of their relationship with technology.

The future? Users will have to be even more discerning when determining which services genuinely improve their lives.  



Photo credit: @ohksky