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A New Kind of Playground

Recent stories that take a deeper look at the effects of technology on youth

TThe impact of technology is something that concerns us all, whether or not we have kids.

From infants and toddlers to teenagers and young adults, new generations are being exposed to emerging technologies, apps, and devices, and they’re having an effect that we are only beginning to comprehend.

What we do know is this: The decisions tech companies make about their products — and the way parents police their kids’ interaction with their digital selves — can have a lasting impact on the well-being of generations ahead.

We’ve curated a set of four powerful essays that raise important questions about the relationship between technology and future generations. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much we did. Next time you give “the talk” to kids around you, it may come with a lot more terms and conditions.

What happens when children talk to robots? Stuart Dredge analyzes how children’s behavior differs from adults’ because of their confidence and also their innocence. He concludes it’s not time for his own kids to have their own smart speakers just yet. (Also, check out his collection of essays, Little Minds + Big Screens for more insight on parenting in the age of tech.)

In a thoughtful essay, Corin Faife looks at an emerging cohort on social media: millennials with socialist leanings who use memes to deride — and present alternatives to — modern-day capitalism.

In this wildly popular piece, writer and mother Anastasia Basil immerses herself in the world of Musical.ly, an app that’s popular with school-age kids. In her deep dive, she uncovers some alarming social dynamics happening in the app and comes to the conclusion that the parental controls on Musical.ly don’t go nearly far enough to protect kids from corrosive and even dangerous content.

On Instagram, it’s easy for anyone to fall in the comparison trap. And while anyone can have a hard time stomaching the seemingly perfect lives of others, its the supposedly “rustic” or “authentic” Insta-lives that writer Ashley Abramson finds especially alienating. In this piece, she unpacks why.

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Elizabeth Barelli

Elizabeth Barelli

Pondering on the intersection of Culture and Technology. formerly @Adobe and @Medium