The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that children ages 8 to 10 spend an average of six hours per day in front of a screen. For my younger daughter, who is disabled, that time, and that technology, was a godsend. We began to worry about her last year when her school was fully remote. Without in-person schooling, her world had become very small. She was disengaged, depressed, and her muscles lost a lot of strength. She went from using her walker about 75 percent of the time to using her wheelchair almost all the time. She stopped wanting to leave the house, asking only for her iPad.
I relayed this to her therapist, a pediatric psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Have you thought about giving her a phone too?” she asked.
The Apple Watch gets a bit of flack for not being as capable a multisport watch as some higher-end Garmin and Coros watches, like the Fenix 6S Pro. And, while it’s true that the battery life isn’t comparable, many of the features it’s (supposedly) missing can be added through one thing the Apple Watch does have: an incredible app ecosystem.
Schooly provides tools for students to keep their school routine organized and synchronized across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even Apple Watch. With a clean and intuitive interface, the app lets you add your classes, set assignments and schoolwork, create a contact list of your teachers, and more.
The idea of measuring and improving happiness didn’t start with tech. Psychologist Ed Diener invented the concept of “subjective well-being” in 1984 to gauge where someone’s respective happiness ranks against others. The construct of subjective well-being also provides a point on a scale used to see if any particular happiness intervention has an effect. To rank and scale happiness using technology, a person usually answers questions through an app or web page, and then the data are used to spit out a quantified measure.
Although the new range of “happiness tech” likely benefits some, the category isn’t without problems. Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking of using technology to improve your happiness.
Technology that responds to people’s needs is technology that sees users as more than just passive recipients of a tool. It realizes the inherent ingenuity of users, respecting their ability to creatively navigate their constraints and dream up uses of technologies never envisioned by the designers themselves. The more we design for such agency, the more we harness this power—cultivating the richness of life, as opposed to flattening it.
There are still too many stuff that have middlemen right in the... well... middle. And everyone want their cut of money or attention or privacy. But, of course, servers cost money. Bandwidth cost money. The great P2P revolution of the late 90s did not materialize.
It is probably a little miracle that emails still work.
Thanks for reading.