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Independent Women's Forum: Two Truths And A Lie: Technology

Technology has brought wonderful benefits for learning and work. But it has its downsides too. Let’s play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Can you guess which of the following statements is the lie?


A. Technology can expand employment opportunities, including for working parents and people with disabilities.B. Free market competition is essential for giving reliable internet access to people worldwide, and burdensome regulation can stymie this.C. Social media is a great activity for kids and adults.


Let’s take these statements one at a time: 

A. TRUTH! Technology can expand employment opportunities, including for working parents and people with disabilities. As I stated in my Policy Focus, people with disabilities benefit from remote work policies enacted in response to COVID-19 lockdowns, “A study by the Economic Innovation Group think tank shows that in 2022, the employment rate for people with disabilities was the highest in over a decade. Although this may be attributed to a tight labor market, remote work’s flexibility has positively impacted workforce participation for those with disabilities.” The data suggests that remote work can have a positive impact on employment for those with disabilities, and working professionals echo this sentiment.

Creating a flexible work environment that includes remote work helps companies attract qualified employees who might otherwise be overlooked and, therefore, sharpens their competitive edge.


B. TRUTH! Free market competition is essential for giving reliable internet access to people worldwide, and burdensome regulation can stymie this. According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), an organization working to increase internet access through regulatory form, “A failure to build and sustain competitive markets will push up broadband prices and undermine efforts to get everyone online — preventing millions of people from accessing the internet’s economic, social, and creative opportunities.”

Countries, including the United States, would serve their residents well by ensuring that regulations do not stifle broadband innovations.


C. LIE! Technology has given us so many great innovations that help us share more information with more people faster. But, social media has its downsides. A 2023 report from the U.S. Surgeon General states, “Children and adolescents who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media face double the risk of poor mental health including experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is deeply concerning as a recent survey of teenagers showed that, on average, they spend 3.5 hours a day on social media.” Children spend a lot of time staring at screens, and it negatively impacts their mental health.  

And adults are not immune to the downsides either. According to a McLean Hospital study, social media platforms “are designed to be addictive and are associated with anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.”


Bottom Line: 

Indeed, technology has brought wonderful advances, including opportunities for remote work, access to information, and connecting with family and friends who live far away. But, as we heard in Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility. Parents and kids alike need to be cautious of how much time they spend with technology.



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