In the midst of January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—an annual spectacle showcasing the latest and greatest (and some not-so-great) technologies set to transform our daily lives and society at large—ASHA came to Las Vegas espousing a different message than most.
Via the Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative, ASHA promoted balanced use of technology and the irreplaceable role of face-to-face interaction in children’s communication, social and overall development, along with the critical need to practice safe listening.
Surprisingly, reception for ASHA’s message among the audience of tech enthusiasts was highly positive.
Below are observations from the show, as well as opportunities for ASHA members to become trusted sources of advice—through media, public and community outreach—on tech overload. As always, please note this initiative addresses technology for entertainment purposes and not for people who use augmentative and alternative communication.
Takeaways on tech use
Several themes emerged from discussions ASHA staff had with hundreds of attendees about popular technology use:
- Many in the tech industry appreciate ASHA’s message. Almost all attendees who visited the ASHA booth offered words of support and appreciation. Many people stopped to say way to go, thank you for being here, and this is necessary, while lamenting what they see as breakdowns in communication—such as families at restaurants staring at their screens instead of talking and interacting.
- Seemingly everyone struggles with finding balance. Attendees all agreed that we all spend too much time checking email, messaging, posting on social media and playing games. Finding realistic solutions is the tough part.
- Technology isn’t going away, but it is always evolving. The genie is not going back in the bottle when it comes to reliance on the personal technology that has completely transformed our lives in the past decade. However, there will be some move away from screens in coming years. This trend is already starting with growing popularity of voice assistants, and will continue in the near term, with much more immersive technologies in the longer term. This change may bring some solutions, as faces will be buried in screens less, but may bring up other issues .