Rights & Money

Even Tech CEOs Are Cautious About Social Media

The very people who created social media acknowledge that technology should be handled with care.

By Katrina Caruso


The top executive of the tech giant Apple made headlines recently when he said that he believed it’s best to limit children’s use of technology and access to social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, told college students in London last month that while he has no children of his own, he has a nephew and “won’t allow” him to be on a social network.

Cook spoke of his concerns about what can be seen and done online, and about how online negativity such as trolling and bullying can be too much for children.

It seems that he’s not the only tech leader to be questioning social media. More and more adults working in tech companies are adopting similar restrictions—and not just for their children but for themselves, as well.

At some tech companies, including Google, restrictions are more about productivity than about negativity. Indeed, Microsoft Corp. recently released a study showing how technology can actually make business less productive, not more. Some companies have begun to adopt no-phone policies for meetings and restrictions for their e-mails.

For some tech higher-ups, though, setting technology limitations for themselves is a way to ensure that they wind down at home. And these are the same people who have helped to create these apps and devices. Some have acknowledged that social media was intentionally designed to demand our attention and to be compelling, if not addictive.

We keep hearing how we need this new app or smartphone because these things are supposed to make our lives easier. But while mini-computers in the form of smartphones and tablets may make life easier, they don’t make life simpler…and for many of us, that’s what we actually crave.

Sure, it’s fun to be able to find the nearest restaurant with Siri’s help, but we are also constantly exposed to notifications, reminders, alerts, texts, and phone calls. Even if technology isn’t actually slowing us down in terms of productivity, it’s not letting us slow down. If tech companies are starting to enforce mandatory moments of mindfulness, maybe it’s time that we Average Joes and Janes adopt similar practices. It’s no wonder that yoga and meditation are increasingly popular.


Photo: iStock/DragonImages.