What do you think of when you hear the word “revolution”? Political upheaval? Progress and advancement? The term itself actually means to return to or revolve around something - in a sense, to reclaim something that’s been left behind or lost.
Today, there’s a revolution happening in technology, but it’s not the rapid advance of breakneck progress we’re used to hearing about. This time, it’s a family-first tech revolution.
This revolution is an uprising of people demanding more: more protection for kids. More prioritization of family. More responsibility from big tech that has put a price on manipulation and profit over wellbeing. It’s a return to valuing and caring for the things that matter most. And it’s a fight against the forces that have done so much to undermine them.
How did we get here?
Let’s stop for a minute and consider the following headlines:
20 years ago, headlines like these would have seemed like distant and vague hand-wringing in the face of bold and exciting innovation. Google had just been founded in 1998, social media giant Facebook would be founded in 2004, and YouTube just a year later. In 2007 the world would watch in wonder as Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone opening a world of hand-held computing and constant connectivity like never before.
These wonders of technology have been a revolution in their own right and there’s no doubt they’ve brought incredible benefits to our world. But now, we are also seeing their consequences.
The 2020 Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma put a clear spotlight on just how much has changed. “We’ve created a world in which online connection has become primary. Especially for younger generations,” says computer scientist Jaron Lainer in the film. “In that world, anytime two people connect, the only way it’s financed is through a sneaky third person who’s paying to manipulate those two people.”
In eye-opening clarity, the film breaks down how our most beloved big-tech platforms and services have been hardwired to gain and keep our attention with ever-more engaging and addictive programming, and all for the sake of profit.
“We’re the product,” warns Justin Rosenstein, former programmer at Google and Facebook in the film. “Our attention is the product being sold to advertisers.”
In many ways we’re all the victims of this new screen-saturated reality - but now more than ever we know, it’s kids who are the greatest victims of all.
The Makings of a Revolution
The growing outcry from parents, educators, health experts, advocacy groups and more comes from a growing body of research that tells a disturbing story. Consider just a few of these findings:
Findings like these, underscored by recent events shining a spotlight on social media influence and election interference, have created a growing distrust and turned the revolution’s spark into a wildfire. More than ever, parents are wondering and worried as they face the challenge of raising kids in the digital age, grappling with how to navigate the need for technology and connection with the fear of its consequences.
The family-first tech revolution is a call for more. It’s waking up to the realities of our connected world and the damage being done to a generation of kids. It’s a return to better ways of communication and the pursuit of better tools that don’t compromise safety or connection.
It’s amazing when you think about it. We use child safety seats in cars and attach training wheels to bikes when kids are young. We wait until kids are 16 to drive and, for goodness-sake, 25 before they can rent a car! While we seem to have built safe on-ramps for so much of our society, sadly it’s a different story with technology. More families than ever are handing kids an open portal to the world wide web and the results are becoming increasingly clear.
The family-first tech revolution is as much about demanding change and better technology as it is about rethinking our own family approach to engaging the digital world.
Leading the way in family-first tech
To quote the ever-wise words of Disney’s Lilo and Stitch: “Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind.”
The story of the family-first tech revolution is at the heart of the COSMO story. We’re a team of parents, educators, techies, and entrepreneurs who have seen how big tech has left the family behind. From the classroom to our own homes, we’ve come together because we believe there’s a better way and are putting everything we have behind creating a better tomorrow.
The family-first tech revolution isn’t about fighting against technology or innovation. We’re fighting for the right kind of technology that is actually built for families. Tech that - you guessed it - puts family first.
This week we’ve officially announced the full launch of our all-new JrTrack 2 Kids Smart Watch. Our dream from the beginning was to build a device that was made exclusively with parents and kids in mind, and at a price for every family. With 4G nationwide calling and messaging, GPS tracking, SOS mode, blocked stranger calling and no open internet or social media, it’s the device that finally gets it right. It’s all the connection and protection that parents and kids need.
As Dr. Lisa Firestone, columnist for Psychology Today writes about raising kids in the digital age, “We need to equip them with their own tools to feel safe in the world. This means allowing our kids to have independence and explore and to do as much for themselves as they can.”
Ultimately a kids smart watch is so much more than just a device. It’s peace of mind for parents who want to be there for their little ones. It’s freedom for kids to explore and be kids again. It’s protection for the little ones we love. It’s more time adventuring and less time scrolling.
“Parents and kids today need better solutions that are built with families in mind,” says Russell York, COSMO’s Founder and CEO. “We see this as more than a new product - it’s really the next step in leading the family-first tech revolution.”