We all know that the world has changed remarkably in the last 10 years - and a lot of us inherently know partially why this is - the smartphones have become pervasive, and addictive, for many of us. It's many more than we think, and a lot of them are the youngest of us. It's changing the way we think, and often not in a good way, manifesting in many societal changes that have never happened before, in human history.
As a medical doctor in Melbourne Australia, I was previously significantly affected by overuse of my smartphone, before anyone realised how dangerous they can be when used "too much". No one knows exactly how much is "too much" - especially our children, many of whom are in crisis. This is a major problem, that alters our neuroplasticity, our emotions, feelings and thoughts, right until our brains develop fully in our early 20s, and then beyond for some. I had been writing but not confident enough to publish about this for years, and we adjusted our writings based on interest to each published piece, with the significant volunteer editorial input from OpedNews.com.
Those in Seattle Childrens Hospital, this November, especially confirmed to me what a lot of us already knew. This is neuroscience, but the scientists are behind. In my opinion, we need the artists, the writers, the anthropologists, and quite literally everyone else, to help the many of us who can't see - mostly our children, who don't often realise quite yet that unplanned, unintentional technology overuse can make us very unwell. We need to return to a place where smartphones and the internet are our tools, not our friends. Many of us know this, but the youngest of us often don't - the ones that need these thoughts the most. Your art, your thoughts, your opeds, can and will help, as mine appear to have already done.
Our November Facebook campaign - intended to be very specifically apolitical and to promote cross cultural understanding, has worldwide brand reach, and valuable data that I've stored safely away from anyone that might misuse it, double encrypted under the Swiss Mountains. Facebook and I have mutually agreed to stop the low cost commercial advertising on that platform, as I try to understand what in fact the campaign data may or may not show. We value the hundreds of thousands that engaged with us or viewed our videos, across the world in November, and especially one comment, which I reworded into my subsequent writings, including the two subsequent videos.
iappear.today, DrSparrow.com - and #what5words - we have a few ideas for new solutions for the mental health crisis. They are mostly artistic, with a few scientific theories, as well as those in law and economics. Many people already across the world have pondered, and they paused, to reflect, perhaps they already were. Weare.care, if not healthcare, and we are a social enterprise, incorporated right back in our original home of Dunedin (Edinburgh, New Zealand).
We fully intend to restructure with advice from a large benevolent organisation such as the Wellcome Trust, if our current startup attracts attention and funding with its models. We would like to align and cross promote with OpedNews.com if your editors agree, and we will refer to OpedNews.com on every piece published in our inaugural magazine. We will send the final draft on Monday to our printers in Zhuhai.
Your art and your opinions, engage with the world as it is, not how it appears through our screens. We want to promote it, across our developing platforms, as we illustrate our very engaging children's book.
We suspect, and perhaps many more will as we realise, that children's picture books can assist with the mental health crisis. I wrote one using simple metaphors, such as birds, hats, and technology, about planning when tech is useful, and when it is not. It engages children with real play - and they love it. I wrote it, when I was very emotional during a "FOMO" or "nomophobia" technology absence episode when I was alone, and it helped me then, and still does now that I'm "better". At the time, after writing it, I reengaged with the nature all around me, rather than finding the technology I really didn't need.
My illustrator is very senior and experienced, likeminded and concerned about the crisis, but she needs lots of time for her creativity. The book will mostly come from her. To avoid corporate influence and ensure that this is free or low cost to whoever may benefit from it, whatever they can afford, wherever they live, I need your help, as I promote OpedNews.
The Chinese, overall, already are better than Western nations at addressing this crisis. They realised that this publication is scalable and may be sustainable as a business operation, until we restructure, which we actively exploring. They are happy to take bulk orders from anyone, with an individualised shipping quote.
To Australia, 5000 copies we can get to you for $1500 AUD depending on your address, with the printing company taking all shipping risks until delivery. It's likely cheaper to NZ and the United Kingdom, and much cheaper to other countries such as the USA. We're happy for you to distribute it, or sell it - whatever you think you'd like to do.
#what5words, and Dr Sparrow know for sure we don't have all the answers. We are not afraid to ask the hard questions, carefully, taking lead from those we suspect know things much more than we do. Those people include you. We all know whats best for our health, just some of us can't see it yet. If we ask, the most interesting things appear.