Before Netflix’s THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, the 2019 musical OCTET tackled the harsh reality and trajectory of digital technology addiction and social media. Written by Dave Malloy (THE GREAT COMET) and directed by Annie Tippe, the a cappella chamber musical debuted Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre Center and earned eight Drama Desk Award nominations. Staged as a sort-of AA meeting for tech addicts, each song serves as a share about a different manifestation of tech addiction.
Are we all addicted to tech? How dangerous is it? Or, is it not necessarily the tools, but how we use them that can lead us to breakthroughs or breakdowns? Host Ruthie Fierberg delves into the origins of the musical and its roots in research with Tippe before opening up the discussion to three experts. Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang offers the facts about technology’s effects on our brains and socialization; Dr. Hilarie Cash, who treats internet addiction, advises how to recognize true addiction and gives tips to establish a healthy media diet; and software engineer Daphne Larose proposes a new path for responsible tech development and the beneficial uses of software, the Internet, and games.
Referred to in this episode
- Listen to the OCTET live album
- What are QAnon and 4chan?
- Research from Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Create the Change
- Go grayscale
- Turn off push notifications
- Never watch the next recommended video; choose your own content
- Check out the Center for Humane Technology
- Unplug: Go tech-free one day per week, one weekend per month, one week per year
- For educators read: The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
- Hold tech companies accountable
- If you feel concerned that you may have a more severe problem with digital technology, seek additional help.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) is a free national helpline for recovery resources and referrals; 1-800-622-HELP
- Find a therapist who specializes in Internet Addiction with this tool
- Consider treatment at reSTART
Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com.
Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com.
Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin.
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