Luiza Voll is an advertiser and co-founder of Contente, an experimental and communication project company that seeks to make the internet a better place. One of Contente’s works is #instamission, a photography mission project that inspires people to have a lively look at the city, the environment and the world. Together with her partner, Daniela Arrais, Luiza is also responsible for Digital Detox, the series “How to Kill a Project”, “Go There”, a guide for more conscious, just and honest choices in the cities, and also #ainternetqueagentequer (#theinternetthatwewant – free translation), a project that helps reflecting on the role of the internet in our lives.
In this interview for CER, Luiza spoke about how the excessive use of technology can impact our lives and what is the role of families and schools on education in order to raise more conscious citizens. Check out:
1 – Content is defined as a set of actions and ideas that seek to make the Internet a more human, welcoming, authorial and conscious space. What are the bad side and the good side of the internet?
The internet is just like life. Depending on the bubble in which we live, the internet can turn a microcosm into a magnifying glass and reality can be misrepresented.
But there is no such thing as the internet being worse than real life. What we try to fight on the internet is what we face on a daily basis: intolerance, any kind of prejudice. And we can only fight those things through education and critical thinking. I think it is very important that we put the problems we face nowadays into the technology industry’s account. We talk a lot about having a more conscious use of the internet and the importance of “digital detox” periods, but those are palliative solutions. It is impossible to resist the level of technology that is being offered. We need to be aware and require more of the industry.
We are seeing some movement of the biggest players in the sense of promoting a more conscious use. There is a phone that shows the usage time and lets you set limits and Instagram itself is creating similar functionalities. What we need to know is whether these companies, in fact, will take responsibility for the unrestrained use.
The core business of these companies is to make us anxious for the rewards, to check the phone several times. So it’s not as simple as forbidding the use. Let’s see what the next steps will look like.
2 – You are a digital entrepreneur who also advocates and investigates the benefits of “digital detox”. What have you learned from your personal experiences? What is the limit of internet use?
To me, the detox experience came from a digital fatigue, after realizing that I was tired and anxious. Sometimes I was okay but as soon as I got into a social network, things were not ok anymore.
I no longer have a personal account on Facebook and, since I can not leave Instagram for professional reasons, I opted for periods of detox. For me, detoxing is wonderful. In the first place, when we work with it, the internet is not just leisure. For many people, social networks end up becoming moments of leisure and, for me, it is not like that. Anytime I check my social networks I come up with new references to research, and it ends up becoming very tiring. So it’s a way to take a break from work and also to understand the impact of social networking in my own life. I realized that they shaped my behavior. It is a very dubious situation because on one hand the internet brings me many professional achievements, but on the other hand, I think: what time do I have to relax? What time do I have alone?
I do not think we should all leave the internet, but these extended offline moments help us understand our usage patterns and how we can improve them.
3 – Do we need to regulate our use of the Internet? Establish limits and discipline?
We have a very passive use of technology, we do not reflect on it. It is like electric energy: we turn on the light and there it goes, we are already consuming. I believe that only in the future will we be able to measure the damage this causes us. Brazil is one of the countries with one of the highest rates of anxiety and we have many more children with myopia, attention disorder. There are several factors that the digital aspect as a point of attention.
That is why I find so important to stimulate debate and conscious use. The internet world is wonderful, the only problem is the extent of the use we make of it.
4 – What is the role of schools and families in the development of so-called digital citizenship and the conscious use of technologies?
The technology came to make things easier. But sometimes it makes it much easier and we lose the measure of how far we should delegate to technology what we used to do without it. First, we need to understand how far technology can help us at home or in the classroom. And be firm, because there are difficult choices.
I once read that teaching how to use the internet is just like teaching a child how to swim: you need to warn them about the possible dangers and be there, monitoring and watching. It is important to be together and to warn about the complexity behind the internet, what can be done with our data, how companies use information and teach responsibility for what is consumed and published. It is essential to be around. In the old days, television was on and the parents could listen to what the child was watching. There is no such thing nowadays. So parents and school should play an active role. Get to know children’s idols, which channels they watch and stimulate critical thinking. Ask them why they like that content, why they admire a certain person.
It is also important not to go away from the responsibility for education and entertainment. Because if you want so, technology can do it all nowadays. Education and entertainment can be right there, on the screen. It is very common to see adults outsourcing this responsibility to technology.
And the adult himself must rethink his use. If we are completely fascinated and can not control ourselves, can we imagine a child or a teenager It’s a daily challenge.
5 – What difference does the conscious and responsible use of technology make in an individual’s life (thinking about the digital path, the job market, etc.) and society as a whole?
It makes all the difference. The person is more present, can make more conscious decisions, does not act automatically, can reflect, check the news before moving on. Conscious use gives you more calm, you cease to be one more person to cause chaos. Especially in this period we are living, we need solid citizens, who can have a more conscious and critical look. We’re crawling on this territory yet. The more we can talk about it, the better. Most people do not even know there is a problem with how they use technology.
Also check out the video interview that the entrepreneurs gave to the project Entrepreneur Woman, from Banco Itaú: